Mukilteo turns to community engagement for a waterfront vision

MUKILTEO, Wash., May 20, 2022 – The Port of Everett turned to a series of community engagement strategies by asking residents of Mukilteo their vision for the waterfront redevelopment project. One of these outreach activities is a community survey available until May 26asking the people of Mukilteo what they want and don’t want to see from the project over the next decade or so.

Postcards were sent to thousands of Mukilteo residents with a QR code allowing easy access to the survey, also accessible online. As of May 18, the port had received 509 responses.

Photo credit: Kienan Briscoe | Lynnwood Times.

“My vision is to implement the community’s vision,” Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber told the Lynnwood Times, “I want to see the waterfront accessible and enjoyable, what it looks like, it’s what this process will determine.”

Most recently, the port, architectural firm NBBJ and the town of Mukilteo held an open house on May 5 at the Rosehill Community Center, to provide an opportunity for feedback and discussion with a wider community. Residents were invited to participate in the decision-making process and to post their ideas or concerns, via sticky notes, on bulletin boards.

“Overall, we are very pleased to see this level of engagement and public input so far,” Catherine Soper, director of communications and marketing, said in a statement to the Lynnwood Times. “We had around 250 people at the open day and the polls keep rolling in every day. The vast majority of interactions during the open house were positive. Attendees were very grateful for the awareness on this topic and overall pleased to see the progress being made for the waterfront. »

Mukilteo Councilman Jason Moon shared his admiration for the waterfront with The Times.

“My sons and I love going to the waterfront and buying ice cream, so I’d like to amp that up,” Councilman Jason Moon told the Lynnwood Times. “Amplify a place where families come to enjoy a natural environment as well as amenities like food and coffee. The key is to provide a place that people can enjoy and that is not overbuilt.

About Waterfront Redevelopment

The Mukilteo waterfront is unique in that it has 11 landowners, on 26 acres, 70% of which is still undeveloped. In addition to private owners, the main stakeholders are the Port of Everett, the City of Mukilteo and the State of Washington.

mukilteo waterfront
Photo credit: Mario Lotmore| Lynnwood Times.

A complicated history with government use and property transfers held back development for nearly two decades until 2013, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) canceled plans to build a new 40-meter facility. million on the waterfront, leaving the property to the Port of Everett.

On January 4, 2016, City Council adopted the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan. The plan outlines a revitalized downtown waterfront that includes local businesses, a looping pedestrian boardwalk, bike paths and recreational waterfront uses. The goal is for residents and visitors to experience a natural shoreline while celebrating the past, present and future of the Mukilteo waterfront. It incorporates changes to the location of ferry loading and loading bays, while improving pedestrian mobility.

mukilteo waterfront
Photo credit: Mario Lotmore| Lynnwood Times.

The Port of Everett hired NBBJ, a Seattle-based architecture, planning, and design firm, to help with this process and vision planning through 2022, and formed a stakeholder working group which represents the various interests and attractions of the waterfront; this group was intentionally a small group representing the general interests of the waterfront.

This stakeholder group has already had three working group sessions to discuss the current opportunities and constraints of the waterfront, its vision for its future and the important principles on which future planning and discussions should focus and have interviewed members of Mukilteo City Council to gather feedback, develop a draft vision statement and draft set of guiding principles.

mukilteo waterfront
Photo credit: Kienan Briscoe | Lynnwood Times.

“When you get 21,000 residents trying to craft a vision and guiding principles in one room, you’re not going anywhere,” said Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber. “What we’ve learned is that if you bring together a group of diverse stakeholders who are basically the ones who are responsible for taking all of that feedback into consideration and making sure that what comes out the other end matches and reflects the feedback we receive, it’s more effective and everyone has a chance to have their say.

The Waterfront’s draft vision statement states: The Mukilteo waterfront is brimming with adventure, culture, and economic opportunity for the community and region. It is an equitable and convenient gathering place, which provides a sustainable mix of uses for year-round enjoyment and promotes access to the beach and the wonders of the Salish Sea.

During these conversations, it was determined that the waterfront should be “authentically Mukilteo”, have “thoughtful parking”, pedestrian-friendly, eco-friendly and sustainability-conscious, celebrate culture, focus on education, a transportation hub, have boating and shore access, and be a year-round destination.

The next steps are to present the vision statement and guiding principles to Mukilteo City Council and the Harbor Commission in June, once the survey results are in, and to begin a planning schedule this fall.

Mukilteo Waterfront: parking controversies

Mukilteo’s waterfront car park remains a fenced vacant lot after the city rejected plans to use it as a dining hall and open-air car park last year.

mukilteo waterfront
Photo credit: Mario Lotmore| Lynnwood Times.

For months the parking lot was used as a retail and waterfront parking lot at near capacity, but after the owners were told by Community Development Manager David Osaki that an order from the city ​​prohibits parking at this site, they fenced it on September 2, 2021, with a sign that said “NO PARKING. Mukilteo City code does not allow commercial parking. Call Mukilteo City or Members of the city council for more details.

Mukilteo Landing LLC co-owners Bill Tacket and Patrick McCord, who own part of the parking lot, were approached by the Town of Mukilteo just over a decade ago and asked if they would be willing to sell their property so that the City can expand the waiting lanes for the ferries. They made a deal to tear down the Buzz Inn steakhouse to expand the tracks, and were told the city would swap ownership after the new ferry terminal was built. The owners did not know if or when they would receive the property until a year ago.

“It’s a shame when there’s such a need for shoppers and people wanting to take advantage of the waterfront, and the car park at Lighthouse Park and the Diamond Knot Brewery is always full. It’s a pity that the city does not consider a property from the angle of its use even if it is temporary. Logic and common sense must prevail,” McCord told the Lynnwood Times.

Following the relocation of the Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry Terminal in December 2020, Washington State Ferries’ lease expired on August 31, 2021. Tacket and McCord, planning to reclaim the property, approached the city asking to use it for a additional parking at the water’s edge. The City originally informed them of a current city ordinance that prevents the use of commercial parking, expiring in December 2023, and if they wanted to use the space as temporary parking while waiting for the expiration of the prescription, they could.

mukilteo waterfront
Photo credit: Mario Lotmore| Lynnwood Times.

The zoning code defines commercial parking as follows: “Commercial parking lots means land designed for the parking of more than two vehicles, which is within or adjacent to a commercial or industrial district and for which there is an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly charge for parking a private vehicle.

The owners opened up the space for parking, but were later told by the City that since there was no related commercial enterprise, it could not be permitted for temporary commercial parking under zoning. current.

“The problem is that the queuing lanes at the old ferry terminal do not meet these requirements to enable its conversion into a temporary commercial car park. Among other things, the main use (the ferry terminal) was not on the same ‘plot’ as the ferry terminal’s retaining tracks,” Osaki told the Lynnwood Times.

After feeling discouraged by the city’s shutting down of any ideas they had for their property, McCord and Tacket have no idea what their next steps are.

“We are basically at a loss. I don’t see the harm in letting the public use this. Obviously it will be difficult to park in the coming years there,” Tacket told the Lynnwood Times.

On August 5, 2021, Ivar’s began outdoor dining services in the parklet. The Mukilteo Fire Marshal on August 6, 2021 told Ivar in person at the restaurant that they would need flood, shoreline and land use permits, and added that the exit gate was too two inches short, which Ivar’s management simply picked up and moved to comply with the requirement.

When Tacket and McCord of Mukilteo Landing LLC heard about Ivar’s attempt to open outdoor seating, they offered their portion of the property to the restaurant for the additional 13 parking spaces required by the city.

He later determined that the parklet’s $3,000 improvement costs were less than the $7,000 minimum that exempted Ivar’s from the public hearing requirement the city was trying to impose on the restaurant before he cannot use the space.

The port has worked closely with the city and Ivar to redevelop the park, revitalize the old ferry to provide visitors with an outdoor dining area, and improve public access to the waterfront. Lisa Lefeber informed the Lynnwood Times that should be open Memorial Day weekend.

As part of the transfer to the port, NOAA will demolish all structures that should provide an opportunity for interim access to the waterfront. Demolition is scheduled for this spring.

Comments are closed.