Mukilteo in talks to get more waterfront land
Mukilteo is in talks with the Port of Everett to transfer about another 2 acres of waterfront property to the city.
That land is in addition to the 10 acres of the Tank Farm that Mukilteo is slated to get from the port. However, half of the Tank Farm transfers to the city would only be temporary.
Mukilteo is in negotiations to obtain ownership and/or permanent access to properties totaling 7.3 acres from the port that the city already operates and maintains, at least partially. The land is valued at $1-2 million, a port spokesperson said.
In exchange, the city would agree to continue to provide property operations and maintenance. These costs are not yet known.
Three additional properties up for transfer are: land within Lighthouse Park near the boat launch, the existing ferry terminal site and Edgewater Park.
With Tank Farm transfers and Mukilteo-Everett annexations pending, now is the perfect time to work on other property ownership issues on the waterfront, said Patricia Love, the city’s community development director.
“The port actually owns quite a few pieces of property that is along the city’s waterfront,” Love said. “As part of that, we would like to look at one transfer – so not just the property on the Tank Farm, but other properties that the port owns within Mukilteo.”
Love said this extra acreage would provide multiple places of interest to visitors along the waterfront and help “reduce pressure” on Lighthouse Park – which is so popular that it doesn’t have enough parking to meet demand.
She described the pieces of waterfront property, including the permanent 5 acres on the Tank Farm, as intermittent “pearls on a necklace.”
Here’s a look at what else Mukilteo might get on the waterfront:
The Port of Everett owns a 0.09-acre piece within Lighthouse Park just south of the boat launch. This property has been integrated into renovations of the park and treated as if it were part of the park for at least 30 years. Mukilteo fully maintains this property.
“I think it was originally part of where the boat launch was going to go, and then the boat launch ended up in a different location,” Love said.
She said the state had a lease agreement with the port for this piece, before Lighthouse Park was deeded to the city, but it expired years ago – and no one at the port seemed to remember it was theirs.
Ferry terminal site
The existing ferry terminal sits on about 0.33 acres of land owned by the Port of Everett. When the ferry is relocated to the Tank Farm, this property no longer would be needed by the port or Washington State Ferries.
“This is the portion of the dead-end street and where the ferry terminal building sits,” Love said. “We could see a lot of public uses for that building.”
Transfer of this land would require permission from both the port and WSF – and the city has yet to talk to WSF about it. Mukilteo provides maintenance at the pier as needed.
Edgewater Park, in Everett, is about 2 acres and is upland from a 22-acre beach by the same name.
Together, the city and the port recently opened interim access to the park. It had been closed since 2005.
In exchange for this access, Mukilteo agreed to partially maintain the property and provide emergency response. This costs the city about $10,000 a year, Love said.
The port has plans to build a road and sidewalk from the Mt. Baker crossing to the park. When that happens, the interim access would be closed.
“They repeatedly say that they are not in the ‘park business,’ they are in the ‘port business,’” Love said. “It’s mostly used by residents of Mukilteo, so they see that that would be a good fit as well.”
If this property is transferred to Mukilteo, the port would require permanent access and a parking easement to serve the Mt. Baker terminal.
Several councilmembers on Monday were concerned with how much property maintenance would cost the city – essentially forever – but all of them were still OK with continuing negotiations. Councilmember Christine Cook was absent.
“We pay a lot of money in taxes to the port,” Councilmember Steve Schmalz said. “As far as I know, what they give us is a little fishing dock off of Ivar’s and not much more.
“We’ve [already] paid for it and then some on this.”
Mukilteo will pay $630,000 in property taxes to the Port of Everett in 2014, port spokesperson Lisa Lefeber said. That is 14 percent of all taxes the port will receive this year.
Councilmember Bob Champion agreed with Schmalz.
“I’m skeptical about the no out-of-pocket cost,” Champion said. “I do think somewhere down the way we will find a hole in our pocket.”
Love noted that the port has invested $3.8 million into Mukilteo since 1998, including work on the Tank Farm transfer.
Mukilteans may pay port taxes and for maintenance of these properties, but the port has also paid millions to benefit the city, she said.
“As we move forward with the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan, we will have time to identify possible ongoing costs,” Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said. “It’s hard to say right now, because we don’t know yet what the uses will be.”