Citizen involvement needed

By Dave Buelow | Jul 09, 2012

Editor:

Thanks to Eric Livingston for the thoughtful and informative comments in his Guestview Column of June 28.

He is absolutely correct, public apathy should not play a role as the Planning Commission and City Council consider the Port's Harbor Square Re-development Vision.

350 new condos in six five-story buildings and one four-story building, along with 1,200 parking spaces is a massive project for any smaller city.

If the Council ultimately approves 55 foot buildings for a tax supported public entity like the Port, the lid is off for private property owners to demand, and likely receive, similar treatment.

These would obviously include whoever winds up owning the Old Safeway site and other properties to the north across Dayton.

Maybe the eventual new owner of the Reef Apt/Dive Shop property (now for sale on Railroad Ave) will even join in.

After all, that property is located next to the five story Ebb Tide Condos (which started the effort to better control building heights many years ago) and is only 100 yards north of Harbor Square…why not go for it?

If we are really fortunate, we may even see developers again pitching a “free” Senior Center on the other side of the Ebb Tide in exchange for the right to build four stories of condos above.

The Port’s Vision of five-story buildings will triple the value of the Harbor Square property (per Harbor Square Financial Analysis link on Port’s website), but that’s at the expense of unfortunate homeowners on 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th who were not considered in the Port’s View Shed Study and whose expensive water views will be decimated.

The negative impact to quality of life for these homeowners, along with decreased values for all units in these buildings, even those without water views, will be devastating.

The diminished property taxes from these properties will largely offset the increase property tax revenue from new condos that the Port likes to talk about.

Add to these issues the addition of vehicle traffic, not only in the increasingly congested area around Harbor Square, but throughout the City, and it is apparent there are numerous unseen costs for everyone with a stake in Edmond’s current ambiance.

The Port already enjoys the tallest building height zoning in the Bowl at 35 feet.

Any redevelopment at Harbor Square should be within that limitation.

However, the Port has significant political clout, and, it’s vision has all ready been endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, another entity being lead by a real estate agent.

It’s time for ordinary citizens to let the Planning Commission and City Council know of their concerns about the Port’s Vision, or the charming City of Edmonds, loved by residents and visitors alike, will soon be regulated and relegated into a thing of the past.

 

Dave Buelow

 

 

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