Questions for Mayor and Councilmembers
Last updated 4/25/2013 at Noon
Dear Mayor and Councilmembers:
I have serious questions about the process used by the Council during the deliberations regarding the Harbor Square Master Plan.
The questions are:
1. Could you please explain how the choice to not accept the Port's Plan but begin drafting a "Council" sub area plan was consistent with the State Growth Management Act specifically, RCW 43.21C.420 which requires the city to prepare a non project environmental impact statement along with two pages of other significant and costly requirements like broad dissemination of the proposal?
2. Could you also explain how the Council could have adopted a sub area plan that potentially was inconsistent with the existing Comprehensive plan? For instance, No residential? No additional height allowed? 150 foot buffers that severely affect any potential for development?
3. Where will the money come from to restore, preserve and enhance the Marsh?
I sent those questions to you on April 9 and you received them on April 10. I have received one response from Councilmember Buckshnis, which did not answer these questions.
Her belief that, "As we were working the process and if you listen to our Attorney, we can adopt whatever we want as that is what the legislative body is elected to do," is based on what state or city legislation?
That is why I am asking these questions.
Yes, Councils have the authority to pass legislation, but not if it inconsistent with existing state law or their own comprehensive plan.
I am sending these questions again and would appreciate a formal response.
Edmonds Councilmember Buckshnis replies to Ms. Fimia’s questions:
1. As a Council, we decided that we wanted to move the process forward and take an "over the top plan with 55 foot residential buildings" and "dialed it back" and adapted it to what we were hearing from citizens.
If you read Attachment 2 and 3 of the packet, the staff's plan (Attachment 2) mitigated some of the Port's issue and were work working on the process of specific "parameters" (Attachment 3) such as incentive zoning, height and bulk and the fourteen point planning board recommendations and "adjusting it" to concepts that seem amicable to many of us as well as the citizens.
So, we were still in the process of completing this plan. Now that the Port has removed their application, the timing of completion has been slowed, but we still have a plan on the drawing board.
Lastly, if Ms. Fimia watches the Council Meeting of April 23, she will be able to understand that she is not comprehending or reading the RCW correctly.
2. Please see answer in question one above regarding how we are still moving forward with the process.
Also, Ms. Fimia does not seem familiar with the Shoreline Master Program and it's complex components regarding setbacks or that the City sits on WRIA8 (Water Resource Inventory Area 8) one of the most powerful boards for promoting private/pubic partnerships and recommending federal and state grant funding for lakes, streams, estuaries and salmon recovery.
I take the Shoreline Master Program very seriously and will not impede any future funding that could come to our City by arbitrarily choosing a 50 foot buffer.
While the representative from the Dept of Ecology discussed the "no net loss" theory about the existing footprint, he also stated that grant funding points are given to those cities that "follow the environmentally conservative" path and most buffer recommendations for Shorelines and/or Wetlands and/or Wildlife habitats is 150 - 200 feet.
For me, it is not about the sins of the past and what was built, but the future and what do we want or expect in 25 or 50 years for that area.
3. Again, Ms. Fimia seems confused or naive as to the fact that the money to restore or preserve the Marsh would come from the Port and this proposal.
The Port's plan did not provide specific incentives as to bonuses that might be obtained for Marsh restoration. The only specific in the Port's plan was a 55 foot urban village.
Please see answer under question two about the City and our involvement in WRIA8 and here is the link to that group's page http://www.govlink.org/watersheds/8/ as we are now on their three-year plan and will be asking for more grant money.
Lastly, perhaps I was too wordy in my previous responses to Ms. Fimia or she clearly did not connect all the dots that come up during all the meetings in different or varying discussions.
I believe Mr. Taraday made it pretty clear in the April 23rd meeting when saying Ms. Fimia is clearly confused over the RCW that she continues to quote.
The April 16 meeting and my discussion with Mr. Taraday regarding Harbor Square should also be reviewed as it is pretty clear that as the City's legislative planners, we must take every precaution to ensure that the process is understood by everyone as terms like "sub-area plans", "incentives", "development agreements" are all new terms to the citizenry.