Monthly Archives: March 2019

Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 3/26/19, Part 2

After the Public Hearing was closed, Mark Bond spoke first, expressing appreciation to speakers. He pointed out that the project is in keeping with the intentions of EGUV, and that Council is obligated to follow through on those intentions. He was of mixed feelings about concerns that the affordability of the apartments would create problems, acknowledging that there have been problems with Heatherwood. However, he also spoke about how good people sometimes fail to thrive, and deserve housing. In conclusion, he said “I think we can handle this, and I think we will find more good than bad.” To me, his final opinion, as a law enforcement officer, is very persuasive.

John Steckler had questions about easements to build Spine Road, and was told that the developers are happy to participate in acquiring those. He wanted to clarify the difference between Section 8, a government program, and workforce housing, designated by developers for people of modest, but not low, income, up to $62k for a small family. After asking for a comparison to Heatherwood, the developer reported that property has apartments designated for people at 30 and 50 percent of median income. Another distinction made is that, crime rates are reduced by the mixed use property, because of the constant activity.

Newest Councilmember Stephanie Viogal spoke about the concern for already overcrowded schools, as well as the variance that proposes build with such a small wetlands buffer. She also expressed preference for an agreement of 80% native cover in the mitigation site, which matched the developer’s intention, and can be writing into the binding site plan.… Read More “Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 3/26/19, Part 2”

Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 3/26/19, Part 1

The majority of this meeting was devoted to a Public Hearing and vote on the Development Agreement between The Farm by Vintage, LP at Mill Creek and the City of Mill Creek. It was a doozy!

As with other reports on meetings focusing on the Farm, it is only possible to convey a small portion of the complexity of the issue. The agenda and council packet runs 237 pages, and the presentation, comments, and discussion took over two hours. The Key Facts and Information Summary is a very useful overview, at only three pages.

Senior planner Christi Amrine kicked things off, setting the groundwork by going over this information that had been presented in the summary:

In March 2018, the City received a development application for The Farm at Mill Creek, which is located in the City’s East Gateway Urban Village (EGUV) zone. The application was deemed complete on April 13, 2018. One of the requirements of developing in the EGUV zone district is to enter into a development agreement with the City. In accordance with State law (RCW 36.70B.200), a public hearing must be held on a development agreement prior to the City Council taking action on the development agreement.

The City Council has held three study sessions on various elements of the development proposal and the proposed Development Agreement (February 19″‘,26″‘and March 12, 2019). At the February 26, 2019 study session the City Council set March 26″‘for the public hearing date for the Development Agreement.

Development agreements increase certainty and reduce risk for both the developer and the City by addressing issues of interest to the City and the developer that are not specifically addressed in the code.Read More “Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 3/26/19, Part 1”

Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 3/12/19

The meeting got started with Audience Communication, where Wil Nelson addressed the Council in opposition to The Farm. This was followed by the heart-warming presentation of a ceremonial plank from the USS Ralph Johnson. Several members of the Navy came to make the presentation, as part of a community outreach program where a ship develops connections to local organizations. The mayor read a related proclamation affirming the bonds and declaring the sailors of the USS Ralph Johnson honorary members of the Mill Creek community.

Brook Knight, CEO of the Northshore Senior Center, made a presentation generally describing the services they offer. With locations in Bothell, Mill Creek, and Kenmore, Northshore is one of the largest and most respected senior centers in the country. The center’s primary values are to be welcoming, holistic, collaborative, and impactful. Employees and around 500 volunteers offers many classes and other services to seniors, disabled people and caregivers.

These services are important due to the damages to seniors, 28% of whom live alone, of social isolation. Activities help promote cognitive abilities, mental and physical health. Another important service is helping the 60% of seniors who are low income manage financial difficulties, including with rent, food, equipment and accessing public services.

Goals for 2019 and beyond include increasing transportation assistance, additional clinical services, as well as expanded classes, outreach and community partnerships.

In New Business, Peggy Lauerman, Director of Finance & Administration, presented a motion that will make it possible for the City to pay for surface water expenses, and reimburse itself with future tax-exempt bonds.… Read More “Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 3/12/19”

Mill Creek City Council Meetings 2/26 & 3/5/19

I missed my first meeting of the year while I was out of town, and the second (of two) when recovering from the cold I caught while out of town. I do have one comment, based on the February agenda packet, however.

I notice that there was an extensive presentation on the Development Agreement for the Farm on February 26th. In a later post, on the March 26th meeting, several of the councilmembers expressed feeling like they hadn’t had enough time to consider the agreement, they were bullied, or railroaded. While there were last minute changes when the Agreement was presented in March, it seems disingenuous to suggest that this month wasn’t sufficient time to deal with concerns earlier than the meeting where the Development Agreement was narrowly approved, despite a legal mandate to do so.