Looking ahead at plans for the Mukilteo waterfront | Mayor's Message
I am keeping busy as your Mayor and reaching out to many organizations in our City. In fact, last month, I participated in meetings with more than 500 people.
One of the first things many people ask me about is our waterfront. Although there aren’t many visual changes yet, there are many moving parts happening collaboratively. This month, I’d like to share a status update on Mukilteo’s waterfront and some of the major milestones that we can look forward to in the future.
One of my commitments to the community was to open up access to Edgewater Beach and Park by this summer. The City is moving forward on this plan—we’ve identified a route from the Sound Transit turnaround that will connect to an existing paved path along the water. Because this will be a very simple (and inexpensive) project, our goal is to construct and open this access by the end of April. The City is also happy to have the support of Senator Marko Liias, to ensure that we are able to work productively with WSF at little to no cost for the access.
For a long-term plan, the Port of Everett continues to plan for their vehicle/bike/pedestrian access route that will connect Mukilteo Lane with a new road on the landward side of the tank farm. This construction should be finished sometime next year.
As you know, the 20 acres of the tank farm was transferred to the Port of Everett a few months ago. This has started a new phase of action for our waterfront.
One of the first steps in Mukilteo’s waterfront development is for a site plan to be approved. The Port of Everett is working with our city staff and stakeholders from several groups: Sound Transit, Washington State Ferries, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and others, including the Tulalip Tribes. The Port will divide up the property into separate lots and tracts that will be transferred to each of the stakeholders. The City of Mukilteo will actually receive the largest portion, about 10 acres. That area includes larger parcels near Park Avenue, where the tank farm property begins, as well as the streets and open space in the area, and easements for public access along the water for the full length (the “promenade”). Negotiations on that site plan are happening now and will be finalized sometime this year at the staff level, with City Council oversight of the final agreement for the portions being transferred to our City.
The existing zoning for the tank farm is Waterfront Mixed Use, which helps define what property owners are able to do. There are design standards, requirements for commercial, office and residential uses, and limits on height, among other things.
The biggest project for the waterfront is moving the WSF Ferry Terminal. About two weeks ago, a public hearing was held for the first big permit that WSF needs for their project. Many Mukilteo residents attended and provided testimony. The City staff presented several mitigation measures that we’re asking to be approved. Some of these included limited hours for construction activity generally, and cooperation to limit work during big events like the Lighthouse Festival and Farmers Market, traffic control officers to help direct traffic throughout the construction, noise reduction and vehicle idling reductions once the terminal is operating, shielding of lighting impacts, and other requests. The Hearing Examiner will issue his decision in about another week or less. Once that happens, there is one more step for the State Department of Ecology to approve, and then WSF will move forward.
This fall, WSF plans to begin removing the old tank farm pier. They’ll use barges and start from the waterside. The creosote pilings of the pier represent 4 percent of all creosote pilings in Puget Sound. These aren’t healthy for our waters and it will be good to have them removed. That pier removal will take about 18 months, with some down time during sensitive times for salmon.
The rest of the WSF Ferry Terminal construction is slated to happen in 2017-2019. They’ll continue to refine their design in the coming years.
Two acres on the tank farm are dedicated specially to NOAA, which has labs and facilities on the tank farm right now, adjacent to the Silver Cloud. They are beginning a two-phase planning process for their property off of Front Street for near term maintenance and long-term development of the site. City staff will launch these discussions with NOAA this month.
As you read this, I’m in Washington D.C. attending a national cities conference with Council members Champion and Cook, and one thing we’ll be doing is advocating for funding of NOAA’s long term site development.
We are also talking with the City of Everett about de-annexing some areas from their city, and annexing them to ours. These include Japanese Gulch, and some areas closer to the waterfront, including the tank farm property. This is an ongoing discussion, and one that will likely come forward to the Council in April, but won’t be resolved for a few months after that.
Development of the Sound Transit south platform continues; structural steel beams should be erected sometime this month, via crane. They are scheduled to complete the platform by September. The new platform will reduce conflicts with freight traffic by keeping the Sounder trains on the appropriate tracks when they drop off and pick up riders.
There are a lot of exciting things going on with our waterfront, and will be for many years.
Please continue to reach out to me and let me know how I’m doing. I love hearing from you.