Interim design standards, ‘missing middle’ housing grant among items on June 21 city council agenda

A resolution supporting interim design standards for multifamily buildings downtown and approval of a grant application to study “missing middle” housing are among the items on the Tuesday, June 21 Edmonds City Council agenda.

The council will also consider a proposal regarding remote participation by city board and commission members, and amendments to the city’sireworks fines and tree codes.

The council April 21 approved the interim design standards, which are aimed at addressing concerns prompted by a 24-unit apartment building proposed for the 600 block of Main Street, located in the BD2 zone. The council held a public hearing last week on the interim measures.

The council’s Public Safety, Personnel and Planning (PSPP) committee last week discussed the State Department of Commerce “missing middle” housing grant, available through a program approved by the Washington State Legislature in 2022. Under the grant, the city would be required to “evaluate and consider” allowing missing middle housing on 30% of lots zoned single family, and also to conduct a racial equity analysis. Development Director Susan McLaughlin said it makes sense to apply for the grant money since the city will need to conduct this type of analysis as part of its 2024 Comprehensive Plan update. Accepting the grant does not require the city to adopt ordinances to require missing middle housing, she added. You can learn more in this Commerce Department FAQ here.

Also last week, the PSPP committee considered a request from Mayor Mike Nelson to amend the council’s ordinance — passed in 2020 — that raised the fine for setting off fireworks in Edmonds to $500 for a first-time offense. The reason for the proposed change, City Attorney Jeff Taraday explained, is that under state law, the municipal court is also now required to collect a public safety and education assessment that would make the total fireworks fine higher than the $500 the council approved.

Prior to the 7 p.m. council business meeting, the council will meet at 6 p.m. in an executive session — closed to the public — to discuss pending or potential litigation.

The 7 p.m. hybrid meeting will be held in the council chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N.

To view or comment remotely, you can 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

Regular council meetings beginning at 7 p.m. are streamed live on the council meeting web page, Comcast channel 21, and Ziply channel 39. You can see the complete meeting agenda here.

  1. Thank you for linking to the Middle Housing Grant Q&A document from the Washington State Chamber of commerce. As usual, this site consistently provides timely and well informed news about issues in our community. Much appreciated.

    Having read through the document, the response from the Edmonds development director Susan McLaughlin in this article, and the well informed letter to the editor article form Jim Ogonowski ( , there is one key assumption that Ms. McLaughlin has made that I believe is incorrect.

    Susan McLaughlin said that ” it makes sense to apply for the grant money since the city will need to conduct this type of analysis as part of its 2024 Comprehensive Plan update.” However, the most important aspect of that is that this grant REQUIRES the city to look into plans that would rezone our city to meet the 30% instead of comprehensively reviewing what is best for the city development goals.

    From the State report, they note that:
    “The grant application requires you to submit a zoning map, buildable lands report, and a summary of how you
    might be considering getting to the 30% threshold. If that shows that it is possible, and that you are
    considering a minimum of 30% of lots, you would be able to receive the grant. If the map and analysis shows
    that you are only considering 10 or 20% of lots or area, you are not meeting the minimum threshold for
    receiving the funds.”

    This means that accepting this grant would not only mean that we could spend thousands of extra dollars to meet the requirements and potentially not get $1 from this grant in return, but it also could waste all of our money spent in the 2024 Comprehensive Plan update without getting into our core findings that Edmonds has previously outlined. Causing us to have to redo the process and pay double what was allocated.

    There is a LOT of risk in accepting this grant.

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