Shoreline City Council addresses Point Wells issues

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The following letter, dated July 22, 2013, was addressed to the Richmond Beach community and is signed by all Shoreline City Councilmembers with the exception of Councilmember Will Hall, who has recused himself from all things Point Wells due to his employment with the Snohomish County Council.

Dear Richmond Beach Community:

            For the past several years, the issues surrounding Point Wells have been of great concern to you and the Shoreline community as a whole. We share your concerns and want to assure you that the issue is extremely important to us as well. As we have heard your concerns we have taken those to heart and considered how best to address them.

            We recognize that some of you are frustrated and even disappointed with the strategy the City has taken. While we successfully challenged Snohomish County’s designation of Point Wells as an Urban Center with the Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB), Snohomish County was able to satisfy the findings of the GMHB through their adoption of the Urban Village zoning. Based on the advice we have received, including third-party legal analysis, we did not join with Save Richmond Beach (SRB) or the Town of Woodway in their most recent lawsuit challenging the developer’s permit application.

            Washington’s vesting laws grant developers strong protections once a permit application is complete. BSRE has a vested permit application under the Urban Center designation. As a result, we believe the best option for addressing the impacts from the proposed development is to enter into an agreement with BSRE. The purpose of the agreement is to have more control over the level of traffic on Shoreline’s road network and to provide guaranteed funding for mitigation rather than relying solely on Snohomish County to look out for Shoreline’s interests. We have a responsibility to every resident of Shoreline to address the impacts of any development at Point Wells.

            Even though the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the appeal brought by SRB, the permit application is still valid until the Supreme Court rules otherwise. Following the Court’s decision, BSRE communicated to the City that it plans to move forward with its permit, and Snohomish County is legally required to process it. The environmental review may be completed before the Supreme Court has made a final decision (we estimate a year or longer before there is a ruling). If SRB’s appeal is successful, the most likely outcome is that the development would need to comply with Snohomish County’s Urban Village zoning. Regardless of the Supreme Court ruling or which zoning the property develops under, there will be significant traffic impacts. Having an agreement with BSRE and completing a transportation corridor study (TCS) serves as an insurance policy regardless of the outcome.

             The City has been successful in securing an agreement with BSRE to complete a comprehensive TCS using Shoreline’s level of service criteria, our methodology and our assumptions to study the impacts that would be created by the development over the next 20 to 30 years. Absent the agreement, Snohomish County would use its own level of service standards, methodologies and assumptions for evaluating traffic, which would result in a much less comprehensive study and would involve far less community input.

            We received many emails encouraging us to support Woodway in annexing Point Wells; however, we could not support this because we continue to believe that Shoreline suffers the majority of the impacts and is the most logical provider of services to the area. As you know, the only way to reach Point Wells is via Shoreline. Future residents and businesses at Point Wells will use City facilities (especially our roads) and place unfunded demands on City services. Due to their proximity, future Point Wells’ residents will in essence become a part of our community and daily life regardless of whether or not they are annexed into the City. Since all City facilities and services are paid for by Shoreline taxpayers, it is only fair that the future Point Wells residents share in that tax burden.

            We strongly encourage all Shoreline residents, and especially Richmond Beach residents, to participate in the Snohomish County Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) meetings and the forthcoming TCS meetings. Dates have yet to be set for both processes, but as soon as they are we will use every means possible to communicate those dates to you.

            The City Council and the 32nd District Legislative Delegation are committed to keeping lines of communication open and are available to listen to your concerns.  If you have questions or would like to discuss Point Wells, please do not hesitate to contact us.

            It is our hope that this letter conveys that we care deeply about your concerns regarding the Point Wells development. We understand that even now you may disagree with our strategy, but please know that we follow this strategy because we believe it is the best way to protect the quality of life of those living in Richmond Beach and the greater Shoreline community. It is our desire to regain the trust of Richmond Beach residents and we remain hopeful that this is possible.


Keith A McGlashan, Mayor                           
Chris Eggen, Deputy Mayor
Doris McConnell, Councilmember
Christopher Roberts, Councilmember                                  
Jesse Salomon, Councilmember
Shari Winstead, Councilmember


Anonymous,  July 25, 2013 at 6:36 AM  

When did the City of Shoreline start to speak directly for the 32nd Legislative District delegation?

After engaging State Representative Ruth Kagi in the dying days of the second special session to reverse SB 5417 on the annexation of donut holes against the desire of the Richmond Beach community, the City of Shoreline expect Richmond Beach to welcome them back?

Not only that, but the City of Shoreline INACCURATELY predicted (along with Blue Square Real Estate) that the State Supreme Court would not hear the appeal brought to them by Save Richmond Beach and the Town of Woodway, yet in the letter released above they are now dismissing any outcome that may result from the State Supreme Court. You can't trust the City of Shoreline to advocate for your neighborhood, they have already sold out to Blue Square Real Estate.

What the City fails to mention is that in order to reach their memorandum of understanding with Blue Square Real Estate, they agreed to roll BACK levels of service to failure and near failure for the EIS and transportation corridor study AFTER Richmond Beach had obtained an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan. The City staff and councilmembers under cut all the neighborhoods across the city and pretend that they listen, and roll back any community input at a later date.

It is a tragedy that councilmembers are largely running unopposed, but their backers have pretty much crushed any dissent within the council and community.

Anonymous,  July 25, 2013 at 7:32 AM  

This City Council has never supported nor represented the best interests of the residents on the west side of Shoreline in regards to this issue. For them everything seems to be about money for the city coffers rather than the quality of life for their constituents and neighbors. They should have joined SRB in fighting this development. How sadly disappointing.

Anonymous,  July 25, 2013 at 2:01 PM  

The city will not listen to your concerns - they did not release their final plan for the Aurora Square Community Renewal Area until June 10, 2013. Then without any official action by motion or vote, the City Council held a public hearing on July 8, 2013 for the adoption of the Aurora Square Community Renewal Area Plan. They plan on building a mini-Point Wells there without conducting any SEPA.

What did the City Council and staff do with the few public comments the received (which is no surprise since they did not take any action to schedule the resolution and the public hearing)? THEY COMPLAINED ABOUT IT. The city doesn't want to hear from the public. For the second year in a row they have as a council goal improved citizen communication, probably because they didn't make any progress in the first year. But citizen communication is such a low priority they won't get around to it until late this fall -- when the second year for this goal is nearly gone. Evidently the city as adopted as its motto the ersatz BellTel tagline: "We Don't Care, We Don't Have To."

Don't expect much from the TCS. In the challenge to the Crista Master Plan, email discovery showed that the city asked the developer what they wanted for mitigation and allowed the developer to dictate the threshold determination and what mitigation was going to be, in court it was proven that city staff did NO analysis prior to issuing a determination on SEPA. The Richmond Beach neighborhood should be aware of how the City of Shoreline has sold out other neighborhoods to developers in the past, the city will probably do it again in their dealings with Blue Square Real Estate.

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