A great opportunity for the city

Let’s get real
By Damian King | Jan 24, 2013

Editor:

The Port of Edmonds redevelopment proposal for the Harbor Square property would be better described as a missed opportunity.

Instead of presenting a visionary proposal serving both the Port and City residents, the Port has defaulted to what is an essentially visionless plan for 55 and 45 foot over-proportioned and bland buildings, high density, increased congestion on-site and increased traffic off-site, insufficient set-backs from a nature preserve, and unintended other environmental impacts that would last for decades.

Motivated perhaps more by correcting past financial mistakes than by providing future value to the broader community.

I participated in public comment opportunities earlier and frankly am extremely disappointed this was the best plan the Port could come up with.

Let’s get real. This is THE last large “white board” of publicly-owned land in downtown Edmonds. What a wonderful opportunity.

We should have much higher expectations for its redevelopment; one that respects reasonable building heights, has less density, and overall is more in keeping with a beautiful and increasingly viable downtown.

Any proposed development agreement approved by the City council should be consistent with these goals no exceptions. Because as soon as something less consistent is approved by the Council, developers of the Safeway property and maybe others elsewhere in the downtown area will be standing in-line seeking their own exceptions.

Why not instead view the Harbor Square property as an opportunity for the City and the Port to revisit how the waterfront as a whole can best connect and complement the downtown?

Possibly through use of public-private partnerships, bond acquisitions, or development agreements better supporting true long-term planning goals.

 

Damian King

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