City council set March 29 to consider interim design standards prompted by downtown apartment project

A rendering of the proposed apartment project as viewed from 6th and Main, looking east along Main.

Prompted by a proposed 24-unit apartment building at 6th and Main, the Edmonds City Council at a special Tuesday, March 29 meeting is scheduled to consider three interim design standards that city staff say will help multifamily-only buildings “fit into the downtown context.”

According to the council agenda, the proposed design standards are related to materials, private amenity space, and a street-side amenity space or pedestrian area.

The meeting is defined as “special” because the council doesn’t usually meet on months where there is a fifth Tuesday.

On Feb. 15, the council unanimously approved a two-month emergency moratorium on building permit applications in downtown Edmonds’ mixed commercial (BD2) zoning district. In a press release issued later that night, the city said it “has realized that there are gaps in our existing multifamily designs standards in the downtown BD2 zones that would inhibit positive design outcomes, such as neighborhood compatibility and green space amenities.”

The council’s action placed a two-month ban on building permit applications for any property in the BD2 zone that does not have a street front designation, as defined in the Edmonds Development Code. (You can find that code definition here.)

The Edmonds Architectural Design Board held a public hearing in January on a design review application for the 6th and Main building, which contains 9,889 square feet across two parcels. The current buildings on the parcels would be demolished to make room for the apartment building. A subsequent lot line adjustment would be necessary to combine the two parcels into a single lot for construction of the apartment building.

Other business on Tuesday night’s council agenda includes:

– A presentation from the Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 8 Salmon Recovery Council. The City of Edmonds participates in the council, which includes local elected officials, concerned citizens, scientists and representatives from business and environmental interests, water and sewer districts, and federal and state agencies. The Council oversees implementation of a science-based salmon conservation plan in the Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed.

– Further discussion on reinstating the Citizens Salary Commission, which sets the salaries for the city council and mayor.

– A discussion on whether the council — now that it is meeting in person — should continue the practice of including written comments in its weekly agenda packets.

The in-person meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N., Edmonds. Those who want to join Tuesday night’s meeting virtually in lieu of in-person attendance to provide audience comments can click on or paste the following Zoom meeting link into a web browser using a computer or smart phone: Or you can comment by phone: US: +1 253 215 8782 Webinar ID: 957 9848 4261

Those commenting using a computer or smart phone are instructed to raise a virtual hand to be recognized. Persons wishing to provide audience comments by dial-up phone are instructed to press *9 to raise a hand. When prompted, press *6 to unmute. When your comments are concluded, you are asked to leave the Zoom meeting and observe the remainder of the meeting on the council meetings webpage.

The meeting will be streamed live on the Council Meeting webpage, and broadcast on Comcast channel 21, and Ziply channel 39.


  1. The process for this proposed 24-unit apartment building at 6th and Main is very confusing. Why would there be any discussion about developing these two lots prior to the related lots being combined? Why is a lot line adjustment used to combine two lots into one? What if any such approval is successfully appealed?

    What does the following found in the February 22, 2022 Meeting Minutes Mean?:

    “Councilmember Paine pointed out it was the senior planner who left who pointed out inconsistencies in the code which promoted the most recent moratorium.”

    If the Moratorium placed a two-month ban on building permit applications, what does that have to do with the proposed 24-unit apartment building at 6th and Main? Didn’t an application have to be filed at some point to get this project in front of the ADB in January?

    I wish I understood better what is going on here.

    How can a multifamily-only building be built in an area governed under EDBID?

    The proposed interim ordinance is not being treated as an emergency this time. Interesting.

    I never was able to really understand Councilmember Susan Paine’s Motion for the Moratorium:

    …a motion to accept an Ordinance of the City of Edmonds, Washington, establishing an immediate emergency moratorium on the acceptance of building permit applications for the BD2 zone lots that do not front on a designated street front, to be in effect until the City of Edmonds adopts interim development
    regulations for such BD2 zone lots, setting two (2) months as the effective period of the Moratorium and declaring an emergency.

    Councilmember Paine never said who Council was “accepting” the Ordinance from. I thought it was City Council’s job to instruct that an Ordinance be drafted.

    There was no discussion of the Motion or the details of the “gaps” in the code. Why leave us guessing as to the details? Why was the step taken by Council on February 15th an emergency?

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