Council candidates envision waterfront redevelopment

5-week Q/A series showcases candidate views on Mukilteo’s top issues
By Nicholas Johnson | Jul 19, 2017
Courtesy of: candidates Eight of 10 Mukilteo City Council candidates responded to a set of five questions from the Mukilteo Beacon. Candidates pictured above include (from top left) incumbent City Council President Bob Champion, Peter Zieve, Tina Over, Anna Rohrbough, Tony Markey, Sarah Kneller, James Yoo and Riaz Khan. Position 3 candidates Troy Gray and Maxwell Chen did not respond to the Beacon's questions.

This week, the Mukilteo Beacon’s ongoing Q/A series with candidates for City Council takes a look at plans to redevelop the city’s downtown waterfront.

The 5-week series, now in its fourth week, began June 28 with a question on commercial air service coming to Paine Field airport. In its second week, the Beacon asked candidates where they stand on a proposed sales tax measure headed to the November general election ballot. Last week, candidates told us whether they would have voted for the “welcoming city” resolution passed by the City Council in June.

If you’ve missed any of those, visit mukilteobeacon.com to find the candidates’ answers.

All 10 candidates were given a week to consider five questions and submit answers of no more than 200 words for each. Eight provided responses.

This week’s question: Construction of a new ferry terminal over the next two years will move the city closer to enacting its own plans for redeveloping the waterfront from Lighthouse Park to Edgewater Beach. The city’s January 2016 Downtown Waterfront Master Plan, much of which is grant dependant, boasts improved waterfront access for pedestrians, beach restoration and enhancement, space for local businesses, more parks and recreational options, as well as historical signage. What is your vision for Mukilteo’s waterfront, and how does it compare with the city’s current plan?

 

Pos. 1

 

Anna Rohrbough

We have a tremendous asset in Mukilteo. Citizens of our community have spent a lot of their personal time working on the vision that captures the beauty and use of our waterfront. I believe the waterfront master plan has been very thoughtful in its design, giving room for a balance of recreation and reflection.

I want to be conscious of our already crowded waterfront. While I want to attract businesses and recreation areas that foster community, I understand the need to address the parking and traffic concerns at the same time.

In the current master plan, there is a parking garage. While it would certainly serve the Mukilteo residents and those that are just as much a part of our community that live outside our city, we also need to continue to investigate alternative parking options and traffic flow. There may not just be one answer in the long run.

It is important to note that we don’t have control over the entire waterfront. I will collaborate to build our influence with the other entities and with our community so we can all achieve a unified vision that brings enjoyment for all. See you on the promenade!

 

Riaz Khan

Mukilteo’s most magnetic attraction is its waterfront, and my vision for redevelopment is a very positive one.

This new project will bring some seasonal jobs. Seven months out of the year will be very cold, and very few people will be visiting or shopping at the waterfront.

On the other hand, a study was done, which shows 500 parking spaces are needed on the waterfront. However, there is not enough parking to meet demand at Lighthouse Park, as well as at the nearby train station, ferry terminal and businesses.

Last year, Patricia Love, the city’s community development director, said, “I don’t think there will be a one-size fits all solution … the demand – it’s just too high. We’ll have to look at different strategies.”

Mukilteo did not pay for the $47,500 study. Sound Transit, the Port of South Whidbey and Island County footed the bill. However, the city provided staff time to manage it.

The waterfront redevelopment is dependent on grants, and construction workers will be carrying heavy loads on Mukilteo roads. Therefore, I feel the city should add a clause in the contract for fixing the main roads for at least five years so that residents don’t have to carry that load.

 

James Yoo

A vibrant waterfront is an essential need for Mukilteo. I also want to see improved access for pedestrians, beach restoration and enhancement, space for local businesses, and more parks and recreational options, among the other items discussed in the master plan.

What I think the plan fails to address is expanding access and opportunities for our aging population. We need more options for seniors.

The addition of a community/recreational facility for seniors, or a “senior center,” must be included in any waterfront development plan. With the addition of the new Boys and Girls Club, the location of the former Boys and Girls Club would be a good site to consider for a senior center.

It is also important that we find a way to provide these improvements without unnecessary daily use fees to our residents and visitors.

 

Pos. 2

 

Bob Champion

I voted to approve the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan and share the vision of those dedicated groups and individuals who worked so long and hard on this labor of love.

This project was truly a collaborative effort, and I am proud to have worked with our dedicated city staff, the planning commission, the parks and arts commission, the Mukilteo Historical Society, the tribes, the chamber of commerce, my fellow residents and many other groups on a plan that keeps our heritage alive and envisions a future that keeps Mukilteo unique and beautiful.

 

Peter Zieve

I was one of the first residents to use Edgewater Beach when Mayor Gregerson opened it up in 2014. I have congratulated her for her decision to open this up.

The waterfront development plan is excellent. There are a few things I would like to improve. I would like to maintain some beach at high water. I would like beach access to pass under the ferry terminal ramp.

 

Tina Over

I envision the Mukilteo waterfront to be busy with both people and new businesses.

I know that I would like to see a place that appeals to people of all ages. I would like to look into something that would appeal to our high school students, such as a skate park or a rock wall. There could also be a water feature where anyone can run through on nice days or get your feet wet. More seating and benches are also a necessity.

 

Pos. 3

 

Tony Markey

The Waterfront Master Plan represents the hard work of our amazing planning commission. It’s a terrific effort from our commissioners.

Still, there are problems. In the current plan, the Mt. Baker crossing represents traffic “leakage” through Old Town. That’s unacceptable.

We also need to manage WSF and their activities carefully. While they’ve been helpful, it’s clear that WSF has their own agenda, so for the short-term we’ll be fighting for our vision of Mukilteo – even for simple issues like access to Ivar’s from the ferry holding area. The city had to insist upon this idea to even get it on WSF’s radar.

The traffic problem remains, too. By WSF’s own admission, ferry walk-on traffic will increase by 124 percent in the next 20 years or so. WSF believes all new walk-on traffic will be taking the bus. Nonsense.

Professionally, I’ve had similar negotiations with contractors. We need council members that have negotiated with community partners and understand how to address and resolve these issues.

A pedestrian overpass and help for our parking problem must remain a vital part of the conversation with WSF. We cannot allow WSF to absolve itself of responsibility with an excuse that won’t hold water. Pun intended.

 

Sarah Kneller

As a resident living on 2nd Street facing north, the new ferry terminal parking lot is going directly in front of my home. My family is among some of the most impacted residents in the city during this project.

I have liked what I’ve seen of the walkable waterfront development plan thus far. I like the mixed-use recreational, active and natural landscapes that have been incorporated to provide a variety of aesthetics. I love the boardwalk, and look forward to finding a safe pedestrian overpass option connecting Rosehill, Goat Trail Road and Olympic View Middle School to the waterfront via safe pedestrian passages.

We currently need to address a lack of parking, which is an ongoing issue, as is traffic mitigation with the ferry and Sounder unloading. We still need to find a safe option that keeps cars out of the neighborhoods and gets them to the main arterials in an efficient manner.

A walkable, family friendly, easily navigated waterfront with a mix of active and natural landscapes is what I envision, and I’m excited to live in a community so close to the project.

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