Mountlake Terrace City Council at its April 14 business/study session reviewed recent development activities and discussed the next update to the 2024 Comprehensive Plan.
Director of Community and Economic Development, Christy Osborn, provided an update on major business plans from the past year. She noted that there were 28 such land use projects in various stages of development in 2021, which was similar to the previous two years.
“We’ve been pretty consistent in the number of projects like this we’ve seen over the last few years,” Osborn said. “I would say we’ve seen an increase in building permits that we process and other types of permits like that,” she added. “So we see that authorization is alive and well.”
The types of development activities for the projects highlighted included boundary line adjustments, conditional use permits, mixed use developments, planned unit developments, site development plans, courts, formal housing estates and townhouses. The phases of these projects ranged from land use and civil review to construction and completion.
The downtown Atlas 236 mixed-use development was completed and the planned Creekside Meadows unit development of 54 single-family homes was substantially completed last year.
Building 2 of the Terrace Station mixed-use development is nearing completion and leasing is expected to begin next month. Terrace station is located adjacent to the Lynnwood Link light rail alignment located just south of the current Mountlake Terrace transit hub. Construction of Building 3 began this month.
Additionally, two townhouse development projects are nearing completion and several more are either under construction or in various stages of review.
Osborn said the city recently received a development application for the site where 59th Place West was vacated last year and nine lots have been consolidated into a cul-de-sac on the north side of adjacent 236th Street Southwest. at the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center parking lot. She added, “We are beginning a review, at this time, of just over 250 units with commercial development on the ground floor, trail accessibility on the west side of this particular property.”
City of Mountlake Terrace projects included the Civic Campus redevelopment which is nearing completion, Ballinger Park waterfront renovations including the pier and fishing pier, with the final improvements due to be completed this spring , as well as the planned installation of a new ADA-accessible connector trail and playground. in the park which is currently undergoing a shoreline review.
A map of ongoing and recently completed development projects in Mountlake Terrace can be viewed here.
Council also discussed the upcoming process for the major review and update required in 2024 of the Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Mountlake Terrace. The 20-year plan helps guide the long-term goals, decision-making and policies needed to meet projected population and employment growth throughout the city while maintaining the local quality of life.
It includes chapters dealing with various elements such as community habitability, environment, economic vitality, housing, land use, transportation, capital assets, utilities and recreation, parks and open spaces. open.
Osborn said “housing is going to be a big issue” to be addressed in the full plan update, along with increasing population and employment in the city. The city is to plan growth projections of nearly 35,000 people living in Mountlake Terrace by 2044, an increase of more than 13,000 from its current population. And employment figures predict it will also need to accommodate more than 2,700 jobs, although Osborn noted that town center planning has already accounted for almost 1,100 of those provided.
She told the board: “We have done some of the work, but there is still work to be done in terms of what it looks like, what areas we are going to focus growth and development on and what are some of those evolving priorities. before.”
During the full planning review and update process, Osborn said the city will also need to review all of its neighborhoods and sub-areas. The Mountlake Terrace Planning Commission has already started discussions about updating some of the sub-area plans and whether these designated areas and boundaries still apply and make sense or whether they should be reconsidered.
“Even though we’re going to be looking at all areas of the city, are there a few areas that maybe need a little more attention than others because they might lend themselves to areas where we can really put the future in growth in terms of residential,” she added, “or employment.”
Planning commissioners have identified housing, transit connectivity and jobs as the three main elements that will drive changes to neighborhoods and sub-areas. He also worked to ensure that parks were a priority in all areas of the city.
A recent exercise organized by the planning commission determined that the Melody Hill and Cascade View neighborhoods should be prioritized for planning certain sub-areas as part of the overall master plan update. Reasons included their proximity to major traffic corridors and the transit center of Lynnwood, business and employment opportunities in these areas, and the potential for development of various types of residences, including affordable housing.
“An argument could be made for each of these particular (neighbourhood) areas,” Osborn said. “And I think an argument can also be made that maybe some of those boundaries don’t really fit or need to be divided up in a different way or into additional quarters from where they are now. .”
Going forward, the commission will also seek community input as part of its ongoing subzone discussions to determine what residents think of the current boundaries and to help inform its planning process.
As part of the Global Plan update for 2024, “we need to get good baseline information,” Osborn noted. “So it’s not just about ticking the boxes of what’s required under the Growth Management Act, but it’s really about trying to set the vision for the board and the community for the next 20 years.”
“I think it’s important to remember that there isn’t a single neighborhood in the city that isn’t important,” she added. “The whole city is going to be important frankly – we’re four square miles away and we’re going to have to take a look at the whole thing.”
Efforts to update the comprehensive plan will continue through 2022 and the next two years with a view to adopting the plan by summer 2024.
Board members acknowledged that updating the overall plan will take a lot of work over the next two years and several said they were excited about the process of identifying long-term goals and policies to help accommodate future population and employment growth in Mountlake Terrace.
In other matters, the council went through some basic “maintenance” changes needed to update the city’s public records and social media policies.
He also continued discussions on remote access and participation in city council meetings. Council members had previously expressed interest in continuing to provide the public with remote access to its meetings after returning to in-person gatherings. They agreed Thursday night that should also include a way for people to provide public feedback via remote participation.
The board also discussed changing the number of meetings that board members themselves can attend remotely. The current policy allows them to attend one board meeting by telephone per calendar year.
Board members were generally supportive of increasing this number due to the streaming technologies that can be used for participation, but some felt there should always be a cap on the number of times this can be done while others preferred less prescriptive measures. Another question raised was whether this should include a requirement to provide notice. These discussions are expected to continue later this month.
The municipal council will hold its next regular business meeting on Monday, April 18 at 7 p.m. It will include a discussion of the July 3 fireworks display. See the agenda and information to watch/participate online here.
— By Nathan Blackwell