Category Archives: The Farm

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 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.

Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 2/19/19

The majority of this meeting was occupied with a study session on the East Gateway Urban Village (EGUV) and the Farm at Mill Creek. A lot can be learned directly about the presentation by looking at the accompanying materials to the agenda, from pages 5 to 49.

Quoting from the city manager’s summary:

In March 2018, the City received a development application for The Farm at Mill Creek, which is located at 4008 132″“Street SE in the City’s East Gateway Urban Village (EGUV) zone. On April 13, 2018 the binding site plan application was deemed complete. One of the requirements of developing in the EGUV zone district is for the developer to enter into a Development Agreement (DA) with the City and have the DA approved by the City Council, per MCMC 17.19 and RCW 36.7OB.l70.

The purpose of this City Council study session is to provide background information on the following:

  1. The East Gateway Urban Village;
  2. Binding Site Plan Review Process and Proportional Impact Mitigation Assessment Process;
  3. The Farm at Mill Creek Review Status; and,
  4. Introduce the developer and allow him to share his vision of the project with the Council prior to the Council conducting a future study session to review the proposed DA.

To understand The Farm project, one must first understand the East Gateway Urban Village (EGUV) ordinances adopted in 2008. These ordinances created a district “intended to accommodate pedestrian-oriented mixed-use commercial, office, residential and public uses that conform to the design and layout of an approved detailed master development plan “ They incorporate by reference the Mill Creek Comprehensive Plan, which establishes policies for development beginning on page 51.… Read More “Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 2/19/19”