Lynnwood City Council approves land use ordinance for new City Center vision

LYNNWOOD, Wash., September 15, 2022—Council unanimously approved the Lynnwood Convention Center for a single-day International Women’s Day event and a land use City Center ordinance at their Business Meeting Monday, September 12.

In addition to these agenda items, council also approved an interlocal agreement with the City of Edmonds for a Highway 99 Revitalization Project, a consultant contract for a College Place Middle and Elementary School Pedestrian Project, a consultant contract for the 188th Street Southwest Wall, a consultant contract for On-Call Stormwater services and for a Stormwater Reports and Regulations Update, a final contract for Heritage Park Water Tower Renovation Project, and a final contract for Lynnwood Operations and Maintenance Center (LOMC) Pole Building during their unanimous consent agenda.

Council was scheduled to vote on an American Rescue Plan Act fund action but decided to postpone the vote until council’s Business Meeting on October 10, in order to hear presentations on the matter a week before.

Before enter Business Items, Michelle Meyer, Finance Department, walked council through the city’s 2023-2024 biennial budget.

During the public comments section former HASCO employee Tiffany Eve and a Timberglen Apartments resident also spoke the ongoing issue of water quality at the building seeking resolution from council.

City Center Planned Ordinance

Following approval and issuance of the EIS Addendum, on February 10, staff advanced the proposed update to the City Center Planned Action Ordinance (PAO) to allow additional development in City Center, to use the more administratively efficient and comprehensive environmental review process of the PAO, and to make changes to Lynnwood Municipal Code 21.60.800 to clarify the role of the development threshold identified in that section. A public hearing was held March 24 with the Planning Commission considering the draft ordinance.

The City Council shared feedback and questions for staff regarding their concerns of increased residential development in City Center. Staff reviewed this feedback and responded to Council questions. Additional clarification and information was prepared by staff from the Lynnwood Police Department, Fire Marshall’s Office, Public Works, and DBS Community Planning.

On April 25, 2022, City Council held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance. The public hearing received one verbal comment and one written comment. After the public hearing was closed, City Council provided additional feedback and staff has consolidated this feedback with additional information for discussion. Subsequent to the April 25 meeting, staff had additional consultation with the City Attorney regarding the proposed City Center PAO update and confirming her recommendation to make changes to the Lynnwood Municipal Code (LMC)
21.60.800 capping development in the City Center.

On August 1, 2022, the City Council discussed the City Center PAO including the purpose of the the ordinance which is “to ensure implementation of the Community Vision of a City Center through a coordinated and expedited land use approval process meeting market demands”.

“I believe this would be disastrous for the city of Lynnwood,” Council Vice President Jim Smith said. “The only people who would benefit from this would be the developers, they’d walk away with millions of dollars and we’d be stuck with traffic…This will come back to haunt us.”

Councilman Joshua Binda disagreed with Council Vice President’s comments saying he was “personally very in favor of this and its taking pre-measures for the expected growth of our city.”

Council President George Hurst moved to approve Ordinance 3425, revising City Center Planned Action and repealing LMC 21.60.800, seconded by Councilwoman Shannon Sessions.

“We will have new residents because we’re going to have that new Light Rail open. This City Center plan increases the ability to have housing there,” Council President Hurst said. “I think the positives outweigh any negatives.”

Hurst added that the, currently being revised, Multi Family Tax Emption could be a tool the city could use for affordable housing as well.

The motion passed 5-2 with council members Patrick Decker and Jim Smith voting no.

Lynnwood Day Use of International Women’s Day Event

On July 1, staff announced a call for event partnerships seeking interest from community organizations in offering community events and festivals which would grant one of the City’s four annual Convention Center Use days. The City received 8 applications which were filtered down to four requests, presented to council for approval at their August 8 Business Meeting.

At that Business Meeting, council approved three out of the four events including WAGRO Day of the Dead Celebration on October 29, Pacifica Chamber Orchestra Classical Music for All on January 21, 2023, and Verdant Community Verdant Cares on November 5. The International Women’s Day event, however, council determined needed more discussion and a scheduling motion was passed to hold the discussion September 6. None of the other applicants were requested to present their event to council. The difference, Council Vice President Jim Smith, explained at last week’s meeting was the other three were already established organizations.

At council’s meeting September 6, Sarah Olsen, PRCA Deputy Director, presented to council an application by Naz Lashgari and Dianne Miller to utilize the Lynnwood Convention Center for a proposed International Women’s Day event entitled Break the Bias. This proposal returned to council Monday and was approved unanimously.

Kienan Briscoe

Kienan Briscoe is a 9-time award winning journalist who has worked for a variety of publications including Pulitzer Prize-finalist Puget Sound Business Journal, Sound Publishing, Game Rant, and the University of Washington's newsroom. Before making the leap to news reporting he worked as a freelance writer in New York City. He holds a degree in Journalism from Arizona State University. Journalism, to him, is one of the most important tools for informing the public and holding governments accountable to the people. When he is not reporting he enjoys writing fiction and poetry (author of three novels), playing guitar, reading classic literature, and getting outdoors.

Kienan Briscoe has 434 posts and counting. See all posts by Kienan Briscoe

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