First ‘Everyone’s Edmonds’ neighborhood meeting kicks off next phase of Comp Plan process

Attendees examine the various options presented by the project team aimed at downtown and the waterfront.

More than 40 people joined City of Edmonds Planning and Development Director Susan McLaughlin and consultant project staff Monday evening in the Library Plaza Room for the first of six scheduled meetings focused on specific neighborhoods and aimed at guiding their growth and development over the next 20 years. Designed to inform Edmonds’ overall Comprehensive Plan effort, the meetings are aimed at fulfilling the mandate of the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) that jurisdictions across the state develop plans to meet projected growth targets (see illustration below).

This slide details how the growth allocations in the Growth Management Act filter down to the local level.

In very broad terms, Edmonds faces the challenge of how it will accommodate the projected influx of 13,000 more people over the next 20 years. Just to house these new residents will require 9,000 new housing units (Edmonds currently has the capacity to add only 5,000 housing units, which is 4,000 short of the 9,000 we are projected to need). Along with this, Edmonds will also need to create the capacity for 500 new jobs (see diagram below).

This bar chart shows the challenges facing Edmonds as it plans for meeting 20-year growth projections.

For the past two years, Edmonds has been conducting surveys, public meetings, data collection/assessment and more to aid in developing a Comprehensive Plan that will allow us to meet the mandates of the GMA. The neighborhood meetings happening this month move the effort to the next phase.

“This begins the granular conversation,” said McLaughlin to attendees.  “Up to now we’ve been talking in broad terms, but now we’ll be getting more specific.”

Referring to the project timeline and noting that the city is now at the neighborhood meeting stage, she explained that the activities to the left of this laid the groundwork and set the overall vision, and that the neighborhood meetings being held this month move the city into “more granular” work of developing goals and scenarios about how the community wants to accommodate projected growth.

“We’re building a two-year relationship,” she said. “By spring 2024 we’ll look at the scenarios of how we want to manage and spread the growth. In late 2024 we will conduct an EIS process, with the goal of having a comp plan adopted by the end of 2024 that lays out our 20-year growth strategy.”

Edmonds Planning and Development Director Susan McLaughlin provided an overview of the Comprehensive Plan process.

Following this introduction the sesson segued into the first two neighborhood-specific meetings, the first focusing on downtown and the second on the waterfront.  During these, attendees broke into smaller focus groups to examine, discuss and comment on a range of options specific to those neighborhoods. The groups reported back to summarize their findings. Subsequent meetings will follow this format.

“The feedback you give us will be used to further develop and refine the options, which will form the basis of more rounds of community meetings in 2024,” said McLaughlin.

More than 40 people attended the session held in the Edmonds Library Plaza Room.
Breakout groups considered the relative merits of several options for each neighborhood.

Between now and the middle of December there will be five additional neighborhood meetings aimed at Westgate (Dec. 5), Five Corners (Dec. 6), Highway 99 (Dec. 7), Firdale (Dec.11), and the Bowl (Dec 12). All will be held in the Edmonds Library Plaza Room, 650 Main St.

For more details on the Comprehensive Plan, what it is, its goals and rationale, and how it specifically applies to Edmonds, go the project web page here.  At this site you will also find a general PowerPoint presentation on the Comp Plan itself, and the information and options provided at the various neighbhood meetings which are posted immediately after each session concludes (these are already posted for downtown and the waterfront).

There is also a comment form on the website for submitting additional input, questions and concerns.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

  1. In the next 20 yrs how many of Edmonds current residents will be transitioning to assisted living? Those resident’s current homes would become available. Perhaps, planning for their future transition would be a way to maintain diversity in Edmonds and keep families in proximity.

    1. Here’s what Director Susan McLaughlin said in response to our question asking why Seaview and Perrinville weren’t on the list: “Whilst those are cherished neighborhoods in the COE, they did not meet the threshold to warrant a neighborhood specific meeting. That threshold was based on the number of commercially zoned properties. That said, residents can choose their closest neighborhood commercial center based on this list and choose which one to attend. All residents are welcome and encouraged to participate. We will also be hosting citywide open houses in the future, which will cover the entire city as opposed to these ‘subarea’ conversations.” — Teresa

  2. How can one get more advanced notice about these sorts of meetings? I was excited reading through the article, and getting my calendar out, only to realize that my neighborhood’s meeting is probably wrapping up right as I was reading the article. Is there an email list from the city? Thanks in advance!

    1. The city sends out press releases in advance and we post them, as we did in this case. I would suggest you sign up for our daily email newsletter, which summarizes all of the news posted from the day before, if you want to be alerted to what is happening in the city. I can do that for you using your email address — just let me know.. –Teresa

  3. For the Tuesday and Wednesday Comp Plan meetings, only a dozen people showed up for each, and not all of them from the target neighborhood. Such poor attendance indicates a serious problem with the City’s communication strategy. Sending a press release to local media is not enough.

    The City has done projects in these neighborhoods before; they should have email lists with hundreds of names of local people. They can send postcard invitations to local residents. Like Sasha suggests, people are interested~ they just need to be communicated with.

    1. Maybe the new Administration can do a better job of communicating and interacting with the Edmonds Community although that might mean a change in the current leadership’s way of doing business

    2. I hate to say this, but maybe the low attendance ALSO has to do with some residents choosing not to engage, for whatever their reasons may be? There was record low turnout for the election this year, and that wasn’t a “communications” issue. Can the city do better? Yes, but so can we. It’s not always someone else’s fault for a person’s lack of civic engagement.

      1. Ok let’s go a little deeper. First older and compromised adults, people with Asthma, COPD, Heart Disease, ADA issues. There are plenty of reasons when we all know that many in our area and surrounding counties have RSV. Also, many including if I am getting the correct information also have Covid. RSV is very contagious, sneezing, coughing all of it will pass this easily. In addition to that there is parking to consider. It is very nasty outside and where are the 42,000 people in Edmonds supposed to park? Now I don’t walk in the rain or long distances due to issues that are my business but to say NO Interest. I don’t think so. I am interested very much in every area and the plans for every area. Reason every area we as a whole in this city pay for the taxes everywhere not just in our own neighborhoods. At this point in Edmonds, I suspect many are very eager to engage in about everything and every issue. And BTW way is their interpreters for all our many languages. A zoom can provide that for those who need that too. Yes, it is disappointing that everyone doesn’t vote. I totally agree with that. I sure hope in the future many more do vote. I never miss a Vote.

  4. The time the meetings are held is tough for many folks who work weekdays and can’t take time off. I very much want to attend the meeting for my area but my job makes it impossible, especially on days I’m in court. I’m bummed.

    1. You raise an entirely valid point, Kim. It’s important that all Edmonds citizens have opportunities to participate in Comprehensive Plan development, especially those who have day jobs they can’t break away from.

      I believe things will get better soon. City Hall is undergoing a regime change on January 1st. I fully expect our new mayor, Mike Rosen, will have a more robust communications program, a more effective community engagement strategy going forward.

      1. I agree and I hope with Mayor Rosen these meetings for every part of Edmonds will be available not only in person but by Zoom. This way we can all see and hear what is planned for design in all areas of Edmonds then a survey could be done and many more could comment that way. These neighborhood get togethers never represent very many in a neighborhood. Kim’s reason is valid. For others there are many reasons they cannot attend in person. SO, I sure hope this will be done Again after Mayor Rosen is sworn in to office. These meetings scheduled will like all things only attract those who follow certain agendas. That is not meant as a slur on any neighborhood it is just a simple fact. I want total transparency way ahead of schedule in every aspect of development in Edmonds. We pay for it. We have the right to see what it is and tweak or add where and what we think is necessary. Thank you.

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.