Don’t sacrifice building heightsIncentive Zoning has already produced the two massive new buildings at Westgate plus the proposed fortress at Pt. Edwards
Soon, a collection of City Council, Port Commission, Planning Board members and Staff will convene to discuss the Harbor Square proposal.
They will wander down enough by-ways to further confuse the public before arriving at the central issue of Incentive Zoning, popularly known as Developers Delight - Bonus Heights.
Incentive Zoning is a give-away cloaked in virtue. The give-away is Edmonds fixed building height limits.
The virtue is affordable housing, green building and other brownie points offered for bonus heights. A one-story bonus would require eight points; a two-story bonus would require 12 points.
Note that heights will be calculated in stories, not feet. That change is the product of something called form-based zoning which, otherwise, is so arcane that a Planning Board chairman couldn't explain it to the Council.
Incentive Zoning has already produced the two massive new buildings at Westgate plus the proposed fortress at Pt. Edwards.
No one likes those buildings, and how the incentive zoning language that permitted them was slipped into the code has yet to be explained. But, now is the time to stop its further expansion at Westgate and in the Bowl i.e. Harbor Square.
On Wednesday, July 10 the Planning Board will hold a public hearing to discuss formal adoption of Incentive Zoning for Westgate.
The Board has already agreed that, "code language should have more depth in regard to the incentives required to obtain the additional building heights.”
The Board has also raised the question of whether applying the concept to Westgate only, instead of citywide, would be "fair."
The Planning Board plans to advise the Snohomish County Master Builders Association of the meeting.
Tell the Planning Board that negotiated height limits anywhere in Edmonds is unacceptable; three unpleasant surprises are enough.
If the pious powers-that-be think virtue should be encouraged it can be done without sacrificing Edmonds height limits.
They can simply be required in the code.