Council approves 2023 Climate Action Plan, hears details of possible parkland purchase

Edmonds resident Gayla Shoemake speaks in support of the 2023 Climate Action Plan.

The Edmonds City Council Tuesay night unanimously approved the city’s 2023 Climate Action Plan, setting the stage for an aggressive push to substantially reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Edmonds.

Also on Tuesday night, the council approved the state-required Stormwater Management Action Plan and learned more about a residential property that the city hopes to purchase in South Edmonds for parkland.

The vote on the Climate Action Plan came after three years of staff work, which included coordination with the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee and community outreach through workshops and surveys. Citing numerous reports on the urgent need to address climate change worldwide, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson thanked the council “from the bottom of my heart” for approving the plan. The measure’s passage was also greeted with applause from several Climate Action Plan supporters present for the vote.

When the city first adopted its Climate Action Plan in 2010, it included a goal of substantially reducing GHG emissions, but the community has not kept pace with that objective. The plan approved Tuesday night includes a long list of tasks for mitigating climate change, but Planning and Development Director Susan McLaughlin noted that many of them would require further legislative action by the council at a later date. City staff will also work with the Climate Protection Committee to develop an implementation plan aimed at keeping the city on track for achievng its goals.

The action steps identified in the plan include:

For the city:

  1. Adopt regulations to require new multi-family and commercial buildings to be 100% electric by 2023.
  2. Support changes to state building code to allow Edmonds to also mandate that new single-family residences be 100% electric.
  3. Require EV charging infrastructure with new development.
  4. Support mixed-use and transit-oriented development in neighborhood commercial centers.
  5. Develop a green building incentive program.
  6. Develop an action plan to adapt to sea level rise in Edmonds.

For Edmonds individuals and businesses:

  1. Replace fossil-fuel burning heating systems, hot water heaters and cooking equipment powered with efficient electric appliances.
  2. Replace fossil fuel-burning vehicles with electric vehicles.
  3. Reduce vehicle trips by using transit, telecommuting, biking or walking.
  4. Conserve energy wherever possible, especially energy from fossil fuels.

The council passed the measure unanimously after approving an amendment by Councilmember Diane Buckshnis clarifying the plan is specific to greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Regarding the Stormwater Management Action Plan — which also passed unanimously — the Washington State Department of Ecology’s stormwater planning guidance requires the city to select and prioritize a local watershed for improvement by March 31. The city selected the Perrinville Creek watershed based on numerous factors, including what percentage of the watershed’s jurisdiction was under Edmonds’ control, social equity, public feedback and whether it promotes other plans/projects.

During recent public meetings, staff and consultants developed a list of identified actions for improving the health of the Perrinville watershed, including:

  • Stormwater retrofit projects
  • Land management strategies that include cooperative work with the City of Lynnwood, which contributes stormwater runoff to the  watershed.
  • Stormwater program enhancements, including homeowner rain gardens and promotion of natural yard care.
The property location, in yellow. State Route 104/Edmonds Way is at the right.

As for the possible acquistion of parkland near State Route 104, Parks, Recreation and Human Services Director Angie Feser revealed more details about the potential property purchase. It was first reported by the city in a press release earlier this month although the exact location wasn’t at that point identified.

The property in question involves two parcels — 9302 and 9306 232nd Street Southwest — currently in a trust with the Hurst family. There are two vacant homes, a garage and a couple of outbuildings on the 1.09-acre property, which is relatively flat, Feser said.

The asking price is $1.3 million and because it is zoned R-8, five new homes could be built on the property if it were developed in that way, Feser said. The city’s intent for purchasing the property would be “conservation and preserving it as well as possible,” Feser said, including retention of numerous trees on the site.” It would make a very good neighborhood park,” and one that nearby residents could walk to, she added.

Purchasing the property for parkland would met goals outlined in the city’s recently adopted 2022 Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan, including filling park system gaps in South Edmonds and the conservation of open space. The property is also located in an area that has the second lowest category of household income, according to this 2020 City of Edmonds income map:

Feser said she is optimistic about grant funding possibilities for the property, including through the Snohomish County Conservation Futures program, the state Recreation and Conservation Office and the federal Land, Water and Conservation Funds. But she noted that there are restrictions that come with the grant funds — Snohomish County Conservation Futures, for example, does not allow more than 10% impervious surface to be built and that includes picnic shelters, restrooms, playgrounds and parking.

The city was alerted in mid-January that the property was for sale. That information came from Longbay Consulting, an Edmonds-based real estate consultant that city has been using to assist with securing parklands and open space. The seller “already had an offer on the table from a developer,” but after learning that the city was interested, the property owner signed a letter of intent “and did not take the developer’s offer,” Feser said.

The letter of intent has several contingencies, including the appraisal — now underway and due by mid-May — along with “due diligence feasibiilty” involving studies onsite, Feser explained.

The sale can’t take place unless the council approves it, she added. “We have contingencies in both of our agreements that the council has the authority to approve. If they don’t, the agreements are null and void.”

If the council approves the sale, the city will proceed with cleaning up the property, including the removal of fallen trees as well as cars that were left on the site. The seller is willing to negotiate property cleanup as part of the transaction, Feser said.

Both Councilmembers Buckshnis and Will Chen asked why the council wasn’t notified soooner about the potential sale, given the dollar amount involved. Feser reiterated that the contingencies included in the purchase and sale agreement specify that council approval is required for the sale to go through.

Related to the property deal, Feser also presented a proposal to amend the city’s current contract with Longbay Consulting for up to $150,000, noting that the company is actively involved with other land acquisition efforts. The council voted 6-1 to approve the amendment, with Buckshnis voting no.

In other business Tuesday, the council heard the 2022 annual report from the Snohomish County Public Defender Association, which contracts with the city to provide public defender services.

– By Teresa Wippel



  1. When is the City of Edmonds going to phase out use of gas powered leaf blowers? These (and other landscaping equipment) use two cycle internal combustion engines. One source, cited in an Oct. 25, 2021 New York Times Op-Ed reports, ““hydrocarbon emissions from a half-hour of yard work with the two-stroke leaf blower are about the same as a 3,900-mile drive from Texas to Alaska in a Raptor.”

    1. And the “drive from Texas to Alaska in a Raptor” is a hell of a lot more fun than “a half-hour of yard work with the two-stroke leaf blower.” I vote for the road trip.

      I think I’d be fact checking the accuracy of that op-ed, Vince. There are only so many hydrocarbons present in a pint or two of gasoline (even with oil mixed in it) vs. the 390 some gallons of gasoline it would take for the Raptor to travel that far. Catalytic converters are good, but maybe not that good. Probably good for the environment to avoid both activities as much as possible, of course.

      A little reality on the subject of climate change mitigation would also be a good thing I think. Whatever little ‘ol Edmonds does to mitigate the problem is not likely to have much real influence in solving the problem, which is really lots of problems – like too many humans, too much deforestation, too much use of highly inefficient methods to move people and things (airplanes), too much war and blowing things up. Pretty big nut for Edmonds City to crack, I’d say.

  2. Thank you for the comment and suggestion, Vince. We address local issues with local courses of action – and in the process, make some – helpful – contribution to larger issues.

  3. “Whatever little ‘ol Edmonds does to mitigate the problem is not likely to have much real influence… ”

    Very true. But a lot of little towns and it might begin to add up. Doing the right thing is sometimes not actually achieving very much, but we still try, I hope, to do the right thing. Little steps add up. At the very least, we can set a good example and can say we tried.

  4. I’m not opposed to trying to do things that are environmentally friendly but I am opposed to taking con jobs seriously, that are pretending to solve problems which they really aren’t. Saving and planting all the trees we can in Edmonds, getting a waterway flowing again, up grading our waste plant, and fixing our watersheds are all great and good things to do and we should all be proud of that and thanking people like Joe Scardino and Diane Bucksnis for pushing us to do it. On the other hand, things like Recycling and banning fossil fuel use are pretty much a con-job hoax. As long as giant coal trains keep slogging thru our little town sending coal to China to produce electricity, I’m not going to get too over proud of what Edmonds is doing to save the planet. America is just offshoring much of it’s pollution creation and that does nothing to solve a problem that probably isn’t solvable; considering over population and rampant deforestation of the planet. Band aids don’t stop artery bleeds.

  5. Completely devoid of science. Aren’t we exhausted by the last three years of this? We have microscopic pictures of Mars and absolutely no one is taking the time to show the scientific impacts of rare earth mineral mining, clear cutting swaths of land, moving an excessive portion of humans to one country, etc. The rich elitists pushing this don’t even bother to put numbers behind their schemes. Post the scientific data on blower impacts, single family zoning impacts, real carbon numbers and let’s have an honest look at the effects of our sins. I would be happy to see less coal heading North through Edmonds on trains bound for countries who refuse to make any ecological changes while we continue to whine about a handful of two cycle blowers. I want data.

  6. In this age of “alternative facts” and any information we don’t like, or approve of, being “fake news,” real, unbiased data based on actual non-ideological or non profit based scientific research is about as rare as those rare earth minerals Glen mentions here. Most of this climate saving stuff is just a high class sales job by smart PR people. A few years ago I bought a “clean diesel” VW beetle that got over 40mpg and supposedly didn’t pollute. It’s the only totally free vehicle I ever owned. Zero interest for 7 years, totally free service for three years, and three years in; they gave me over $30,000 back for the car I paid $28,000 for. Turns out a group of unbiased college kids, with real data, proved VW was selling a pack of lies instead of climate friendly cars.

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