City announces next steps in Point Wells Transportation Corridor Study process

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Statement from the City of Shoreline

The City of Shoreline held the final Transportation Corridor Study Workshop on April 16. Based on resident comments and feedback from the previous five workshops, the City and the traffic consultants developed preferred alternatives for the street configuration of Richmond Beach Drive and Road and traffic mitigations along these corridors. 

Using the community feedback provided at the April 16 workshop, staff will make adjustments to the preferred alternatives and then present a final recommendation to the City Council. City staff will also prepare a set of design principles for Council review that provide direction for the design, implementation, and construction of the street improvements. These will be based on the community input and modeled after the Implementation Strategies that the City Council adopted to guide design and implementation of the City's Aurora Corridor project. Although the timeline for submission of a final mitigation recommendation to the City Council has not been finalized, staff anticipates that this will occur in late June. City staff will hold an Open House to share the final recommendation with the public prior to the recommendation meeting with Council.

If the City Council is supportive of an acceptable traffic analysis and mitigation package, then they will provide direction to the City Manager to submit the TCS outcomes and agreement to Snohomish County, to negotiate a "development agreement" with BSRE, and docket, or schedule for action, appropriate Point Wells subarea plan amendments that will be worked on later this year. 

Following Council acceptance, the City will provide the “mitigation package” to Snohomish County to be included as part of the transportation section of the County’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The City anticipates Snohomish County adopting the mitigation package and incorporating it into its permit review and analysis, and making it a condition to projects permits. If the City is not able to secure the requirement from the Snohomish County EIS process that the mitigation package will be constructed by BSRE to mitigate the project impacts, the City's Memorandum of Understanding with BSRE states that the City and BSRE will negotiate these mitigations as part of the development agreement. 

The City will also work to negotiate the following items into the development agreement with BSRE: 1) a funding mechanism to pay for the required mitigation package; 2) agreement on the ultimate cap on daily vehicle trips to and from Point Wells and how to enforce the cap; 3) agreement on the sequence of implementation of the mitigation projects; and 4) Point Wells annexation to the City of Shoreline. 

Can We Close the road?

Over the past several years, residents have repeatedly asked why we can't just close the road to Point Wells. With the recent Supreme Court decision the question is once again being asked. While it seems like an easy answer, in the court case YARROW ETC. v. Town of Clyde Hill, 403 P. 2d 49 - Wash: Supreme Court, 2nd Dept. 1965, a case with similar facts to the Point Wells development, the Supreme Court found that Clyde Hill's vacation (closing) of a road due to anticipated traffic increases from a proposed development was unlawful. 

Clyde Hill's City Council was concerned about increased traffic from an apartment complex in neighboring Houghton where the only access was through Clyde Hill. The Council vacated the road and the Supreme Court ruled the action to be unlawful. Below are excerpts from the decision:

In closing a public street, the "public use" that must be considered is broader and more inclusive than the mere use by abutting property owners. Streets are dedicated to the public use .... This implies that streets must be maintained primarily as public ways .... This refers not alone to adjacent property owners, nor to the inhabitants of a particular political subdivision, but to the whole people .... Every citizen of the state has an equal right to use the streets.
Cities are vested only with such powers over the streets as are conferred upon them by the legislature .... However, the power to regulate streets is not the power to prohibit their use by nonresidents .... Similar consideration must be given to the power of a municipality to vacate a street.
...[T]he residents of a particular town possess no proprietary rights to the use of its streets, in priority to or exclusion of the general public. They may not use their power to the detriment of other citizens or municipalities of the state .... The fact that a city may have the burden of constructing or maintaining its streets gives it no peculiar privileges insofar as the use of its streets is concerned.

Closing Richmond Beach Drive near the entrance of Point Wells would open the City up to legal challenges and its actions would most likely be found unlawful under the findings of Yarrow etc. v. Town of Clyde Hill.


Anonymous,  May 1, 2014 at 6:04 AM  

..[T]he residents of a particular town possess no proprietary rights to the use of its streets, in priority to or exclusion of the general public. They may not use their power to the detriment of other citizens or municipalities of the state ....

It's funny, but it feels to me like the street is being used by Snohomish County to OUR detriment.

Tom Jamieson,  May 1, 2014 at 11:43 AM  

The headline of this article claims to reveal the City's next steps. Well, the very next step is TONIGHT, and the article doesn't even mention it. Here's what's happening. The City of Shoreline Planning Commission is meeting tonight (Thursday, May 1, 2014, 7pm, to discuss Point Wells. The meeting is open to the public, and members of the public may submit oral or written public comment. The meeting was announced on April 29, but it bears repeating).

There is a Snohomish County Council meeting scheduled fo Monday, May 5, to discuss Councilmember Dave Somers' proposed emergency moratorium on issuing development permits in the proximity of high risk landslide areas (such as Point Wells). The Shoreline City Manager mentioned that moratorium meeting at the City Council meeting last Monday, but like the Planning Commission discussion, it bears repeating here. Landslides were a concern raised repeatedly during the Transportation Corridor Study workshops. The City has expressed its intention to annex Point Wells. That makes any future landslide there a City concern. The City should propose an amendment to the proposed moratorium ordinance, to ensure Point Wells is not exempted), Yet, the City has not taken a position on the moratorium. They have not even considered it.

Anonymous,  May 1, 2014 at 4:04 PM  

To the residents of Richmond Beach, it seems that the city of Shoreline is patronizing us while plowing ahead with it's own plans to the detriment of good, tax-paying citizens . . . hand in hand with BSRE. I find it ludicrous that Shoreline believes an attempt at annexation would be successful. I've never been a fan of tea party politics, but I plan to vote against all incumbents in the next Shoreline election. I hope everyone will. Shoreline is recklessly gambling with our community and it's future. SHAME ON THEM.

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