Don’t sacrifice building heights

Incentive Zoning has already produced the two massive new buildings at Westgate plus the proposed fortress at Pt. Edwards
By Natalie Shippen | Jun 10, 2013


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.


Natalie Shippen

Comments (2)
Posted by: john dolan | Jun 13, 2013 15:27

Thanks, Natalie. Well said. These people -  developers, realtors, masterbuilders, the mayor, some council members, planners, ADB, and like others do not have the best interests of the residents of the City of Edmonds in mind. They could care less. It's all about their own self interest - their wallets. Don't let them get away with it.

Posted by: john dolan | Jul 04, 2013 12:09

There are far to many business people on the council and some of these boards and commissions. We need people who are willing to look at the total picture regarding the impact of City development. Come on people. Most of the residents of the City are waiting for you to run for office.

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