Residents hear draft plan for Edmonds growth, but some are uneasy

About 100 attended Saturday’s meeting in the Edmonds City Hall Brackett Room.

About 100 Edmonds residents gathered at city hall Saturday to get a closer look at the 2024 Comprehensive Plan update and an opportunity to ask questions about it. The comprehensive plan is a guide to the development of Edmonds in the next 20 years with growth alternatives.

The City of Edmonds needs to accommodate the expected growth of 13,000 people over the next 20 years, as required by the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA). These new residents will require 9,000 new housing units, and Edmonds currently has the capacity to add only 5,000 units. Also, Edmonds has the capacity for 2,548 jobs, and at least 500 additional jobs must be added.

As part of this effort, the City of Edmonds must comply with three House Bills – HB 1110, HB 1220, and HB 1337.

HB 1110: Increase middle housing in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing.

HB 1220: Accommodate affordable housing to all economic segments of the population of Washington state. Cities must also promote a variety of housing types and differentiate these housing types to affordability levels.

HB 1337: Permit up to two accessory-dwelling units in all single-family zones.

Edmonds Mayor Mike Rosen opens the meeting.

At the start of Saturday’s meeting, Mayor Mike Rosen recalled that Edmonds has a history of doing unusual things, such as adding the names of two oxen – Simon and Bolivar – to fulfill the number of names needed to incorporate Edmonds into Snohomish County in 1890.

“We are perhaps the only city in the country that used both humans and animals to become a city,” Rosen said. “What I get out of it is that cities change over time, and we have a long history of doing things a little differently here in Edmonds.”

Rosen also shared some of his frustrations with how Washington state is handling the urban planning, treating all cities in the state the same way and not giving the City of Edmonds an extension to meet the growth requirements. However, if the city does not meet its growth numbers, it would be in non-compliance with the GMA, and that means the state or the county might never give you money again, Rosen said.

“There are developers in the community who could use that to sue you,” he added. “And if you don’t do this, there might be a law that allows builders to come in and bypass the local zonings…non-compliance will lead to a model ordinance being imposed. The model ordinance is the state saying, ‘If you don’t do it, we’ll take care of it for you. And we will allow more density than you had been held to before.’ That’s where we are.”

Planning Board Chair Jeremy Mitchell said the board wants to hear ideas for changing the draft proposals.

Edmonds Planning Board Chair Jeremy Mitchell shared similar frustrations with the time constraint and other mandates the state had imposed. However, he shifted to a more positive note about the Comprehensive Plan update, pointing out that the plan includes everyone who lives and works in Edmonds, regardless of neighborhood or socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

“When I first moved here with my wife, we barely got in on the real estate market,” Mitchell said. “But what I like about this town, and what keeps it a small town, is that you can walk in any one of these neighborhoods and somebody acknowledges that you exist. They say ‘Hi!’ In some neighborhoods, you may get the small-town wave. That still exists here.”

The planning board is analyzing the opinions expressed and options being considered and will send its Comprehensive Plan update recommendations to the city council and the mayor, Mitchell said.

“They take that and then make an ordinance or law,” Mitchell said. “So what I’m asking you today after the presentation, what kind of recommendation would you want us to consider,” he said. “If you want us to expand one area and shrink another, we want that input. But I want you to consider all demographics. That’s the requirement by the state. That’s what we have to do as a city to make sure that it’s equitable across the board.”

Planning Board Member Judi Gladstone offered a challenge to the audience: Plan for future generations, not just yourselves.

“I’m going to go home and ask my Millennial and Gen Z children, ‘What do you think?’ Because I know they’re not going to show up here because they don’t live in Edmonds,” Gladstone said. “They’ve tried and they can’t afford it. We’re not just planning this for us, but for our kids. 

Planning and Development Director Susan McLaughin describes the survey now open to residents.

During Saturday’s forum, Director of Planning and Development Susan McLaughlin shared a link to an online survey where attendees could test their knowledge about Edmonds’ growth alternatives. The questions include:

– Who could describe our proposed growth alternatives if asked on the street?

– Will environmental impacts be factored in before any decisions are made?

– The city has negated the need for parking in our centers and hubs. (Yes, No, Maybe)

– Has the city proposed high-rise buildings in the Downtown Activity Center?

– If the city council adopts the Comprehensive Plan, does it guarantee we will get 2,700 units over the next 20 years? 

McLaughlin then presented the draft 2024 Comprehensive Plan update that includes three alternatives:

No action: By making no changes, the City of Edmonds would be non-compliant with the GMA.

The focused growth alternative, which proposes building neighborhood centers in the Firdale Village, Westgate and Five Corners neighborhoods, while creating hubs in the North Edmonds Bowl, Perrinville and Firdale. The city’s Medical District – located near Swedish Edmonds Hospital – would also be expanded to complement medical services and provide temporary housing for medical workers. Housing units are limited to four stories within neighborhood centers and medical centers. Certain areas may allow five stories if there is a community benefit incentive involved.

The distributed growth alternative, which is similar to the focused growth option except that it limits buildings up to three stories in neighborhood centers and hubs. Certain areas may allow four stories if there is a community benefit incentive involved. Growth in the Medical District can be expanded up to 2,000 units.

Both alternatives have a “15-minute neighborhood plan” in mind, which means that residents can easily walk, bike or take public transit to daily necessities and services.

“The focused growth alternative basically says let’s put more growth in urban centers, and let’s keep the hubs low to moderate change,” McLaughlin said. She emphasized that three to four stories are allowed, but five stories can be built if there is a “public benefit package” involved.

Furthermore, the distributed growth alternative spreads population throughout centers and hubs, not just centers as suggested by the focused growth alternative.

After the presentation, the audience was invited to speak to planning board members, the consultants and Mayor Rosen. At least half the audience stayed.

“I’m feeling very uneasy about the direction the city is going,” said Edmonds resident Celia Kerr, who attended Saturday’s meeting. “They’re going to go for what makes the most money. I want to keep the wonderful city of Edmonds the way it is and take care of the neighborhoods.”

Kerr also said that the beginning of the presentation was difficult to hear before a microphone and boombox was brought out. It was also difficult to follow because there was too much information. “How do you memorize that?” she said. “I couldn’t scribble it down fast enough.”

“I think the city is trying, but I still feel like as individual residents of Edmonds, we don’t have a lot of say in this because so much just came from the state and the city has to go by that,” added Edmonds resident Jaime McLean, who is Kerr’s neighbor. “We all want to do this in a good way that takes everybody’s [opinion], like those who (have lived) here for a long time.”

McLean said that she grew up in Seattle and had seen parking problems and high-density growth in Ballard and West Seattle when the 15-minute neighborhood idea was implemented. 

“I don’t want to see it happen here in Edmonds,” she said.

Planning Board Member Nick Maxwell said that one topic that stood out to him is the number of stories that are allowed to be built. 

“People prefer four stories to five stories, even if they are not offered a three-story max option,” he said. “People haven’t really articulated why they like shorter stories. [For me] there’s an issue of looming like the seven-story buildings on Highway 99. I feel like they are looming over me. It does not feel comfortable. That’s me, but I haven’t heard this from anyone else.”

Many conversations took place outside of the formal presentation.

Maxwell is also worried about heat islands that occur where too many buildings are built close together and there are not enough trees to provide shade. In Seattle, more than 80% of the residents live in heat islands that are between seven to nine degrees warmer than surrounding areas. Low-income communities are more likely to experience heat islands than higher-income communities.

“In a heat wave, you could raise the temperatures between 5 to 10 degrees [Fahrenheit],” he said. “That can be really scary.”

As the crowd thinned out toward the end of the scheduled meeting, Gladstone encouraged people to consider the future when they take the online survey.

“As Jeremy said, what do you think is missing and what do you think is good for the future of Edmonds?” she asked. “We all want to keep it the same, but as the mayor and Jeremy pointed out, things change – all the time.”

Public outreach is continuing on the Comprehensive Plan update, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. Community members are invited to a public meeting Monday, March 25 where they discuss their vision for the Edmonds waterfront. You can see a detailed timeline of Comprehensive Plan milestones in the graphic below.

— Story and photos by Nick Ng

— Graphics courtesy City of Edmonds

  1. Our city could allow the development but make it difficult and expensive to develop. But that stands in the way of the growth/tax revenue they so desperately want. I don’t know I think we should get government out of the way they cost a fortune and do nothing but spend all their time finding endless ways of raising revenue/taxes and really don’t care about what the people that voted them their think.

  2. Wow, I wonder what “community benefit incentive” means, and how it could possibly justify under alternative B a 5th floor at the congested double intersection at “Firdale North” a/k/a 238th and 100th/Firdale Ave. (I would have thought we’d be considering a roundabout consolidating the mess, not a bunch of four and five story buildings) . . . Teresa, can you reply with details what qualifies as a “community benefit incentive” for those of us not following as closely as perhaps we should?

    1. I wasn’t at the meeting but I will ask our reporter Nick if he can elaborate. Or perhaps someone else here can define it.

      1. Remember where all this starts. We continue to elect our comrades in Olympia who tow the party line and dictate to us how we must fulfill the visions of the party.

        I am still waiting for them to define affordable. In a way that is actually affordable.

        On the other hand, if we are forced to do this, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, drop 5 to 7 story buildings anywhere in Edmonds. No more studies and discussions. No hubs, no districts. Save the cash, and take a fair approach to making sure everyone gets equally screwed by our State mandates. I propose Olympic View and Main Street be our test cases, followed shortly by a 7 story development of government housing on the waterfront. A very fair and socialist approach our elected State Reps would love.

      2. 13 thousands new residents, in just 9 thousands new units, is equal to 1 .1/2 person per new unit…..something is wrong. At least a family of 2 will occupied those 9 thousands units bringing the total new residents to 18 thousands or even more….do the math…

        1. Based on current and historic data it is 2.3 residents per household. So yeah, the math seems a bit fuzzy. Still waiting on the data and analysis that got them to these numbers. In all honesty, I never really paid attention to the 13,000 until recently when it started looking like we are not going to reverse course or even refute those numbers.

    2. Meanings change over time. Or people discern it differently today’s community benefit means better for someone else in general. Not that people here wouldn’t benefit but largely whatever the percieved benefit is, it isn’t for those here today. We want buses with no one on them running more frequently we want bike lanes on mainstreet that are almost never used we want to spend extraordinarily vast amounts of money placating the few while everything else falls apart. Yes community benefit is code for something government wants to do.

    3. Found this from a previous council story that explains it: “Both Alternatives A and B include bonus height incentives, which refers to additional building height allowances granted to developers as an incentive to include specific features or amenities in their projects, such as neighborhood open space, affordable child care and small-scaled retail and cafes.”

      1. Thanks. However, we need to get this entirely out of the comprehensive plan ASAP! For both options! There are at least 12 goals for comprehensive planning in the growth mamagement act, and as far as I can recall, child care and small retail are not on the list. (Perhaps cram it into a zoning ordinance later if that is what people really want). Open space and parks are probably in the list, but Hickman Park is presumably is less than half a mile from “Firdale North”, a/k/a, 238th and 100th/Firdale, and provides both open space and a park. For that reason, and one or two others, the “Firdale North” plan seems a bit bizarre.

        1. Lora, The oil company built a gas station there decades ago. The existence of old commercial buildings is the primary criteria to select any set of cross streets as a new Hub. The older they are – the better. Because age is one of the key criteria that makes a parcel ‘redevelopable’ in the GMA planning world.

  3. Is there an error in this article? It says that the focused plan (A) would allow 6 floors and the distributed plan (B) would allow 5 floors while the images in the article say that (A) would have max 5 floors and (B) max 4 floors? Which is wrong? The city site agrees with the images: (A) would have a 4 floor base with one extra floor allowed if incentives are met and (B) would have a 3 floor base with one extra floor allowed if incentives are met. Please make a correction to the article unless there is an error within the explanation from the City.

  4. Another error I think I found: In the article is says that the distributed plan (B) does not include the Medical Center Expansion yet it is clearly marked on the image in the article and also on the City diagrams. Please correct if your article is in error.

    1. Thanks for asking about these. We reached out to the city and made changes based on their corrections.

  5. There are many problems with this plan. First of all there was little community input in the development of the plan.
    We were given two options and asked to comment on them just like the Landmark 99 Project. I am also quite skeptical of the 15 minute neighborhoods. I doubt that very few small businesses will thrive there other than bars, restaurants, and small convenience stores which I have nothing against. Grocery stores won’t survive just as the store that has been replaced by ACE hardware couldn’t survive economically.
    My biggest concern though is the environment which has been been covered by Joe Scordino, Diane Buckshnis, and others and ignored by Susan McLaughlin and her Department. We don’t have the infrastructure to handle this growth and it will be very expensive. Who’s going to pay for it? This is an “unfunded mandate”.
    PS Listen to Joni Mitchell’s “The Big Yellow Taxi”. She describes the situation we’re in now.

    1. “The Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell is perfect, Bob. Maybe more should listen to that song. With all of this development, where will our neighborhoods go? And what about nature! Many cry over the environment, but what will we have left with this development?

  6. I’m wondering if anybody is really thinking about the future? From what I understand we are now entering a de-populatating era and we are still trying to build excessive living spaces when we have people working from home and tons of empty commercial. Buildings and high-rises in downtown Seattle. We must retrofit or tear them down give the city’s room to breathe we are overbuilding over crowdering and as a result less desirable and less healthy. Last week on a gorgeous spring day in Edmonds on the waterfront the traffic was unbearable with no place to park. And the small parks we have here are too small. For so many people. How bad is the summer going to be and the unbearable car exhaust hanging low in the air ? The Pacific Northwest has such beautiful areas. We don’t need density, what we do need is many more smaller independent communities spread out.
    Tear down those excessive over built office building and recycle the materials
    We need to stop and pull back, alow growth to spread out not up . We are encouraged by people who move to other near by areas like Everett which is on track to be one of the most upcoming cities here yet. I love exploring the PNW. Let’s keep the nature in our cities.

    1. Amen to “the unbearable car exhaust hanging low in the air”. We should do something about that as soon as possible. Lucky for us, a lot of cars don’t have exhaust.

      1. Nick, can you explain why the public comment period is so short? Out-reach beginning 8 days before the Apr 1 deadline on a 40 year growth plan?!?

  7. Vertical living discriminates against those who are older or have mobility issues. Not everyone wants to or can afford condo-style building with elevators that charge $800-$1,000 per month in HOA fees.

  8. I don’t understand why we alow builders to build small tiny apartments and then large storage buildings. Why can’t we combine them? Why can’t we design larger apapartments for this new era of working From home and enough room to accomondate a healthy living where eveyone
    Has place to put a folding chair outside in the fresh air and sunshine. There isn’t enough open space in our cities to accomondate the population who live in tiny confined condos
    and apartments. Builders need to be more conscientious of the people who are to live in these buildings. The city planners and building departments need to come up with a better comperhensive plans for our ever changing world we all live in
    I

  9. One other point – how many Government mandates have been rolled back, postponed, changed, removed when the will of our elected officials supported it? I am going to guess quite a few. I think those of us opposed to forcing government mandated housing in Edmonds should be sending emails to Marco and Strom – and asking them what their proposed solutions are. We did not elect State Representatives to represent all of Western Washington or a particular party in Edmonds, we elected them to represent Edmonds. I am still waiting for them to give some real data on how well their supported programs have been working out – you know, more funds for the unhoused (how many unhoused have been helped), additional gun control, (I think the OFSVP is still working with 2021 data), and how any program they supported is doing (with facts, not fun statements like “it will be good for all Washingtonians”).

    Send them an email or two asking them their plan to preserve Edmonds, promote smart growth and equity, or do they intend to just tow the party line. They are our voice in Olympia…

    1. Perhaps the voters of Edmonds need to replace Marco and Strom with someone who better represents the voters and the community rather than a party line.

  10. I sent this over to Strom this morning. Let’s see what he says. Strom, I recently posted a response on My Edmonds News regarding our community and the obvious struggle with the mandated growth management act requirements. Can you provide your detailed plan to assist your constituents in Edmonds with reducing the unreasonable and unwarranted growth mandates in Edmonds? It appears the City is going to take an approach of mandated social programs in areas that are traditionally under-represented and those in more well heeled areas, such as your neighborhood, will not have to deal with increased density, increased traffic, increased pollution, reduced park space, or other issues related to increased density. It seems apparent that a large portion of the population of Edmonds supports a revisit to this “peanut butter” approach legislation. What can you and your office do to support a rollback or reduction in the GMA requirements? Should we stop the studies and instead, simply allow multistory buildings everywhere in Edmonds so that fairness is preserved and protected for all citizens? Thanks in advance for your response, I know many are interested in your feedback and support in Olympia. I am sure the you and Marko both support equality and fairness for all, I look forward to your responses on how we address this real issue in our Community. Warm regards, George

  11. Here’s the big ideological picture with consequences few realize. When the majority voted for those currently in power at the state and federal levels they consented to the global economic forum’s ‘smart’ or ‘15-minute city’ plans. These three state laws are the beginning of being dictated to on how to plan our town for the next generations, regardless of its history or charm or character. Ironically, though it touts equity, its a one-size-fits-all program. This is their vision under threat, of BBB/Build Back Better. It’s not ours, we don’t own it. Remember, ‘you will own nothing and you will be happy’, where power is disguised as economic and social equality, and freedom is irrelevant.

    1. So true Cynthia. I’ve been focusing on our new mayor’s role in this whole mess because he could do things to mitigate some of these overreach State mandates, but has decided to tow the party line. Mayor Rosen ran on being a nonpartisan candidate but he has taken office and has done anything but that with these planning agendas. If there’s one thing that I can’t stand it’s a person who is not honest or a hypocrite especially when it comes to politicians. These outrageous plans are not going to be a point of Pride or Legacy.

    2. Cynthia,

      Here is the real definition of “15 minute” neighborhoods:
      https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2019/9/6/7-rules-for-creating-15-minute-neighborhoods

      What is a 15-minute neighborhood?
      A 15-minute neighborhood is a neighborhood in which you can access all of your most basic, day-to-day needs within a 15-minute walk of your home. It is also sometimes called a complete neighborhood.

      https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2018/2/6/complete-neighborhoods excellent article

      Our state legislature, with our Development Services department following suit, have conveniently added 15 minute bike ride and 15 minutes to transit, when imposing the housing mandates. Few of our neighborhoods meet the real definition of “15 minute neighborhoods.”

  12. Well put Suzzanne. Look what has happened in China where the government encouraged the development of cities with large apartment buildings which are all empty and have become a huge drag on their economy. Central Planning that has gone horribly awry.

  13. “Uneasy” is an understatement. “Betrayed” is more like it. Saturday 23rd meeting felt like a dog-and-pony show where the city administration just communicated what they plan to do totally disregarding the population’s input and concerns?

    The old “figures don’t lie but liars figure” came to mind many times as city staff and consultants could not explain the numbers they have been using and some even got upset when questioned about them.

    Why can Mukilteo push back but Edmonds cannot? Are there other interests at play here?
    Why is Edmonds not doing anything to preserve the city’s quality of life when, under the excuse of the same argument, the city press charges against its own population?
    Is the plan to make Edmonds a tourism spot real or just used-car-lot-salesmen talk? That’s the impression I got from the city staff last Saturday.
    People do not realize that if those plans come to fruition the “Edmonds” we love will be gone?

    1. I think the City Government is pretty much strapped by what State Government is mandating. I do not think they can ignore the requests and mandates – but I do wonder if we can push back a bit more. In private economies, we vote with our feet or our checkbooks, in Government, we vote with our elected representatives. I do believe there is more push back to be had and probably a happy medium somewhere – I do not know what the two best or one best alternative is. That’s not really my concern. I know that the current alternative of preserving Edmonds and creating opportunity seems to be doing just fine, with one minor issue, we can barely pay for what we have now. I am all for development. Smart development. Drive through Ballard or Kirkland or even Redmond and tell me where that small town charm is. It does not exist. Gone. Sold. There is plenty of density and none of it affordable. The first series of bills were tax bills hidden under the guise of affordable and more housing – but that just means when everybody leaves one area because it does not meet what they want out of a neighborhood, that there’s more stock available. I say we all need to push back – or just build everywhere…

      1. George and Theresa,

        I heard about Mukilteo in the Saturday meeting. As I read more about Mukilteo’s push back, it seems that this push to increase density has been going for a while and (probably as expected) the inept previous administration (intentionally?) let it slide to the last minute, so now it makes it much more difficult to push back?

        And this new administration (somehow) already got onboard and is also pushing the Edmonds’ population into the hole the previous one dug? We already know the big financial hole Mike Nelson left. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that it’s much worse.

        A quick web search brought these articles (there are many more). I asked before, but asking again. Does anyone know anybody in Mukilteo’s administration? That will help getting direct and up-to-date information.

        https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/mukilteo-election-housing-affordable/281-e3829912-c0b0-47e8-a47d-5e4dd60ea247

        https://mynorthwest.com/3227889/mukilteo-rejects-high-density-housing-as-puget-sound-regions-population-booms/

        Thoughts?

      2. Yes, we all need to push back. I’m all for it and would whatever I can. But how, if our representatives are not really on our side?

    2. Mario, If you’re going to hold up Mukilteo as a city that is doing it right, I suggest you give MEN readers a more full view of how city governance has gone in Mukilteo in recent years. Or simply ask readers to Google stuff. There’s no obvious reason today to follow Mukilteo’s lead, in my personal opinion.

  14. If one would like to witness the impacts on neighborhoods from Density simply head south on 99 towards Shoreline. Look on both sides of 99 in the Echo Lake neighborhood near and before Sky Nursery. See if you can see the sky driving through and experience it firsthand. Then take a left on 185th and proceed about a half mile or so. Big eye opener of what to expect from all this.

    1. Drive by downtown Bothell and look at the buildings those individuals have in storage for Edmonds, and all the nefast consequences. Don’t even need to get into Bothell, just drive by 522.

  15. I attended this event seeking more information on the 13,113 population increase projected over the next 20 years, a rate of growth more than 4 times higher than the last 20 years. They had a display board showing the growth projections, but it was all information from regional authorities. There was no City analysis verifying any of the numbers.

    But I did get an interesting response from a City consultant. I asked her if Edmonds City staff was directed to come up with its own projections of population growth for the next 20 years, using available history and data, would their answer be at that 13K level? And her very quick reply was No, it would not be that high.

    It’s good to have at least one planning insider acknowledge the 13,113 growth projection is too high, and not grounded in Edmonds’ reality. We may be forced to accept it for planning purposes because “it’s the law” from on high, but that doesn’t make it correct or appropriate for our city.

    1. Roger –

      I definitely agree on this one as well – have the projections been vetted and approved or do we just go with what the Government says is correct? I did the math – the historic annual growth rate for 2020 through 2022 was 0.35%. The forecasted growth rate to get to the 13,000 increase by 2040 is 1.48% per year. That is higher than any growth rate (based on what I am finding) in the past 20 years. Using the .35% average growth rate, that reduces the 13,000 down to 2,786 more residents. If we were to just double that number – to 5,500 just for the sake of creating a margin of error, we are at (based on 2.3 persons per household) an additional need of between 600 and 1,211 new housing units. Now, I am not a social scientist but can run a spreadsheet. Right now we are projecting a need for about 5,500 new housing units – but the range could be anywhere, based on just history, somewhere between 600 and 5,500. Seems to me the government took the route of use the highest estimate and hope they buy it. Well, our representatives bought it. Something is not adding up – the logic behind it or the reasons it got supported in the first place.

  16. I’m confused. Wasn’t this supposed to be a public meeting to “hear” from residents? If so, why did the meeting END WITH Planning Board member comments that they wanted to “hear” from citizens?

    Is the online survey being CHANGED NOW to reflect public input on issues of concern with the proposed growth alternative and other ‘ideas’ for addressing the Comp Plan update? The current “structured” survey is biased and worthless in getting actual public input.

    Did City staff document other Alternatives, changes, and comments raised during the public meeting? Is that going to be posted on the City website so everyone can see what was said by concerned citizens?

    When is the ‘crazy’ going to stop??

    1. This meeting did allow Planning Board members to hear from the public. We’re not done. We are still listening. We still want to hear from citizens.
      For example, I’m reading these comments.
      Emails to the Planning Board and audience comments in Planning Board meetings are appreciated.

      1. The problem was that it was a one on one with the Planning Board rather than an open discussion. The Planning Board Members, McLaughlin and Tatum should have sat up in front of the room and let the public fire away with their questions.
        Quite honestly, after the Landmark 99 meetings, and the way this plan has come about, Susan McLaughlin, Tatum and the Planning Board have lost the Public Trust. A large number us see these meetings as pure SHOW.
        After the this meeting, I’ve come to agree with Joe Scordino when he says these meetings are a waste of my time. As a result, I will not be attending this evenings meeting regarding the Waterfront.
        Finally, at the meeting you asked if our kids would like to move here. The answer is they wouldn’t even think of moving to the New Edmonds.

      2. Thank you, Nick, for your input. Could you please post exactly how we can email the Planning Board? I couldn’t find that on the site.

    2. Lots of information… I was hoping someone more knowledgeable than I could summarize. I see it as follows and am hoping that all of the input to date is also being sent to the Mayor, Council and Planning.
      1. Edmonds has been directed to plan for an additional 13,000 residents – this number is not supported.
      2. The Planning Director/Consultant were hired under the previous administration and support increasing housing density. Any surprise the draft Comprehensive Plan is skewed that way?
      3. Neighborhood meetings did not solicit open communication for potential solutions (only a review of their proposed solutions) and available surveys were biased to the desired outcome.
      4. Mayor Rosen won the vote by 10% – seems the voting residents wanted change from previous direction.
      5. The Mayor stated he will not push back against the house bills that require increased housing in Edmonds – “the train has left the station”.
      6. The Mayor has not pushed back against his staff’s more stringent interpretation of the house bills.
      7. The State passed an unfunded mandate to increase housing with no regard for environmental, infrastructure, resident preferences…
      8. Edmonds is unaware of financial and environmental impacts of increased density.
      9. Edmonds is required to address the “affordable housing” issue by increasing housing density but most all new housing will be market rate.
      10. The Planning Board proposed only two rather similar solutions to increase density, briefed these solutions on Saturday, and afforded minimal time for input.

      1. Jon, that pretty much sums it up.

        Yesterday in the waterfront meeting, while talking with other participants, I got a similar discontent feeling as well. We were probably around 50 people and were divided into several groups to provide ideas and input on the waterfront plan. There were several common ideas but the one that felt very emphasized was “no more resident buildings!”

      2. Number 5 seems interesting. Maybe Mayor Rosen will address the quote “that train has left the station” this week in his address. I would be interested in his review of the data and the 13,000 additional residents that are going to need to be housed in an additional 5,500 housing units. No train ever leaves the station with the Government, just lobbyist checks and consulting bills.

        Number 9 is equally challenging. Increasing housing stock in every region of the Pac NW is a symbiotic relationship. If the estimates for our surrounding communities are 4x the historic growth rates and they have similar GMA targets, then housing gluts and empty units become more of a consideration. It certainly will make things more affordable – and erode capital and wealth for everyone else, except for builders, developers, and infrastructure consultants (hence their support of the GMA initiatives and bills).

        There does appear to be a slant towards “forced growth” versus “managed growth” – and it would be interesting to see the data and the analysis performed that got us to the GMA numbers that we are working with.

        Maybe someone has a link to where the research and analytics are that put those numbers together?

        Still no response from Strom….I am not holding my breath.

  17. 20 years. How do you require any city to know what is ahead that far into the future. How many units are required by when exactly? I need to know exactly how many units required within say 5 years? 10 years. It’s not by 2025 as it would take longer than that to build, I believe. SO give us that info as a start. I do not want buildings over 2-3 floors as we don’t want our territorial views destroyed. Our trees all removed and our streets flooded with parked cars. SF neighborhoods have side streets for their children to bicycle and use our driveways to turn around etc so they don’t have to go into busy streets with speeding cars. Families will not want to live in boxes with nowhere for their kids to play or even safely walk to school? A few 3 story units, in all of our hubs and DADA will help as well as SFH that are going up in other spots. Even HOAs count towards growth even though density rules don’t apply to them. So, give us numbers and spread it out over ALL neighborhoods and plan for the least amount needed. That is a start with compliance and allows us time to do a true environment study of the infrastructure for sewer, water, all of it. cont.

  18. Here in Snohomish county is a beautiful example of organic (my name) development compared to top down edicts. Have you ever thought about why you can pick any road to drive and you will arrive at your destination, albeit sometimes circuitous routes? Our early pioneers punched through roads as the need arose and we are the benefactors of their lived experiences. Compare it to the east side and the nightmare of I405 when communities were government planned beginning in earnest about fifty or sixty years ago. If you drive any other route than designated by the government, you’re apt to find yourself in roundabouts, cul d sacs, dead ends, etc. And visually open skies disappear with growth, yet in this area, in spite of population growth most of our visual experiences are still large open vistas. Population is declining and the true visionaries would be preparing for this, but maybe this is really about something more sinister.

    1. Karen,
      I appreciate hearing your thoughts about cul-de-sacs and dead ends. Does anyone prefer cul-de-sac development?

      1. Nick why yes I think there are many people/families that love their cul-de-sac. I know my daughter sure does most of the people there have small children and they all get together to play in the cul-de-sac. I myself I would prefer to live at the end of a long dead end road no neighbors but the wildlife. I guess we can’t all have what we want. I am sure there are people that want to live in a tiny apartment in the sky I don’t know any though. We have already a good mix of apartments condos and single family housing I don’t know that we need anymore diversity of options or that more of the above improves the quality of life of those that live here now or that any new people will have a better quality of life by moving here higher population density doesn’t equal better quality of life actually In general higher population density usually leads to a lower quality of life.

      2. We live on a cul-de-sac development from 1962 here in Edmonds. Yes, the yards are large. Yes, I have big trees and lots of garden space. Yes, I now am zoned to be able to throw another home in my backyard on my cul-de-sac (and guess that probably will happen with whomever the next owner is over the next 15 years) – I agree with cul-de-sac developments simply because they allow development in space that might otherwise have limited ingress/egress – and could also be governed by small community HOA’s (coming from Florida and multiple HOA managed communities, I am not necessarily a fan of the Corporate HOA and the myriad of rules, but smaller HOA’s managed by the homeowners that clearly outline what they manage without 9,427 rules about how your trash cans must be stored can be beneficial for shared space and common space cost splitting).

        Our cul-de-sac (two actually) has maybe 20 homes – and the streets are filled with kids who play, adults who exercise, and we all know each other. If we were to tear down these homes and put in 20 6-unit condos, that would not only kill the neighborhood, but would tax the heck out any infrastructure and traffic controls in place…

        But cul-de-sac dev has it’s benefits…

        1. I have to think that George is correct about building in cul- de- sacs would destroy neighborhoods. And if you put a high density building in a cul-de-sac you would need to replace the entire street to accommodate the cars. If huge structures are built near SFH then the streets will be filled with cars and well if your kids and yourselves your pets walk in the street or bicycle in the street they will have to I guess walk with the cars in the middle of the road and car lanes. Impossible and Dangerous that would be. I do think that a six unit condo could be put in the place of a few homes with parking underneath them. I think if they are put from front lot line to back lot line like on 80th it would just add lets say 6 small families. That would be bearable. But ya go too high and well we are back at square one. It would be better in the front too as well we all play in our backyards. We don’t want those up against our fences and viewers peering in. Ask Shoreline I see the complaints often. People are really bummed out! Privacy is one of the reasons we all bought SFH and the reasons they are still in demand. Be considerate of taxpayers.

      3. We moved specifically to Woodlake Dr with our young children in 1992 specifically for the cul de sac. One way Berlin developed was to put high rise Apts around the block perimeter and left a shared green space in the middle. It had a playground, picnic area for families to enjoy off the street.

  19. Everett will become quite large a major city. They have space, the Airport and are in a good in-between spot between Snohomish and Skagit County. You will see I think more and more in N Snohomish being built and more moving there also. I don’t think Everett has Marsh land etc. or a thriving waterfront just yet. I wish them well. Our topography is steep here and we have 18.42 sq. Mi. of Land and 8.9 of this is land and 9.5 are water. Our pop is at Census??? 42,000. Everett Pop at Census??? is 1110,000 Everett is the County city with all of the amenities a County Seat is supposed to have. So yeah, it will probably even get larger as they can incorporate more going N. We can’t it’s that simple to me. We are right on the King County line and to the N we are packed. SO, we need to stop comparing ourselves to any city anywhere in the world for starts. We will have growth but we do not need to destroy our city. And yes, Nick the fumes suck and well if ya go along with this there will be more. So someone tell me what year. It seems that if we do not change zoning we have opportunity to do much less in height and volume per building?

    1. Nick if I could add, us old timers or long time citizens are just expressing how good it has been, the good of their lives in Edmonds I can’t disagree. They only want the same for future generations. Certainly Edmonds of the future won’t be the same as the past but I think most people want to preserve the good. I tried to Express to the new mayor that what we have is pretty damm good and to not screw it up. I can’t predict the future but making room for 13 thousand more people isn’t likely to help with that vision. My 2 cents.

      1. Jim,
        That’s good advice to the Mayor, and I have heard him repeat it. Yes. Let’s do our best to not screw it up.

  20. Theresa, thank you for responding to my prior comment, but can you provide a citation to the GMA. The only references I could find to “hubs” are to “transit hubs.” I did find a section on evaluation and identification of land suitable for development and redevelopment, but it did not include any reference to building age. Further, the Woodway Texaco building is fairly new. I can recall a fire destroyed the prior building, and I discussed with the then owner his decision to build a new building.

  21. Don’t politicians work for us that foot the bill?

    We, the people, dictate what is to be done, not the politician. How about using initiatives to vote up or down on these policies?

    …just sayin’

  22. A 15-minute neighborhood may be dense, but the more important thing is that it’s fine-grained and truly mixes homes, businesses, and public spaces seamlessly instead of segregating them into zones. This is why we need to let all our neighborhoods thicken up incrementally, instead of building clusters of high-rises to meet the demand for new housing. Thanks Joan. The problem I think is they will build the concrete jungles and leave the rest expected for another time. I mean ya think Developers are going to build all that is needed with stores for things we need daily. Nope. It wouldn’t be profitable and there is not enough land. I see people sometimes trying to traverse this hill to the Bowl and they are probably in decent shape and they are barely making it in nice weather. People forget when it’s nice outside that it isn’t a good deal of the year here. People will drive here. It will be a long long time until they don’t. This isn’t Blade Runner yet. It will be in maybe 100 years if this planet lasts that long?? Make it all concrete and watch it sink.

  23. This may be my last comment for awhile on this subject. First don’t not attend because you think they won’t listen. I believe that is what they want you to think so the meetings like so many others are just to plan with those who like their ideas. That just lets them say citizens don’t care. I cannot attend or I would. Thank you all for attending. Next people who make minimum wage at 40 hours per week probably clear about 33,000. per year. x 2 if double occupancy in a unit. People who make 60,000. a year x 2 is 120,00. a year. Now probably most people will want a car even if they use a walkable neighborhood or take a bus to the Bowl or Seattle etc. They may just want to go to the mountains, or on a road trip all around our state. I doubt they will want to rent a car to do this. SO these buildings should have parking for at least 1 vehicle. I don’t want to live in Palisades Park. And I don’t like ticky tackey housing either most won’t that can afford to buy. So that’s it Later.

    1. I second Deborah’s encouragement to keep sharing your judgment and ideas with the Mayor, City Council, City staff, the Planning Board, and the rest of our boards and commissions.

      About audience comments in meetings: Council and Board rules are that audience comments are not for dialogue, so no one responds, even if you ask a question in your comment. Your comments are heard even if no one responds.

      1. Nick, I have a very low opinion of this process and the self-serving agendas of many involved. Duplicitous paid elected officials and paid staff that in my contention have gone rogue. That being said, I do understand that Planning Board members and other members of boards or commissions, whether or not I agree with them, are well meaning citizen volunteers who donate their time for the betterment of their community.

      2. Nick, thanks for your input. Based on your remarks, how to you recommend that the Edmonds population hold a dialogue to discuss the plan? Reading all comments and the feedback I personally got from past Saturday’s meeting, this whole thing feels like a train wreck. Whether it’s by design or not remains to be seem. However, the numbers simply do not match and the plan has more holes than a Swiss Cheese.

        Therefore, how to you recommend that the population and the city administration can reconcile and get all ducks in a row because it does not look like at all that the population is being heard.

        1. Mario,
          So far, I have heard most folks would prefer height limits of 3 stories; the kind of small town feel that means the people you see in town know your name; sidewalks; buildings that are less than 100′ wide with spaces and trees between them; parking for cars without visible parking lots; underground parking; sewage and storm-water systems that are not overloaded; no traffic jams inside Edmonds; trees protected in a way that avoids putting people and homes at risk; home building allowed even if it means cutting down small saplings; the Unocal property added as an extension of the marsh; more pickleball courts; safe and direct biking options; more off-leash parks; grocery stores close enough to walk to; no burglaries; civic gathering spaces; our streams restored to be in compliance with Federal and State regulations; protection from flooding and landslides; and more good humor, mutual trust, and respect in our public conversations.
          Is there something else on your mind that you are concerned I have not heard? What is it?
          Sharing here what I am missing is a good idea. So is emailing City Council and showing up for meetings to make statements during audience comments.

  24. Guess what. Yesterday we just got a feeler from a CA. real estate investment company wanting to know if we were interested in selling our property which just happens to be one of the few properties in our near downtown neighborhood with quite a bit of open green space left. This is the gift that Strom, Marko and other utlra liberal do – gooder legislators have given their constituents and neighbors in Edmonds. We love what we have here and have no intention of changing it right now, but, due to advancing age we will probably sooner than later have to take the money and run. These state mandates are already changing the look and feel of Edmonds forever and our city leaders are supporting them rather than pushing back at all. The mandates do not account for open space and infrastructure impacts and they will not produce affordable housing. They will make housing developer types very happy though.

  25. Yeah, I know Clinton, I get those myself and I am determined to stay here and protect my neighborhood. It’s not all Liberals and some are actually Conservatives. But I like the PNW. I LOVE Edmonds and I truly care about even those I do not know which is almost everyone haha. I know my home if a builder wanted could make it into 3 or 4 nice little units. I hope that is what happens eventually. In the interim I plan to stay in my home and have a skilled person move in with us rent free $$$$ and lots of space for them too. I am 71 as is my husband. We hope to be ok for another 15 years anyway but ya never know at any age how much time ya have left on the planet. Lots of deep pockets here so maybe to protect their interests they would buy your property someday. I know kids right?? Well, I learned when my dad died that he had many requests of his kids on what to do with what he held dear. I listened but most didn’t. Without iron clad trusts anyone’s kids might smell the money and not even want to live here at all. Me 0 Kids. Thanks Clinton for all you have done and continue to do for Edmonds. Deb.

    1. Deb, We have gotten lots of (paraphrasing here) “my client just loves your house and won’t change a thing so would you sell it to them cheap?” type approaches over the years but this was the first open inquiry from a real estate investment company. You are very kind, but I haven’t really done much of anything for this town except sound off a lot and try to make people think past their political prejudices and biases which we all have. I was once one of the worst offenders on that score. Maybe still am, but trying not to be. I also try to talk up the many fine people who have really knocked themselves out for Edmonds for years and gotten very little appreciation or credit for it and even been abused at times by city government for their efforts. Our mayors have way too much power and our boards, commissions and, most importantly, our Council, have way too little. That’s why we pretty routinely get bad decisions. Good intentions are a poor substitute for good reasoning and knowing when to say NO and how to say NO.

  26. I would like to see the Planning Board with help from our Mayor tell Citizens in each Hub City Center everywhere what is planned exactly NOW. What properties have been secured would help citizens decide what to do to protect their privacy, secure their own parking and prepare their yards and plants for potential shading or beating sun. That would be a start for some major transparency. I can’t believe they don’t already have a pretty good idea where some of their planned large scale building will be added. Thank You. I moved this Theresa as this is the thread Nick Maxwell is using to answer questions. Thank you for the reprint. Deb.

    1. As far as I know, what you saw on Saturday is as far as planning has gotten so far.
      And the comprehensive plan will not provide specifics about specific properties. It is about areas. Zoning rules will be updated later to live up to the high-level direction of the comprehensive plan.

      1. Nick — thank you for taking the time to read and answer all the readers’ comments here. As a resident, I appreciate your efforts. — Teresa

        1. Nick, I echo Teresa’s comment. Great feedback in this forum. Maybe you can help answer another question that no one at the meeting I spoke with could.

          I’m looking for some clarification on the number of housing units the city needs to provide for the additional 13,000 new residents by 2044. In round numbers, I believe 9,000 new units are being forecast and are being planned for by city staff. However, when I use the assumed household size in 2044 (2.11) and the assumed vacancy rate (6%) that are part of the Commerce guidance, I get a number closer to 6,500 new units. (BTW, I would disagree with the assumptions being used, but that’s another topic).

          Using the Commerce Departments numbers, the math should look like this:

          13,000/2.11 = 6,161 new households
          6,161*1.06 = 6,531 new housing units considering the vacancy rate

          What am I missing?

  27. Yeah I know I said I wasn’t going to comment for awhile haha. I really meant it at the time. I find it irresistible like a Bee to a Flower. Now ya know Deborah means THE BEE. About 8 years ago an old friend I hadn’t seen in 40 years showed up at a Rock Band reunion I attended, and he brought me an antique brass button. It has a big bee on it. I love it. And BTW I watched the Beekeeper on Prime the other night. I love Jason Statham. I always have. He was a model first ya know. England. Remember the brand French Connection. I do. He modeled for them. Anyway, I always laugh at what he does in his films we all know it’s impossible but it’s fun for me anyway. I also loved James Cann and Steve McQueen and Mitch Landreu sp LA politician… I seem to have a type. HAHAHA. Yeah I’m old but I’m not dead! My husband has those dimples and bone structure and that million dollar smile. Yep. Now he thinks I am not seeing well cause he still looks that good to me after 50 years. Yep. Ha

  28. There is this song by Jesse Winchester. I loved him and though he passed a few years ago I will always love him and his music. The Song Do It Is so good. They all are really. Do It today when I listened for the millioneth time made me think of us here in Edmonds. One line is, If you’re treadin on thin Ice you might as well dance. Listen to it if ya want.

  29. Jim:
    Susan McLaughlin mentioned a 18,000 population growth figure on Saturday; that would result in a number around 9,000. I didn’t get a chance to ask her about the 18,000 number.

      1. Thanks Jim – I thought I was crazy – but I have come to a very simple set of data conclusions:

        1. Context – the data (13k & 9k units) are based on goals & targeted growth, not forecasted, historic, or possible growth. My mind was working from a different context – that the plan was designed to prepare Edmonds for potential growth, not design Edmonds for targeted growth.

        2. Source – We have no idea the source(s) or variables in the data – I tried, I read and reread, and I cannot find any plausible explanation other than a group of people put together a lot of nice numbers and graphics (not knocking the hard work and wish I would have been more community engaged at the time) but the sources and interpretation are ambiguous.

        3. Willingness to Refute – I believe there are councilpersons who are willing to push back on the numbers and estimates. I have not seen willingness by our State Representatives (I have asked) to push back on the numbers. It seems unreasonable, but they probably have bigger problems to solve with more effective lobbying efforts.

        4. The Big Picture – I do not know what the region or State are targeting or their basis for those targets. Again, is everyone in Sno/King targeting 4x growth?

        What do we do?

    1. Ron, I too caught that 18,000 number in Dir. McLaughlin’s talk at the Saturday event. I asked their Senior Planner about that, and it turned out to be a typo in the slide show. Dir. McLaughlin did not catch the error and repeated the incorrect number to the group. The intended number is 13,000~ still too big and unsupported by evidence, but it’s the number staff is using for now.

        1. Ron, the estimated additional housing units needed, 9,068, is indeed strange. I raised this point in my Public Comments at City Council last night. Even if we accept the inflated 13,113 number of new residents by 2044, no way we need over 9000 housing units to accommodate them.

          With an average of about 2.2 people living in each new home, the number needed is just under 6,000. The City’s Comprehensive Plan numbers are just too strange. I’ll keep asking for an explanation, and for numbers grounded in reality.

        2. Using 13k residents, and our historic average of 2.3 persons per household, I come up with 5,652 units – even with that 13k number. Two things Government and Consultants are good at – creating a narrative and spending your money. I want to see the math and the logic that was run through some Monte Carlo simulation to get to those numbers. Again, if ALL of the Cities around us are calculating using growth percentages 4x their historic rate and are required to build homes and dwellings 4x the need – you are doing nothing but lining the pockets of consultants and contractors. This is regional hypocrisy – what is the GMA for Everett, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Unincorporated Snohomish – I do not know that answer – but if it is, in total, expecting 4x of historic growth – and planning for the same, then the Government and the Consultants are doing exactly what they do well – create a narrative and spend your money. It is purely a great lobbying sell to our reps, but somewhere there’s got to be math behind it. Serve up the crow, but I would love to see the formulas they used and any vetting our State Reps did on the math.

  30. At some point, quite possibly now, it may be worth it to lose State funding to avoid trashing our community. Remember when we recently turned down some kind of State grant for a free “housing” plan? The town of Twisp was forced by the terms of the grant to “accept” the plan, so they did, however they also agreed not to follow ANY of its recommendations. https://methowvalleynews.com/2023/10/05/twisps-housing-action-plan-will-be-treated-as-preliminary-analysis/. What was that about alternative C?

  31. Just so I make sure I post it – I cannot follow the math, the logic, the calculations ,the forecast methodology – I may just be obtuse. On page 11 of the Comp Plan, you can see some of the basis for the calculations – can someone help me interpret the reason for the number of people and number of dwellings required?

    I have yet to hear from our State Representatives, so maybe a Council Person or Staff can help us understand the logic behind planning for 9,000 new dwellings and 13k new residents.

    Here is the report – https://www.edmondswa.gov/UserFiles/Servers/Server_16494932/File/Government/Departments/Development%20Services/Planning%20Division/2024%20Comp%20Plan%20Update/CP_2020_adopted.pdf

    1. George, The numbers cited by our planners are not a “forecast”…the reports that originally came up with the growth numbers call them a “target”. I think the public has been misled by this semantic trick of theirs. Everybody naturally thinks these numbers are some sort of forecast based on trends and calculations etc. They are not, they are picked out of thin air by a committee of bureaucrats.

      1. Heading in the city’s presentation: “2044 – Meeting Growth Targets” Under that heading the following is stated:”City of Edmonds Comprehensive Plan Update
        Per the Growth Management Act:
        • Edmonds is projected to grow by 13,000 people over
        the next twenty years

        A target and a projection are not the same. A target is an objective while a projection is a forecast based upon a current trend.

        Based upon the current population trend, 13,000 is very definitely a target and not a projection.

        1. I was going down the same logic. A TARGET growth rate versus s FORECASTED growth rate are terribly different things.

          A target suggests choice to build capacity for 13,000 more residents and may not have anything to do with a forecast.

          Is it smoke and mirrors to imply that the mandates are actually prescribed targets for additional growth? I still awaiti the math, but yeah, targets are subjective.

  32. Okay – just one more and I am done until we get to hear from Mayor Rosen tomorrow night – here is the data that I am leveraging to calculate historic growth – and an interesting website that I like to take a look at from time to time that does a pretty good job of “visualizing” Edmonds – and a tool for comparison to other cities close to us.

    https://datausa.io/profile/geo/edmonds-wa/

    Year Population Year on Year Change Change in Percent
    2000 39,459 – –
    2001 39,576 117 0.3%
    2002 39,607 31 0.08%
    2003 39,356 -251 -0.63%
    2004 39,310 -46 -0.12%
    2005 39,610 300 0.76%
    2006 39,868 258 0.65%
    2007 40,154 286 0.72%
    2008 40,401 247 0.62%
    2009 40,947 546 1.35%
    2010 39,748 -1,199 -2.93%
    2011 39,884 136 0.34%
    2012 40,306 422 1.06%
    2013 40,518 212 0.53%
    2014 40,710 192 0.47%
    2015 41,147 437 1.07%
    2016 41,716 569 1.38%
    2017 42,235 519 1.24%
    2018 42,670 435 1.03%
    2019 42,609 -61 -0.14%
    2020 42,832 223 0.52%
    2021 42,876 44 0.1%
    2022 42,593 -283 -0.66%

  33. The city is apparently proceeding with the 13,000 population growth number in their planning. They therefore owe us an explanation of the assumptions that went into determining this number.

    1. Yes they do owe an explanation Mr. Wambolt. To this day there is no explanation after repeated questions by residents. Alternative housing plans are being developed based on the 13,000 number. How can that be? How can the
      plans be accurate if no one knows what the number means? Shouldn’t that number be the first thing understood in the process to adequately start the process and build on? The only questions seem to come from residents. Thank goodness for them.
      Yet, the city seems willing to forge ahead and change Edmonds neighborhoods forever based on a number no one seems to understand or discuss with more resident growth in next 20 years unseen in Edmonds in past years. Maybe it’s just me.

      1. I went so far as to build an excel model that calculate high, medium, low square footage requirements per new resident and added another measurement using the average square footage per apartment and home in Edmonds with adjustable variables on the % split of apartments to single family homes.

        My math and model may be off, but I still cannot fathom, even at 13,000 people, how 9k new dwellings are needed.

        This is a rabbit hole that I am going to stop going down, because I do not think we citizens can answer the “what, how, why” questions around thus growth. Perhaps Council, Mayor Rosen, and Rep Peterson can shed some light on the logic used.

        1. George,

          I too have done some similar modeling. And like you, I still can’t reconcile the numbers.

          I’ve asked at the Saturday meeting, reached out to the Planning Board, Dir. McLaughlin, the Mayor and City Council and still haven’t gotten a response. Seems like this whole group are just like sheep. Where’s a good sheepherder when you need one?

  34. I too Thank Nick Maxwell for taking his time to answer questions. I do wonder when ya say Nick the Comp Plan won’t does it mean the comp plan can’t for legal reasons tell us if and where properties have been secured to use for building in a SF neighborhood? I mean if property has been purchased I would think it would be in the public record?? I am just curious. Thank you.

    1. Partly the issue is that, so far, no properties have been secured to use for building.
      When securing happens, it will almost always be done by developers and other private citizens.
      The issue is also that the Comprehensive Plan and zoning and other documents in this business each have their own role to play. The Comprehensive Plan’s role does not include saying specific properties are to be used for any specific purpose. It provides general guidelines for the zoning rules that will limit what can and cannot be done with properties.

  35. I also appreciate Nick trying to bridge what we post here with the planning board. However, it appears that the latter will keep following the marching orders given to them by God-knows-who. I don’t buy those stories about “this is only planning and does not indicate the density will increase as it’s said in the plan” because the developers, who probably have been lining some pockets, will start building those large and tall buildings the moment the plan gets approved.

    Therefore, I suggest that we hear how tonight’s meeting goes and if everything indicates there was no course change, we should start raising the stink at state and national levels. Go to radio, TV stations and other media outlets and expose what is happening and the associated names. Contact other cities and exchange ideas with them. We cannot wait much longer since this thing is about to be approved.

  36. Four things are becoming clear to me—
    1) There is little support among Edmonds residents for Susan McGlaughlin’s proposal. “Close to zero” might be too generous-its more like “Zero other than Developers”.
    2) The reason for this is clear–the residents don’t want this city to become Kirkland or Ballard but that’s what the Development Director seems focused on. Why exactly is there such a strong focus such a major change?
    3) I read detailed summaries of SHB 1110 (“missing middle housing’) and EHB 1337 (ADUs and DADUs) and it becomes clear that the Growth Management objectives can easily be met by following these two laws which have been shoved down our throats by the state and have to be followed no matter what else we do.
    4) The city of Edmonds should be committed to “minimum compliance”— implement what’s required but no more.

    This reminds me of the $27 million dollar “connector” project of a number of years ago where I calculated that the probability of a train blocking a life saving ambulance that was responding to a critical emergency call was about once every 111 years and that was including a lot of medical emergencies that were not life threatening.

    Its time to organize a response to the current comprehensive plan proposal like we did to kill the connector.

    1. Doug, did you also read HB 1220. That’s the legislation that is harder for Edmonds to comply with without changing the look of quite a few neighborhoods. The planning board meeting packet for 2-14-24 has 2 documents from Perkins Eastman that lay out the number of new housing units by type of apartment (low rise, mid rise, etc.) we can’t just allow 10,000 DADU/ADU’s and be done with it.

      1. What is the penalty for not getting xxx number of units in 20 years? In 5 years? What if market forces and costs make in economically unviable for developers and Edmonds misses the mark – I guess before I get too much more worked up about it – are we just frankly drawing lines in the sand that are controlled by market forces?

        1. George, my understanding is Edmonds’ only obligation is to provide development capacity in our zoning code for xxx units over 20 years, not that the City has a responsibility to get them built. We still rely on the private marketplace to deliver the housing. The state can’t penalize the city for developers’ failure to build a required amount of housing.

        2. Yes. Drawing lines that are controlled by market forces. We currently have unfilled capacity that we added to our zoning in previous years. There is no penalty for that capacity remaining unfilled. The requirement is for adding the opportunity for development in the zoning code — in a way that realistically could be filled.

          That said, if interest rates go down dramatically, there would be a lot more development, and it could happen that every housing unit that is allowed by the zoning gets built. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that every housing unit gets rented or bought.

        3. Well no sense in getting worked up then. I haven’t experienced a government agency that has remained consistent in my lifetime.

          I imagine the market, as always, is going to dictate the number of dwellings and people, not some plan mandating how we make it possible for more better equitable growth.

          Going back to my corner. If anyone wants a ton of data sets and a correlation model, let me know. It was a fun exercise in Data modeling if nothing else.

  37. Yesterday’s (March 27th) planning board meeting was disappointing, to say the least.

    1) The planning board is still moving forward with the fake numbers pulled out from somewhere and that none of them (wants to?) challenge despite the glaring inconsistencies pointed out by many.

    2) The board seems divided between a group that wants to push the high-buildings/nigh-density agenda and another that has a more realistic vision and wants to address the populations’ concerns. The group pushing for the agenda appears to have more power (also backed by the mayor?).

    3) My take on all this blunder and big wariness about the high-buildings group is that they are claiming an “it’s just for study” reason to push their high-buildings’ study option that the other group wanted to stop. However, based on how this administration is rolling and wagging its tail about the whole thing, it’s not difficult to imagine the same group coming up with a follow-up like “the planning does not mean high-buildings will be built. It will depend on private parties doing it” and “the bonus height is only implemented upon the developer adding special features”.

    The whole thing feels like a big deceitful plan to pass the high-buildings/high-density agenda that will leave Edmonds ravaged, like other places already pointed out. It will not take much to push it to all Edmonds later.

    1. Mario,
      There is a vacancy on the Planning Board. Feel free to apply and lend your expertise to the process.

      1. Hi Theresa, thanks for the invite! However, before I think about applying, would the planning board welcome someone who is very concerned about Edmonds’ future quality and would question (while making it public) information that would contradict that? You see, as a planning board member I would consider myself as an Edmonds’ taxpayers’ employee.

        I have been living in Edmonds for more than 20 years, when I bought my house, I left it untouched outside and only remodeled its interior (in order to keep the look and feel that made me and my wife fall in love with this town and have our son here). I participated in several efforts to block building heights increase, the connector, etc. exactly because of that.

        Now I see a “plan” that looks more like an agenda to break the building heights and allow high buildings and population density in Edmonds (not going to all it also entails), initially limited to some areas, but we know how this expands and how the current administration apparently accepts such things without any resistance (some apparently very willing to implement it). And I have to suspend my disbelief to buy that “private initiative” speech.

        1. Mario,
          You are welcome to apply to join the Planning Board.

          Planning Board members are servants of Edmonds citizens, not employees. There is no pay for serving on the board.

  38. So yeah, I kept digging. A couple of interesting links that are moving me to believe that this is a regional growth goal imposed on Edmonds by County/State forces. Those are probably where the best answers will come from. I have downloaded the data tables from the 2023 report and if you look at it City wise, the growth rates were 0.91% for Edmonds but 1.48% for Snohomish – 60 or so % higher than Edmonds. We added 390 new people net, which would mean that we would need (based on roughly 2.3 per household) about 166 new dwellings. Snohomish added 12,500 new people – that means Sno County needs an additional (based on 2.66 people per household per census data) needed 4,699 new dwellings.

    Here are the links:
    https://www.ofm.wa.gov/sites/default/files/public/dataresearch/pop/april1/ofm_april1_poptrends.pdf#:~:text=The%20April%201%2C%202022%2C%20population%20estimate%20is%207%2C864%2C400.,is%201.3%25%2C%20almost%200.5%25%20more%20than%20last%20year.

    https://ofm.wa.gov/washington-data-research/population-demographics/population-estimates/april-1-official-population-estimates

    I suppose the logic is – Edmonds must change their approach to how they view community because it is wrong and does not maximize the land purpose and use that Washington State and Sno County have dictated. I am still awaiting a response from our State Reps, but am not holding my breath that this number is going to change anytime soon. Forced highest and best use definitions.

    If you want the data and my model, just shoot me a message on LinkedIn.

    Edmonds will change, and it will be Ballard, Kirkland, Shoreline. Sorry.

    1. I agree that under the GMA requirements handed down to the City of Edmonds, our City will change in line with our State’s new vision for land use. Personally, I don’t like the vision, but when the delegation from Edmonds tried to fight it in Olympia last year we were severely criticized. So, that’s the reality.

      HOWEVER, as I stated at the last Council meeting, the most important thing for us to do now is to plan and design with standards that fit our city. We don’t need to end up like Ballard or Kirkland. We can learn from what happened there and do things different.

      1. I can take criticism – but I do not understand the logic and no one seems to be able to share it. I could be, and probably am, completely and horribly wrong and looking at this from the wrong angle. I mean there are strong correlations between world imports of liquid natural gas and Washington’s growth rates, the 12 year history of physical activity of Native Americans in Louisiana to Washington growth rates, and the 12 year history of percentage of White obese people in Tennessee – but they have nothing to do with our 13,000. (There really are..) So what and how and where did that number come from. Again, I will eat a plate of crow and take the humiliation – but asking a question of our State/County officials for an answer instead of “this is the number” or having our local Councilmembers criticized or lambasted is not a reason. It’s a tactic.

        I just cannot see how, without building up and cutting single family home lots in half, how the need is met. It will be 6-8 story mid-rise apartments condos two blocks off main, and condo/apartment farms at the hubs. As people sell their current homes, two or three will be put on them. (If not multi-family developments).

        The old adage, 10 pounds of crap in a 5 pound sack.

      2. Neil:
        The following suggests that the relevant city staff doesn’t quite know what they’re doing. To my knowledge no explanation has ever been provided.
        “Heading in the city’s presentation: “2044 – Meeting Growth Targets” Under that heading the following is stated:”City of Edmonds Comprehensive Plan Update
        Per the Growth Management Act:
        • Edmonds is projected to grow by 13,000 people over
        the next twenty years”
        A target and a projection are not the same. A target is an objective while a projection is a forecast based upon a current trend.
        Based upon the current population trend, 13,000 is very definitely a target and not a projection.

  39. Strom did respond but I still am perplexed by the 13k number. The response did address the laws passed and inequality and racism that caused single family home zoning etc. At the end of the day, both Strom and Neil gave the answers – but it does not address the elephant in the room, or at least my biggest unanswered question. Can someone please just show us the math for the 13k. I liken it to the Carbon Tax on gas. We knew it was going to have an impact, we knew we (the citizens) would have to pay it, and we got the answer that it would not have any effect on gas prices. We know how that worked out – 1.5 Billion in additional taxes on Washington citizens. (FYI, the last count was $76M of the $1.5 Billion they have collected as an additional sales tax passed along to the consumer). I think we know that with any government program, that there is going to be a cost. For Edmonds, that cost is density and development.

    Strom & Neil, thanks for the responses – you two have always been very responsive and genuine in your answers, and I appreciate it.

    1. George the carbon tax on gas is a good comparison. Unanticipated consequences which were large tax increases on Washington citizens. No wonder there’s a ballot initiative this fall for repeal. I suspect that once it is understood the unfunded cost mandates of these recent zoning bills such as infrastructure and environmental concerns are apparent there will be to either amend or repeal. Locally the 13,000 from whomever decree is not sustainable.

      1. Yes! Lets walk slow on this one, and give everyone the time to fix their mistakes. Today’s laws will not be tomorrow’s. Unlike the carbon tax or a structurally deficient budget, land use mistakes are impossible or very difficult to fix.

    2. Re: the math for the 13,000 population change that was published in about Dec 2022 and updated in 2023. Did you ready the HO-5 report from Snohomish County planning? did you read the regional planning doc’s here: https://www.psrc.org/planning-2050 ?
      This planning process has been going on for a while. Edmonds has been allocated a portion of County growth estimate for a while now. What’s new this year, is that the size of the growth has flipped in just one Comp Plan update cycle (5 yrs) from ‘anemic’ to ‘astronomical’.

      1. Theresa, I guess that’s what most here are questioning. The “‘anemic’ to ‘astronomical'” numbers. Are you aware of the city administration ever questioning it and asking for decent explanations and not a “just do it” order?

        The city seems very resolute when it wants (e.g. using eminent domain to take a strip of beach to build a “continuous beach walk”, going after someone’s trees, etc.). Why apparently no reaction to a subject that is a lot more sensitive?

  40. Yes. I downloaded the data sets, read the article, and understand the process has been going on since 1990 when the GMA started. It still makes little logical sense when you do the math.

    With that being said it doesn’t really matter. In 10 years we will pay another group of consultants more money to update the plan to reflect whatever it needs to reflect to satisfy the political desires of the day. It is a line in the sand. The market will set the tone, and until the powers that be tell Edmonds residents and property owners that we MUST sell or rent our homes for half of what they are worth, I don’t see much changing. The market drives growth, the government tries to steer it, but that generally doesn’t work out all that well.

    1. George, you mean the same “powers” that already dictate how someone can rent his/her own property and in the last legislature session almost passed a new law dictating for how much (literally throwing market forces out of the window)? Not that those same powers already try to circumvent market forces at their own convenience, isn’t it?

      The same “powers” that twist, use or throw out of the window things like “environment”, “climate change”, “racism”, etc. (long list) depending on the agenda of the day?

      I just wonder how much would take for those same powers to subsidize developers to build “high-density, equitable, diverse, vibrant, etc.” housing and other stuff. Not that they haven’t done it before, isn’t it?

  41. It is unfortunate that many very smart residents, who are trying to help the City figure out how to best ‘comply’ with the new housing bills, are giving -up due to the process that the City is undertaking.

    The first step, which is a REQUIREMENT for SEPA, was for the COUNCIL to decide on a clearly defined “Problem Statement” – – i.e., what are you trying to do and why (and if applicable, what are the ‘targets’) AND THEN the City works with the public to develop Alternatives that can be analyzed for their merits and impacts.

    The current process has inappropriately jumped to essentially one Alternative without even considering if there are other needs/requirements for updating the Comp Plan such as the defunct Edmonds Crossing Plan which is ‘littered’ throughout the Comp Plan and the ‘fix’ to that problem may/will affect how the increased housing issue is dealt with. The Comp Plan also needs to be revised to deal with the over-development problem in the Perrinville watershed – – which is counter to the increased housing initiatives.

    I’d suggest citizens demand that the City Council, the decision-maker, take immediate steps to halt this process and define exactly what the Council wants to have considered so the public can provide constructive input on a range of Alternatives for the Comp Plan update.

  42. As a ‘starting’ point to get past the mess that has been created, I’d propose the following as one of the purposes of the Comp Plan update so that concerned residents can provide constructive input to the City Council.

    “Updating the Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map and Land Use Designations to eliminate perceived obstacles to accommodating projected future housing needs in accordance with HB1110, HB1337, and HB1220.”

    Note that I’m using the words “perceived obstacles” because we all know that just “allowing” higher density housing likely will not make housing “more affordable” in Edmonds – – so rather than continue to argue the point, we just agree that it is a “perception” by certain State legislators, NOT a fact.

    I’m also trying with this proposed language to be clear as to what the City actually can do – the City can only change the land use map (i.e., where certain zoning applies) AND the definitions of current or new land use designations (i.e., what development is allowed in a zone and what restrictions could apply). The City cannot tell developers where, when or what to build or what they might charge for it (or how much profit they make) via the Comp Plan – the City can only “accommodate” the types of development through use of the Land Use Map in the Comp Plan.

    1. If the planners wanted to accommodate current residents of Edmonds they would throw this whole mess out and start over. It is a Rube Goldberg designed plan that starts with mandated “reimagining” completed in a frenzied rush and ends with thousands of current homeowners selling out and moving away.

      Doing the math from the numbers in this memo says there are 6,277 “cost burdened” households in Edmonds right now. That is 2,366 renter households and 3,910 owner occupied. That is one third of all the households in Edmonds. Naturally the planners did not delve any deeper than simply reporting that fact.

      I doubt that many of the cost burdened residents will still be living here 10-20 years from now to stroll around in the 15 minute neighborhoods. There is no way this cost burdening will go away once all the tax increases kick in to expand roads, sewers, etc for the new buildings.

      If there is any accommodation for the current residents in the 6,277 cost burdened households I have yet to find it in this pile of mandated “planning. ”

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