MUKULTEO, Wash., June 6, 2021 – Residents of Mukilteo took to the streets Sunday demanding the city council vote against its proposed Housing Action Plan (HAP) ahead of Monday’s vote. The group is planning a second protest Monday, June 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We are encouraging the city council to reject it [HAP] because it is a high-density plan for the city of Mukilteo. We do not want to see the character of our beautiful city change,” Jo Bogner told the Lynnwood Times at Sunday’s protest.
Sharon Swann, a 28-year resident of Mukilteo, believes that city council members are refusing to listen to residents and are trying to change the character of city in their image.
“We are trying to preserve Mukilteo as we know it. Protect it’s natural beauty. Protect the way of life here. People move to Mukilteo because it is a small town,” said Swann.
City Council candidate for Position 1, Peter Zieve also attended Sunday’s rally against the HAP. He believes it will reduce housing values. According to Zieve, the plan allows for the building of duplexes which when sold, will set the home value for nearby homes in a neighborhood.
Mukilteo resident Georgia Fisher is against the HAP because she says the HAP will allow developers to purchase multiple adjacent homes and build high density housing units putting increase stress on existing public safety and fire services. She encourages other residents to read the HAP for themselves.
Community Responses to the HAP
A post on Nextdoor regarding the HAP has garnered hundreds of comments, mostly against its adoption.
Councilman Khan who voted against awarding BERK Consulting the $100,000 contract to draft a Housing Action Plan commented, “We moved to Mukilteo for the peaceful, clean, friendly, safe and relatively crime free [city].”
However, Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson wrote in June 4 post, that if she could vote to accept the HAP she would vote yes. The mayor does not have the authority to vote on the resolution only the Mukilteo city council.
“If I had to cast a vote I would vote yes, which adopts this work plan for future conversation, and accepts the data (the Housing Needs Assessment) that we need for the plan updates we are required by law to do starting next year,” wrote Mayor Gregerson on Nextdoor.
As an alternative to Monday’s vote, community members are calling on the city council to put the adoption of the HAP on the November ballot.
Back in 2019, during a contentious mayor-council relationship which included an historic vote of no-confidence in Mayor Gregerson’s leadership, the city council voted 4-2 to put a measure on the November ballot to switch from a strong-mayor form of government to a manager-council arrangement; essentially eliminating Mayor Gregerson as mayor of Mukilteo.
However, Mukilteans felt differently and voted overwhelmingly against the measure with a vote of 72.1% – a political victory for Mayor Gregerson and a win for the democratic process.
Many comments from the Nextdoor post focused on developers purchasing existing developed property and building high density housing units such as the Trillium Apartments in Edmonds (unincorporated Snohomish County) or a hotel on the Harbour Pointe Golf Course. Almost 98% of usable land in Mukilteo is currently developed.
“The HAP will pave the way to have our lovely golf course dismantled and developed, only to have some foreign investor benefit from the development, not the residents of Mukilteo,” wrote Anna Rilov of One Club House Lane.
Mukilteo HAP Background
Mayor Jennifer Gregerson applied for the grant in September 2019 without the City Council’s knowledge, alleges former councilman Charlie Pancerzewski. She were to adopt the resulting ordinances by April 1, 2021, acknowledging an understanding that the actions must meet the requirements of E2SHB-1923.
The grant was approved by the Mukilteo City Council in January, 2020, with a vote of 4-3, with Council president Richard Emery, vice president Sarah Kneller, and councilmembers Elisabeth Crawford and Riaz Khan voting yes and Councilmembers Joe Marine, Bob Champion and Anna Rohrbough voting against accepting the grant.
Council president Richard Emery, vice president Sarah Kneller, and councilmembers Elisabeth Crawford and Louis Harris (appointed to fill the vacancy left by Anna Rohrbough) voted to approve a motion to enter a contract with BERK Consulting on July 6, 2020, for the preparation of a Housing Action Plan. Councilmembers Joe Marine, Bob Champion and Riaz Khan were opposed.
The Mukilteo Housing Action Plan (HAP) was drafted April of this year. At its May 17 public hearing, all twenty residents but one spoke out against the adoption of the proposed Housing Action Plan which is to be voted upon at Monday’s city council meeting on June 7.
Click here to view a copy of the upcoming resolution.
What was found through the Housing Needs Assessment (HNA), contributions from the Mukilteo community, and a review of the city’s existing comprehensive plan and development regulations is that older adults may have difficulty remaining in Mukilteo and families are struggling to find suitable housing in Mukilteo due to rising costs, and local businesses may be unable to hire the best employees because housing prices make it less competitive employers.
City of Mukilteo Profile
According to the U.S. Census Bureau for 2019, Mukilteo has an estimated median household income of $108,536 with an average household income of $135,920 and a per capita income of $52,707, making it one of the most affluent small towns in Washington state. A low 3.4% live below poverty level. The median home value in Mukilteo is $582,700 and median rent is $1,796.
An incredible 79% of residents 25 or older have some college or professional degree, and 96.8% have at least a high school diploma. Within the city of Mukilteo, 21.4% are at least 62 years age and 21.6% of the residents are under the age of 18. About 20% of Mukilteans identify as Asian American Pacific Islander and 69% as white.
By comparison, Snohomish County has a median and average household income of $86,691 and $109,561 respectively with per capita income of $39,527; and Washington state has a median and average household income of $73,775 and $105,775 respectively with per capita income of $38,915.
According to the Growth Management Act, Mukilteo’s current growth target for 2035 is 21,812 or an increase of 371 residents within eleven years. It is reasonable to assume that this can be achieved by new births replacing the city’s aging population and opportunities to annex surrounding land.
In 2009, Mukilteo was ranked tenth on a list of top 100 small U.S. towns to live in by Money magazine and by 2011, ranked ninth, becoming the only West Coast city in the top 10 for that year. In 2006, Mukilteo was recognized by BusinessWeek magazine as one of the best affordable suburbs due to lower housing prices compared to King County cities and its low crime rate.