Council continues discussions on the streets until Thursday; OKs Hwy 99 Gateway Sign Design

The last Edmonds city council meeting in 2021 turned into two meetings, with council deciding to continue their meeting from Tuesday to Thursday – when it is due to vote on whether to extend downtown streets beyond December 31.

The action may have been inevitable, as the meeting – which already had a heavy agenda – started half an hour later than normal due to three committee meetings held previously.

Council approved two important elements on Tuesday night: the final design of the Highway 99 walkway panels and the passage of the 2022-2027 capital plan and the city’s capital improvement program. Both measures were subject to amendments that informed the presence of new board member Will Chen, who took office on November 23.

The Highway 99 Walkway Panel Project includes panels to be installed at the north (212th Street) and south (205th / 244th Street) ends of Highway 99 through Edmonds as part of the Highway 99 redevelopment project from the city.

The following are the approved options for Highway 99 Gateway signs.

From the options presented for public review, municipal staff and consultants chose Option C as their preferred design. The south sign is horizontal and should be placed next to the Campbell-Nelson car dealership, while the north sign is a vertical shape that will be installed in the median of the freeway in front of the Magic Toyota dealership.

Questions were raised as to whether the north panel could also be designed horizontally as it was easier to read. However, staff explained that the only place to place the horizontal sign would be on Magic Toyota property and that it would visually conflict with a nearby auto dealership sign.

Here is an enlarged view of the panel locations.

Chen noted, however, that the recommended proposal also included the city’s purchase of private property (see the area to the right in the location of the north panel in the photo above) for a landscaping element. at an estimated cost of between $ 35,000 and $ 65,000. Additionally, there would be a cost of $ 30,000 to $ 40,000 for planting and irrigation, plus ongoing maintenance costs. He proposed an amendment, unanimously approved by the council, to remove the landscaped section of the plan, keeping only the central median, for the vertical placement of signs.

The second item that reflected Chen’s presence on the board was the board’s decision to cut $ 17.3 million from the stormwater budget of the Capital Plan and Capital Improvement Program (CFP / CIP) for 2022, which had been designated for the restoration of Edmonds Marsh. The Swamp Defenders, led by board member Diane Buckshnis, have worked to take the swamp’s money out of the utility department’s stormwater budget and keep it living in the parks, recreation and utilities budget. cultural – but this idea never gained traction with previous majorities in the council. . To advocate their case, supporters said the marsh should be treated as a park project, not a stormwater project, and also said that including the marsh project in the water budget rainwater would lead to an increase in utility tariffs.

Board chair Susan Paine first came up with a compromise proposal that would have shifted 75% of swamp restoration funding – or nearly $ 13 million – from stormwater to parks. The idea fell through on a 3-4 vote, with Chen joining Buckshnis, Kristiana Johnson and Vivian Olson in opposing it. After Paine’s proposal was rejected, Buckshnis proposed that the total marsh allocation of $ 17.3 million be removed from the CFP / CIP budget for 2022, which was approved by 6 votes to 1 (the member of the council Adrienne Fraley-Monillas opposed it).

Chen noted that he hoped the council would discuss in 2022 how the parks department funds could be used in 2023 and beyond for swamp restoration, an idea Buckshnis agreed with. “There are too many balls in the air to do any kind of planning,” Buckshnis said of supporting the complete removal of CFP / CIP swamp funds next year. In particular, it pointed to the uncertain fate of the Unocal property located on the edge of the marsh, which is currently the subject of environmental clean-up. “You can’t do anything until we determine the terrain,” she said.

Ownership of Unocal will transfer to the Washington Department of Transportation once the state Department of Ecology certifies that the cleanup is complete. And after the state transportation department takes over the property, the town of Edmonds has the first right of refusal to buy it.

Also during the CFP / CIP discussion, board member Kristiana Johnson attempted to add $ 150,000 in design funds for the 4th Avenue Cultural Corridor, which was a project cited for future completion when ‘Edmonds has been named the state’s first creative district. Johnson’s idea was opposed by most of the other board members, who said when it comes to new projects it’s time to focus on other areas of Edmonds, especially the highway 99.

“I can’t bear to put money into another Bowl project,” said Laura Johnson, board member.

Chen, who also voted against the idea, adding that he would rather see a multicultural performing arts center on Highway 99. The final vote was 2-5, with Kristiana Johnson and Buckshnis supporting the measure.

Adrienne Fraley-Monillas

In other matters, council brought forward a resolution thanking council member Fraley-Monillas for her 11 years of service on city council. She was defeated in the November general election by former council member Neil Tibbott, who takes office in January.

Fraley-Monillas served as Chair of Council for three years and Acting Chair of Council for two years, and “has presided over the affairs of City Council with a sense of humor, unwavering dedication, using her knowledge, experience and skill. expertise to manage the day. the current administration of city council and to communicate with and embrace the concerns of the citizens of Edmonds, city staff, community leaders and other elected officials, ”the resolution reads.

Among his achievements:

  • Limiting the height of buildings in Edmonds
  • Protect Edmonds Marsh by improving buffer zones and limiting redevelopment
  • Reducing the impacts of oil and coal trains throughout the Puget Sound region
  • Sponsorship of the Edmonds Safe City code and work on the safe storage of firearms
  • Advocacy and lobbying for the redevelopment of Highway 99
  • Advocacy for a human and social services program serving the most vulnerable in Edmonds
  • Homelessness and opioid task forces launched, and the Edmonds Diversity Commission formed

During her tenure on the board, Fraley-Monillas served on the Snohomish Health District Board of Directors, as President, Vice President and Chair of the Budget. She has also served as a council representative on several boards and commissions, including the Affordable Housing Alliance, the Snohomish County Future Leadership Team, the Snohomish County Law and Justice Commission and the Lake Ballinger Regional Workplace.

The advice also:

– Approve the budget modification of December 2021.

– Approval of an agreement with Zachor, Stock & Krepps (formerly Zachor and Thomas) for the continuation of legal services.

– Delayed until January 2022 the vote on a council resolution supporting Bill 1156. The measure would give jurisdictions the possibility of using the preferential vote in local elections. Learn more about it here.

During public comments on Tuesday night, council heard opinions – as in the past – both for and against extending the permit to the streets. There was also a comment from a resident living at 6th and Bell, Lynda Fireman, who expressed concerns about a proposal to build a new 24 unit apartment building at 605 and 611 Main Street. . The building would have 24 parking spaces underneath, with access from a 15-foot lane that connects the firefighter’s building and the new apartment complex. Two existing structures on Main Street would be demolished to make way for the new apartment building. An Architectural Design Board hearing on the proposal is set for Jan. 5 at 7 p.m.

Prior to the board business meeting, board members met in committees. Of particular interest was the finance committee meeting, in which committee chairman Buckshnis said she and colleague Kristiana Johnson intended to have a full review of the 2022 budget during the news. year with the new board. This includes proposals to remove several sets of decisions approved as part of the 2021 budget. (See the list at this link.)

Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson had proposed many amendments to the 2021 budget. However, very few of them were considered as none of the board members were able to attend the special board meeting on November 17 when those amendments were in the works. ‘agenda.

In addition to the streets, Thursday’s continuing meeting – starting at 7 p.m. – will include approval of the city’s 2022 legislative program for the next session of the Washington State Legislature.

– By Teresa Wippel

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