City council April 19 set to revisit moratorium on downtown building permits, interim design standards

The Edmonds City Council at its Tuesday, April 19 meeting is scheduled to again take up its emergency moratorium on building permit applications in downtown Edmonds’ mixed commercial (BD2) zone.

At its April 5 meeting, the council agreed to extend the moratium by two weeks, after hearing opinions from both residents and the city attorney that more time was needed to study the issue. Addressing concerns regarding a 24-unit apartment building proposed for the 600 block of Main Street, in the BD2 zone, the council at its Feb. 15 meeting had approved a two-month moratorium on the building permits in that zoning district. The moratorium, which applies to projects that are not subject to the city’s designated street front standards, was intended to give staff time to create interim design standards to address gaps in the code that apply to those sites.

In a related matter, the council is also scheduled to consider the staff-proposed interim design standards aimed at addressing the concerns that prompted the council’s Feb. 15 vote.

Also on the April 19 agenda:

– An update on American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding status.

– Consideration of amendments to the city’s special events permits code and a related fee schedule.

– Two presentations: an update from the Snohomish Health District and the 2021 Public Defender’s Office annual report.

The hybrid in-person/Zoom meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N.

You can join the 7 p.m. meeting virtually for the purpose of providing audience comments. Click on or paste the following Zoom meeting link into a web browser using a computer or smart phone: Or 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. Those providing audience comments by dial-up phone are instructed to press *9 to raise a hand. When prompted, press *6 to unmute. Regular council meetings beginning at 7 p.m. are streamed live on the council meeting web page or on cable TV via Comcast channel 21 and Ziply channel 39.

Prior to the 7 p.m. business meeting, the council is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. with two candidates for the city’s Architectural Design Board, with those candidates scheduled to be approved as part of the business meeting consent agenda. You can see the 6:30 p.m. meeting agenda here.

  1. I am confused why the city council seems to be intent on expediting a development code amendment to appease developers. Some city council members stated these intentions directly at the last city council meeting. The representative planning department members appeared to support the urgency to expedite amendments to also benefit developers. The developers will be fine. It’s the citizens, community, and the future of Edmonds that needs to prioritized. I’ve been in development for decades and can attest that good developers appreciate good guidelines to promote heathy development. I love building and good design and I also love the potential of Edmonds. City council needs to have an honest discussion with the community and citizens of Edmonds on what the city requires and how appropriate development standards can provide mutual benefits. I understand this is a big lift for those who prioritize their political future over the city’s future, but an honest discussion needs to address the community priorities for future development and how good development code can benefit the sustainability and livability of Edmonds. Again, why is there never enough time to do it right the first time, but always plenty of time to fix it again(and again and again and again….)
    Council, please ensure that the development standards are written to provide a permanent framework for future growth and sustainability of Edmonds which will also provide the reliability and confidence that the entire community including developers deserve.

  2. Will,

    Others are confused also. I’m confused as to why the Planning Department approved a multi-family only building in a BD zone, which requires that the first 45 ft of the first floor, facing the street, be for commercial use. There is no such thing as a “transition zone” referenced in our code. Why wasn’t the property owner required to apply for a re-zone of the property? Instead, the discussion is about “design standards” of the already approved multi-family building application. It is difficult to determine what is really going on.

  3. From what I’ve heard thru the grapevine is that it is now possibly illegal for the council to even discuss the issue of “allow build” or “not allow build” for whatever reason. I’m now off to watch the show.

  4. There is an 11 unit condo building in the 600 block of Main Street at 626 Main St. It looks like it was built in the 1970’s. It is residential only – no commercial space on the ground floor. Was this block zoned BD2 after the Seascape condo was built?

  5. First Ms. Hollis, my understanding is that the zoning changes from multi-family residential on that block, at mid-block, to BD2. I have no idea how that came about but I suspect C.M.s Bucksnis and K. Johnson would have knowledge of how that all developed and why.

    Second, I’ve figured out it is probably time for me to clam up on all this after thinking last night was council meeting and after about an hour of watching channel 21 re-run , it all started to sound really familiar. Definitely time to let younger and more agile minds solve it all around here. Hope some of you in MEN-land got a bit of a needed laugh out of this true, but sad tale of mine.

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