Future wetland mitigation will need council OK | City brief

Oct 05, 2016

No more wetlands will be expanded at 92nd Street Park.

Mukilteans are upset because a wetland was expanded and a buffer was added in the park as mitigation so that a home could be built in the Chennault Beach neighborhood.

The wetland is the first mitigated since the City Council implemented the Critical Area Mitigation Program four years ago. The program didn’t require council approval of each project.

The program allows developers to maximize the value of a property with a wetland through off-site mitigation. A low-value wetland can be filled in if a more valuable wetland off-site is enhanced.

The Mukilteo City Council on Oct. 3 voted to change the program so that all future mitigation projects will need to be OK’d by the council. No other projects are in the works.

“The public is really upset about what happened at 92nd Street Park,” Council Vice President Steve Schmalz said. “It really took away from the park.”

The existing wetland was expanded by about 6,000 square feet with a 25-foot buffer. A 4,000-square-foot wetland in the 10400 block of 66th Place West was filled in.

Mitigation involved the excavation of the site to match the elevation of the adjacent wetland, preparing the property so that it simulated a wetland, and planting of a variety of native species in and around the site.

The developer paid for the mitigation. A maintenance plan also requires him to pay for the monitoring and replanting of the wetland for the next 10 years.

“When it (the program) was proposed, I thought it would happen in Japanese Gulch,” Councilmember Richard Emery said. “If I had known it would have the impact on 92nd Street Park as it has, I might have thought of it differently.”

Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said mitigation won’t be allowed at 92nd Street Park anymore: “We won’t be doing that again.”

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