Shoreline City Council unanimously approves Richmond Beach Drive street reclassification

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Richmond Beach Drive
From the office of the Shoreline City Manager

At the February 14 City of Shoreline Council Meeting, the Council unanimously approved an amendment to the City’s Comprehensive Plan to reclassify Richmond Beach Drive from a “Neighborhood Collector” to “Local Street.” The amendment also stated that any future re-designation of this road segment to collector arterial will not be considered unless certain conditions are fulfilled.

The conditions calls for either Snohomish County or the private developer to provide a Transportation Corridor Study and Mitigation Plan that can show if reasonable and safe improvements can be realistically be done and provides assurance that funds necessary for mitigating traffic impacts are committed.

"The only access to the site runs through Shoreline's Richmond Beach Neighborhood, which is a single family neighborhood, and is a winding, two-lane road going in and out. We are deeply concerned that the City bears all impacts of the proposed development without having a say in the size, scale and scope," says Mayor Keith McGlashan.

This is the latest action taken by the City of Shoreline to actively address concerns arising from the proposed development at Point Wells. Point Wells lies in unincorporated Snohomish County and has been designated as an “Urban Center” area by the Snohomish County Council. The twenty high rise buildings and resulting density proposed for Point Wells is completely at odds with the surrounding single family neighborhoods in Shoreline and Woodway.

The Point Wells property owner, Blue Square Real Estate (BSRE) has proposed approximately 3,150 residential housing units and 100,000 square feet of commercial space. The developer states that the project would generate 10,000 average daily vehicle trips. Currently Richmond Beach Drive, the only vehicular access to the development, handles approximately 500 average daily vehicle trips. Even assuming the developer’s estimate of the number of auto trips is correct, preliminary computer modeling done by City staff in 2009 indicates that nine of the City’s intersections would fail from traffic of that magnitude.

In order to address the concerns with the proposed development, the City is working through various channels to limit the traffic impacts of Point Wells to a number more in line with Shoreline’s plans for the area. These include working on proposed legislation with our State Legislators and joining with the Town of Woodway and the community group Save Richmond Beach in filing appeals with the Washington State Growth Management Hearings Board. The City has also attempted to negotiate directly with Snohomish County, joining with the Town of Woodway and the Tulalip Tribe in asking the County Council to adopt a moratorium on development permits at Point Wells until meaningful two-way negotiations can occur to address these serious concerns. Unfortunately, the County Council has rejected these requests and insists that all of these concerns can be addressed after BSRE submits its application for development.

One of the City’s main efforts to date is an appeal to the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB). On November 9, 2009, the City of Shoreline filed a Petition for Review (PFR) with the GMHB, the state agency in charge of hearing appeals alleging noncompliance with the State Growth Management Act and the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The Town of Woodway and the citizen group Save Richmond Beach also filed a PFR with the GMHB.

The City's PFR alleges that the Snohomish County action designating Point Wells as an Urban Center (a prerequisite for moving forward with the proposed development) is inconsistent with both Snohomish County's own Comprehensive Plan and the Growth Management Act. In addition, the PFR alleges that the County did not comply with the requirements of SEPA. The Growth Board will hear the City’s appeal on March 3, 2011 and issue its decision no later than April 25.

In addition to this appeal, the City amended its own Comprehensive Plan concerning the Point Wells area in April 2010. The resulting Point Wells Subarea Plan articulates the City's concerns, interests, and aspirations regarding urban service delivery, governance, traffic, and impacts on adjacent neighborhoods in Shoreline.

“The City does not oppose redevelopment of the Point Wells property with a mix of uses, public access to the waterfront, environmental cleanup, and cutting edge sustainable building practices” said Shoreline Planning Director Joe Tovar. “We are even fine with some taller buildings, but BSRE’s proposed project, with 6,000 people creating over 10,000 car trips is way out of scale for this location.” 
The BSRE proposal would have the thirteen tallest buildings between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., located far from high capacity transit like bus rapid transit on State Route 99 or planned light rail along I-5.

The City will continue to pursue every avenue possible to ensure any development at Point Wells more closely aligns with the City’s vision and is of a scale that is reasonable and compatible with the surrounding communities.


Anonymous,  February 17, 2011 at 7:42 AM  

I just love that the developer invited all the residents in the area to these touchy-feely sessions of community input and design focus group type meetings.

Where they SO assured everyone that they were really there to listen and gather input.....they REALLY wanted to WORK with us and "get along"..

Oh so completely disingenuous on their part as they clearly intend to RAM the plan of 3100 units down our throats.

And Snohomish County? They could give a crap! Urban Center?

What a bunch of liars...

Anonymous,  February 17, 2011 at 2:42 PM  

This site has some unique problems that affect the viability of the Project. Site cleanup and remediation alone could add $10000-15000 to the cost of a unit. Other mitigations for traffic, recreation, acoustics, creating a public beach access will add addtional costs to developing this particular property will add dditional significant costs, all of which must be absorbed by the eventual buyers of the units. No question that these units will be on the high end. The cost of mitigating impacts for traffic and site cleanup to the this development will be extraordinarily high. I beleive that the economic model for the development will require a density proximate to what is being proposed. We all want a beautiful beach, we want the ugliest stretch of shoreline in Puget Sound cleaned up, but that will not be possible if the developer tries to sell condos that cannot be sold. It just won't happen.
If this project were proposed in Vancouver, B.C. they would be offering tax incentives and basically handing them the key to the City. The same would be true for many Cities in the world and in many cities across this land. Hello, we are in a recession here. We have someone who is willing to absorb millions of dollars negative cash flow for many years, to undertake a major project in our backyard that will result in well over a billion dollars in construction alone, put people to work, create new job opportunities, increase property values, add to the tax base so we can afford to support our teachers, police and firefighters, and at the same time provide access to a restored beach asset. This is progress. For all you liberals out there, this is type of project Obama was talking about in his recent speach to the American people. Not the people in Snohomish County, or the wealthy community of Woodway, Richmond Beach, or Shoreline; the American people. We have managed to discourage companies like Boeing (gone in 10 years) from expanding here and this is just another example of our collective negative activism against any major development. This is an opportunity to make a statement to other prospective developers that we want projects like this to succeed. We want our communities to grow and prosper. Unfortunately, with the GMA we have a built-in mechanism assuring that our largest law firms will have their several years of fee generating activity, lawsuits, appeals, etc. back and forth,sucking millions of dollars out of the project. These costs and delays add virtually no value or return to the Community that could not have been achieved by a competant Architectural firm, which they have, and a Community willing to negotiate and work together to achieve their respective goals.

Evan Smith,  February 17, 2011 at 3:01 PM  

Increase our tax base? No. It will increase Snohomish County's tax base while costing Shoreline taxpayers the cost of more use of Shoreline roads, parks etc.

Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP