Council OKs resolution regarding Meadowdale homes’ annexation, honors Jim Traner

The Edmonds City Council Tuesday night approved a resolution asking that Snohomish County consider — in consultation with the cities of Edmonds and Lynnwood — a change in the county’s Municipal Urban Growth Area (also known as MUGA) that would annex 47 homes into the City of Edmonds.

The homes are located in an area from 161st Place Southwest to the southern boundary of Meadowdale Beach Park and east of 68th Avenue West. The area is designated as Lynnwood’s Municipal Urban Growth Area, which occurred “at some point during recent countywide strategic planning processes, without any consultaton with affected homeowners,” the council resolution states.

More than 60% of the homeowners in the unincorporated area recently signed a petition seeking annexation by the City of Edmonds.

This map shows the Esperance (at center in darker green) is the only area currently designed as a Municipal Urban Growth Area for Edmonds. The Meadowdale area in question is in the City of Lynnwood’s MUGA (in yellow) and is outlined in a red box at the top center.

Prior to the council vote, councilmembers received a high-level overview of the annexation process from City Attorney Jeff Taraday. He explained that the area in question is not part of Edmonds’ Municipal Urban Growth Area (MUGA). These MUGAs are areas reserved in the Snohomish County Comprehensive Plan for cities’ future growth. The only MUGA designated to Edmonds currently, Taraday said, is the unincorporated Esperance neighborhood.

Councilmember Vivian Olson, who initiated the resolution on behalf of the Meadowdale residents, noted that a boundary change to the MUGA — which the county estimates will take six months to complete — must be accomplished before any other steps toward annexation can be considered.

The resolution approved by council noted that the neighborhood “is historically and currently addressed as ‘Edmonds’ in the 98026 ZIP code,” with mail delivery handled by the Perrinville post office. Taxable household deliveries and services to these homes have been and are charged Edmonds sales tax rates because of their Edmonds address and 98026 ZIP code, the resolution added.

Annexation itself, Taraday explained, involves many considerations and there should be an analysis of how much revenue any annexed territory would add vs. how much expense it would be likely to require. Topics like expanded police and fire protection, public works needs, park facilities and water and sewer service are among items that should be addressed prior to making any annexation decision, he added.

Terry Traner, left, accepts the resolution honoring her late husband Jim Traner, as Councilmember Vivian Olson looks on.

In other business Tuesday, the council:

– Honored the contributions of community leader and veterans’ advocate Jim Traner, who died July 22. His widow Terry thanked the council for recognizing her husband.

– Voted 5-2 to approve a resolution, drafted by Councilmember Olson, that states the council’s desire for edits to the city’s draft 2024 Comprehensive Plan visioning statement “to better represent the inputs” from community engagement efforts. The resolution directs that both current and revised vision statement drafts and related materials be sent to the Edmonds Planning Board for their review, with that completed by Nov. 30.

Councilmembers Susan Paine and Will Chen voted against the resolution. Paine said she didn’t understand why the proposal was being made now, since there is plenty of time to revise the draft vision statement prior to the adoption of the updated Comprehensive Plan at the end of 2024. Olson responded that she felt it was important to have a final vision statement so it could guide the Comprehensive Plan process over the next year. Chen said he opposed the resolution because he believed it was “micromanaging” the work of city staff.

– Received a report from Planning and Development Director Susan McLaughlin regarding the city’s Reimagining Neighborhoods and Streets Program and the Edmonds Green Streets manual. She stressed that the information was meant to be an overview, with more specifics to come before the council later.

McLaughlin explained that the Reimagining Neighborhoods concept is using streets not only to serve mobility needs but to foster community cohesion — and also to support sustainable transportation and development options. McLaughlin pointed to the importance of using streets in different ways, and not just in downtown Edmonds — which hosts the summer market and music festivals — but in other neighborhoods.

She reviewed the Reimagining Streets pilot projects that occurred in some Edmonds neighborhoods last year — including Porchfest downtown, Five Corners Corner-copia and Firdale Wnterfest. Activities in Perrinville and Westgate are planned for this year, she added.

Related to the Green Streets effort, she mentioned her department’s ongoing work to update the city’s street tree plan, and also on a Green Streets manual. The latter is designed to provide a set of tools for streets and public spaces that promote sustainable stormwater management while enhancing pedestrian safety and promoting walkable neighborhoods, she said.

Some councilmembers raised concerns about the costs involved with Green Streets initiatives. McLaughlin noted the goal is be flexible in how and where such projects are initiated, to ensure they are both cost-effective and are in the appropriate place.

— By Teresa Wippel

  1. Thank you, Councilmember Olson, for your resolution regarding the Vision Statement. Councilmember Chen’s vote against, because he felt it was “micromanaging” staff, is completely off base. The resolution was presented in support of the 49% of survey respondents who felt Director McLaughlin’s Vision Statement was inadequate, and in response to specific concerns and input from Councilmembers’ constituents. Perhaps Councilmember Chen has forgotten that he represents Edmonds residents, not city staff and their consultants.

    Director McLaughlin spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on consultants, and many hours of staff time, to come up with a three sentence Vision Statement. McLaughlin then insisted that it could not be changed because staff would have to re-do the entire process. Next, McLaughlin will spend $650,000 on consultation to update our Comprehensive Plan. Why does Councilmember Paine think that any attention will be paid to the Vision Statement during that process?

  2. Establishing an open public process to finalize the draft Vision statement is the right thing to do. A Vision statement that is to guide the update of the comprehensive plan must clealry be adopted at the start of the update process and not at the end. The City Council is our legislative body and if it is expected to adopt the Vision statement then it is only right that it can direct the review and adoption process. The cannot be expected to just adopt what the staff present to them as is without question. Staff recommends and the City Council approves and adopts.

  3. What Edmonds really needs on the Council are more Blooms, Buckshnis’, Olsons and Teitzels; concerned about citizen’s real NEEDS and less Paines, Chens and Tibbotts, worried about being sure the Mayor and Staffs are getting all their various WANTS met (no matter the costs for the citizens). McLaughlin is so obviously resume padding on the Edmond’s public dime, without any real authorization to do so, and the Mayor is complicit in this program. Hopefully the Mayor and Ms. McLaughlin will need those great resumes sooner than later.

  4. I think my friend Will Chen got it wrong last night, suggesting Council was “micromanaging” staff work by voting to rework the Draft Vision Statement that will guide development of our new Comprehensive Plan.

    City Council is the legislative branch of City government. Under law, they are the policy-makers for the City of Edmonds. In making policy, Council necessarily listens to many voices, but primarily City staff and Edmonds’ citizens.

    When Council believes a staff proposal needs more work, they should feel obligated to send it back for further consideration. In this case, also routing it through Planning Board where a panel of informed and savvy citizens can also make their recommendation.

    This is the way the legislative process works, or ought to work, and it’s *not* micromanagement. Council is under no obligation to rubber-stamp anybody’s policy proposal, even one from staff. The administration may believe their proposal is so great it deserves to be rubber-stamped, but that doesn’t matter. Edmonds City Council is the ultimate policy-making body in City Hall.

    1. Thank you, Roger, for so clearly stating what should be the roles of council members as the policy making body in city government. It is not the role be a subservient automatic administrative assistant for the administration, and especially not a subordinate for unelected staff members.

    2. “Council is under no obligation to rubber stamp anybody’s policy proposal, even one from staff.” Certain council members seem to always vote whatever staff and Mayor want, I have witnessed this for years. Staff and Mayor are not always right. Each election I meet with and try to vote for council candidates who are independent thinkers and not afraid to make the call on behalf of those they are suppose to represent, even though the decision may not be favorable to Mayor and staff.

      I greatly appreciate council members who think for themselves on behalf of all Edmonds residents.

  5. Roger you are absolutely right on the mark here. I’m officially adding your name to my list of the people we need on OUR Council and, in your case, we actually have the opportunity to make it happen.

    I really have my doubts about people who are holding down very demanding full-time occupations being able to properly perform the duties of being a City Council Person, which is a part-time job only in name and compensation. The reality is it has become a full-time job, if done right.

    The last thing we need more of, are Council Members who think their job is facilitating Staff people telling them what the citizens (the bill payers) want. The Council Person’s job is to see that the Mayors and Staffs get the people what they NEED first, with the nice to have stuff coming as is affordable and sensible.

    There has been no public outcry for this reimagining streets with a Greenstreets Manual getting produced at our expense. It’s time and money wasting busy work, that we can’t afford, done by an administrator who just doesn’t get it. That said, I don’t blame her really. I blame her boss for promoting it.

  6. Roger Pence,

    Your thoughtful and well articulated comment demonstrates your clear understanding of the legislative process and of Council’s responsibility as “the ultimate policy-making body in City Hall.”

    This comment illustrates one of the enumerable reasons why I am voting for you for Edmonds City Council, position 1. Thank you for running for office.

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