by Luke Putvin
At its February 10 business meeting, the Lynnwood City Council voted unanimously to approve the development agreement for the Kinect@Lynnwood Housing Development. Additionally, the council presented a proclamation for Black History Month and appointed former council president Benjamin Goodwin to the Ethics Board.
The incoming development will utilize the Multiple-Unit Housing Tax Exemption (MFTE) program. The city council originally adopted the MFTE program in 2007, designating City Center as a Residential Targeted Area. The program was originally supposed to go to three projects with each project getting no more than 600,000 dollars, a total of 1.8 million dollars.
The first project to utilize the MFTE program was the City Center Apartments, and the second was the Lynnwood Senior Apartments (Destinations). Northline Village was the supposed final project to utilize the program; its development agreement was passed by the council in December of 2019.
However, both Northline Village and Kinect were working on similar timelines, and Northline Village was the first project to get through. Since the City Center Apartments and Destinations both used $227,220.13 and $200,344.92 respectively, the 1.8 million dollars had not yet been reached. It was for this reason that the project still went through to council vote and was left up to them to decide if they wanted to add an additional project to the original plan of only having three.
Dave Sinnet, Director of Development with American Property Development (APD), was present to answer questions and provide clarifications. In addition to being the developer, APD is also the builder and the manager of the upcoming property.
“As we have worked with staff since roughly May or June of last year, we were under the impression that we would be the third development coming through for this approval,” Sinnet said. “However, in that same timeline, Northline Village was also going through.”
Sinnet explained that he pushed quite a bit to see if APD’s project could get in front of Northline Village, but that didn’t happen. He discussed all this with Karl Almgren, City Center Program Manager for the City of Lynnwood, and eventually decided to delay and push the presentation with the chance that they could still move forward with the project.
One question, asked by councilmember George Hurst, was what the difference in price would be between the market rate and affordable units. Sinnet said that, depending on the room sizes, the delta between the two was about 100 to 300 dollars. Overall, a minimum of 20% of the units are required to be affordable according to the development agreement.
Council Vice President Sessions spoke in favor of the development agreement. “I am comfortable with the fourth approval of the property; to me, you’ve given a lot of reasonable rationale and explanation. It seems very clear to me, and you’ve even stayed within the bottom line.”
“I appreciate the fact that we will be using MFTE and providing 48 units of affordable housing,” said Council President Christine Frizzell.
Hurst also voted for the development agreement, but he spoke with a bit more criticism. “Regarding this project, I don’t think we should be naïve. The developer is getting a pretty good deal for not a lot of affordable housing,” he said. “And considering the delta that was talked about between affordable and market, it’s more than made up in the [exemptions.] … I appreciate that we are going to have the first step towards some affordable housing; it’s a moderate step, but at least it’s a step.”
The council unanimously passed the development agreement.
The council also presented the proclamation for Black History Month. Vice Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board of Lynnwood Jared Bigelow spoke briefly. “I just want to remind us the centrality of black history and American history; it really is one and the same.”
The city’s proclamation can be read on www.lynnwoodwa.gov within the section that contains the city council minutes.