From the Development Services Director: City begins Comprehensive Plan visioning process

Susan McLaughlin

Broad public participation is essential to creating a vision for Edmonds’ future

What do you love about Edmonds today? Looking ahead 20 years, what kind of Edmonds do you hope to see?

The City of Edmonds poses these questions to you as we launch a community-guided visioning process for “Everyone’s Edmonds,” the 2024 update to the Comprehensive Plan.

The Comprehensive Plan (the “Plan”) is a planning document that guides decision-making on a wide range of topics such as, but not limited to, land use, housing, transportation, climate resilience, and economic development. The Plan is meant to reflect the community’s priorities for the City and its residents, while meeting requirements of state and federal law.

Every good plan starts with a collective vision. So you are invited to join us as we start a citywide conversation that will culminate in a vision statement to guide development of the Edmonds Comprehensive Plan.

Over the next six weeks, we will be focusing on key topics that touch upon various aspects of the Plan. Here is the lineup:

  • Identity: Aug. 8-14
  • Quality of Life: Aug. 15-21
  • Economic Growth: Aug. 22-28
  • Environment: Aug. 29-Sept 4
  • Culture: Sept. 5-11
  • Livability and Land USe: Sept. 12-18

Next week we begin the community conversation with a focus on Edmonds’ Identity.

Many cities have taglines that reflects their cultural identity and/or the key assets of their municipality. Some of my personal favorites include:

  • Eagle Pass, Texas: “Where Yee-Hah! meets Olé!”
  • Nashville, Tennessee: “The Music City”
  • Austin, Texas: “Keep Austin Weird”
  • Hershey, Pennsylvania.: “The Sweetest Place on Earth”
  • Bellevue, Washington: “City in a Park”
  • Gilroy, California: “Garlic capital of the world”

Each of these taglines exemplifies the city’s identity. “It’s an Edmonds kind of day” has served as our city’s traditional tagline — a statement that embodies that unique feeling of a day well spent in Edmonds. While we are not proposing to develop a new tagline, we are hoping to dig deep and find consensus around what about our identity and values contributes to that special Edmonds-kind-of-day feeling, something that will kickstart this visioning process.

So, what is it about Edmonds that makes us unique? What do you love? Is it the sunset at Marina Beach, is it the diversity of the international food choices along Highway 99, is it the small-town identity, is it your walkable neighborhood district and/or your neighborhood park?  Answers to questions like these will help define a vision for “Everyone’s Edmonds”!

Please take our mini-survey on City Identity (available at, or by scanning the QR code below) and visit us over the next week at the following events to share your perspective:

Movie in the Park | Friday, Aug. 5 | Edmonds City Park | Movie starts 15 minutes before sunset, staff available from 7:30 p.m. to start of the movie.

Uptown Market | Tuesday, Aug. 9 | 236th Street Southwest (between 84th Avenue West and Highway 99) | Market runs from 4-8 p.m., staff available from 5-7 p.m.

Coffee chat with Susan (Development Services Director) | Noon-1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 10 | Caffe Ladro at 8403 Main St.

Edmonds Summer Market | Saturday, Aug. 13 | 5th Avenue North and Main Street.

Keep an eye out for more event announcements next week as we move on to the themed community conversation on Quality of Life.

— By Susan McLaughlin
Edmonds Development Services Director

  1. 20 years huh? Well we might want to save our trees. Have you seen an aerial view of the 5 corners area? So many trees cut its amazing. I watched and I listened to the frenzy of the chain saws. I haven’t seen an Eagle up here in a tree for months. Yes reduction in fossil fuels is important but remember many people still use natural gas to heat their homes. Replacing a system is very very expensive and with our very high taxes and people trying to save for their retirement it is cost prohibitive as are electric cars for many. So why overbuild in a small city very small that is already at capacity? Why take more trees for trails. Also some people prefer to get their exercise a different way. Like health clubs, at home gyms etc. Some people have medical issues that prevent them from walking everywhere. Many. Why isn’t there a park for children( I have no children but I care) a day light park where there are no singing coyotes’ and some sun light and nice play ground equipment? Why do you want change everything even the Edmonds Kind of Day? Why don’t we have sidewalks. Pebble sidewalks would do I suppose. But I don’t know if strollers will roll on those? or children on bicycles? I wish that some people would slow down a bit. Encourage those who can afford to do some of what you want but you cannot freeze people in the winter? I believe that would be against the law. You can’t force people to buy a new car when theirs are working perfectly in a time where inflation is high. Or anytime for that matter. I suggest you pull back a bit and concentrate on the sirens I have heard all morning and the violence I experienced outside my home for over two hours the other night. I want peace and quiet again in Edmonds for all myself. 99 to the Puget Sound. Will transit busses be electric? Will boats? Patience KEY.

  2. I’m sitting here looking out my living room window at paradise (with the possible exception of a power pole that I even sort of like for watching birds perch in the sun), wondering why our city leaders and staff are hell bent on visualizing it; to somehow make it grow and be more perfect? When we let city leaders and staff “visualize”, we end up with bad visions like a one lane road to a marine sanctuary designed to save a waterfront and numerous human lives that, so far, haven’t needed saving. “Pave Paradise and put up a parking lot.” Here comes the downtown 900 sq. ft. five story (if we’re lucky) apartments and a cars banned walking mall. That’s the real vision, these people have for us. It won’t be “Save our Beach,” it will be “Save our Town.”

  3. I would like to see the sidewalks repaired and the potholes filled. Now. Not 5,10,20 years from now.

  4. Thank you Deborah, Clinton, and Dorothy. You all have expressed my precise thoughts. Edmonds today is exactly how I would like to envision it tomorrow, in twenty years and beyond. Don’t mess with perfection.

  5. Stop. Just stop already. Enough with the vision-casting and the re-imagining and the incessant theorizing about plans. It’s exhausting for us taxpayers. But maybe that’s the goal…get us tired and frustrated and we’ll stop paying attention to all your tinkering? Not a chance. We are paying close attention.

    1. After moving to Edmonds in 1960 I have voted to be included in the city. My wish is that maybe that could happen in the next 20 years. Right now my street is in the city but my house is not. Please consider annexing this small pocket of South Snohomish County.

  6. I’m not sure what everyone is so afraid of. Change? Everything changes. People change – we all get older. It’s how we manage and adopt to the changes that’s important. That’s all part of being human, adapting to change.

    So, I applaud Ms. McLaughlin for reaching out to the community and inviting us to be part of the process. We are being given an opportunity to be heard on how much we want to change Edmonds. Some will not want to change at all and others more so. Regardless, voice your priorities (potholes, sidewalks, single-family neighborhoods, whatever) so we can start to create a plan which benefits the community and spends our tax money wisely. We can either be part of the process or let it happen to us in an unplanned, haphazard and wasteful manner. Either way, it will happen.

    I do have a couple of quibbles though. First, the short notice being given about this outreach, particularly during vacation season. Will we get to enough of the community to be representative of what the citizens like or dislike? Or is the answer already predetermined and this is just window dressing? And second, I would suggest that we need to articulate our values/beliefs before we get into the visioning process. Our vision and subsequently the Comprehensive Plan should reflect our values.

    The true challenge will be taking the communities input and acting upon it. It’s inevitable, just like change, some will not like the outcome. For those who don’t choose to participate, it’s an opportunity lost and complaining afterwards should fall on deaf ears. Hence, I plan to participate.

    1. I wish they would zoom it and allow comments. As Covid is still alive and well the compromised like me will not attend. That would be a nice thing for them to do. I think the attendance will depend on which area. I do not expect many will attend in the 5 corners area. Just a hunch on that. Last time not very many showed in 5 corners. Many here do not speak English. Maybe after these presentations and ideas the outcome can be posted and people can vote yes or not. A poll perhaps? Or if they did outside instead of inside the building here in 5 corners then more may attend. Parking will be an issue possibly for some. I think all people care Jim and even if they cannot attend, I also think if they do not like the ideas they can still complain and it won’t fall on deaf ears at all. Without knowing what I am sure the questions will be is a problem. How about we see right here some of the ideas being suggested? Change is one thing I get that but the changes may very well not be to everyones’ liking. Right?
      I am curious will the City Council have to approve changes? I hope so as this allows people to go to a council meeting or zoom with opinions or write to the City Council? Do you know?
      You say either way it will happen? Don’t big changes have to be approved? I really don’t know so tell me please. Thank you. Do you own a restaurant in the Bowl? What area do you live in Edmonds?

      1. Ms. Arthur, you make some great points about access to the meetings, their locations and outcomes being available afterwards. I would suggest that you pass your comments on to the city for their consideration.

        I’m sure many citizens do care about the city they live in. I just hope many will participate either in person, or submit their ideas, preferences, likes and dislikes directly to the city. The city should want to hear from as many of us as possible. If you cannot attend in person, you should be able to provide your input directly to Ms. McLaughlin at:

        Yes, ultimately the Comprehensive Plan must be approved by the City Council. However, that is a long way away. And I can guarantee that not everyone will like everything in the plan. What I hope is that everyone who wants to be heard is heard during the development of the plan. These next few weeks are just the beginning of a long process.

        Now I’m not sure where you’re coming from with your last couple of questions, but I’ll answer anyway. No, I do not own a restaurant – anywhere. I live in north Edmonds.

    2. So Jim, I’m supposed to be thrilled to participate in this process, even though I’ve already been told that, due to my age, sex, skin pigmentation, and past privilege, my input will be given less credence than that of the “underserved” in our city population, whether they actually have an address in Edmonds or not. I’m sorry, I just happen to think these people already have a vision for a downtown Edmonds full of dinky high priced apartments and condos with no cars allowed on the closed off main business streets. This is their vision for future Edmonds and they plan to sell it to you, hook, line and sinker. They are not truly interested in our input; they are interested in guiding us to their notions of what the “perfect” future Edmonds will look like and who it will serve best.

      I say get rid of the biased mayors and professional city planners and get our future back in the hands of the elected city council with boards and commissions appointed only by them, not mayors. To get on our planning board right now, you need to be in good with the mayor, or your chance of getting appointed is slim and none.

  7. I have no problem with the city council and it’s various committees putting forward ideas and creating citizen advisory boards and commissions to look at visualization and change. That’s coming from the grassroots where it should come from.

    I have a real big problem with a mayor who used to represent culinary workers as an occupation and shows obvious favoritism to the restaurant and entertainment industries and a staff person with urban planning credentials being the instigator of visualization and change studies that will impact our town for years to come. I have a problem with so called public surveys that discount whatever my input might be because I happen to be older, white, male, and allegedly privileged. I have a problem with a mayor and staff who have a difficult time responding to and interacting with people who may not always agree with them or who they see as a threat to their big plans for us all.

    Our mayor and city staff should be about the day to day running of our city, period. Our City Council; it’s committees and citizen advisory boards should be about visualization and needed change, period. We have it all backwards and it’s been that way for years now. That’s why it took an angry, but well disciplined mob, to stop the ill advised and poorly located connector, that is still something we need to visualize and implement in the future. We just don’t want partisan politicians and professional city planners to do the planning and implementation of it, to make themselves look good and solve regional problems at our expense. Same goes for housing, downtown parking, downtown use of our streets, development of hwy 99 corridor and climate change actions to name a few.

  8. Jim Ogonowski, the City of Edmond’s hierarchy, or corporate structure , has The People at the top, and the the Mayor, the City Council and the City Employees below the People. So, given that Ms.McLoughlin is paid by the city’s ever-increasing tax revenue derived from us, it is not a favor, part of her remit to let us know what she plans to do with our city and our money.

    I agree with you that this is short notice, and I’m puzzled why she’s starting this in the summer, where most residents are busy with BBQs, clam bakes, vacations, camp, hikes, etc, rather than wait for mid-September, when we have time to focus on these things.

    Here’s another question: what will happen with this initiative, if most people won’t want what she wants, like it happened with the City Council on upzoning, where more than 75% of residents were against it? Will she change her plan to accommodate what the People want, or( I’m going to mix my metaphors here), put lipstick on her greased pig and let it slip through, and as we see it from a distance think it’s good until we’re saddled with it? I’m cynical because I’ve been through a couple of corporate reorganizations: committees were formed, we met for 6-18 months, only to find out that there was only one alley and one gate to go through… we’ll see.

    In spite of my above-mentioned questions and reservations, I’m looking forward to hearing what she has to say, and especially, how she will incorporate our issues.

  9. I’d love to see every new “idea” offset by some income generation. The idea to tax, tax, tax is not sustainable. For example, perhaps instead of tearing up the old soccer field and bleachers near the Boys/Gil’s Club they could have turfed it, rewired it and rented out it out to the numerous soccer associations in the area. This would have generated revenue plus served local businesses thereafter. How about lighted tennis courts in same area? There are automated ways to reserve, light and pay for sought after sporting facilities such as these. Keeping Edmonds young and vibrant requires forward thinking in which, at this point, I do not see.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.