ICOM donates land to HP Boulevard SW project after months of delay

City not sure when they will go to bid on project
By Brandon Gustafson | Jun 27, 2018
Riaz Khan

The last piece of land needed by the city of Mukilteo for the Harbour Pointe Boulevard SW Widening Project was finally obtained last Monday, June 18.

According to the city of Mukilteo’s website, the project will construct a shared-use path along with landscaping on the south side (right side if driving towards the Mukilteo Speedway) of Harbour Pointe Boulevard Southwest. The channelization also will be reconfigured at the intersection of Harbour Pointe Boulevard Southwest and Cyrus Way to add left turn phases to all directions of travel.

The city received $987,790 from the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB), and the rest of the money for the project, $659,860, is from local funds from the city’s REET (Real Estate Excise Tax) II budget.

The Islamic Center of Mukilteo (ICOM) donated the 2,000 square feet of their property to the city last Monday, according to ICOM President Riaz Khan, who is also a candidate for state senator for the 21st Legislative District.

“We are doing a big favor to the city for the sake of humanity and the beauty of Mukilteo,” Khan said. “The ICOM group is pleased to donate 2,000 square feet even though we have limited space. We’re happy to donate for the betterment of the city.”

City staff and elected officials see it differently.

According to Public Works Director Mick Matheson, the city’s intent was to go to bid for this project in 2018, but due to two roadblocks, that may not happen.

“The first was we were waiting on a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding a wetland being filled, and now we have to create a new wetland,” Matheson said. “The other roadblock was obtaining the right-of-way donation from ICOM.”

Matheson said the city received right-of-way donations from two other businesses over the last several months.

While Khan said he and his group are doing the city a favor by donating the land, Matheson said that’s not the case.

“Any project with frontage is required to donate right-of-way,” he said. “It’s a condition of the project.”

Matheson also said ICOM requested a deviation on frontage improvements where the city would build those improvements for them, and the city agreed.

“About $240,000 is how much they would have paid for those improvements,” Matheson said. “ICOM has been slow coming to the table. We’ve been asking them for months now, and this week, they finally signed it.”

Matheson sent Khan a letter on March 28, laying out what was required by ICOM for this project.

“As you are aware, Mukilteo Municipal Code 15.04.060 Right-of-Way improvements required for permit issuance, as well as the city of Mukilteo Development Standards, require development proposals to dedicate right-of-way and install frontage improvements, including but not limited to paving, curb and gutter, sidewalk, and landscaping as part of their project,” Matheson’s letter said.

Matheson later says that the city determined the width of the dedication needed from ICOM and documents that required Khan’s signature were provided to ICOM on Oct. 17, 2017, and to Khan personally on Nov. 27, 2017.

Matheson gave Khan and ICOM two potential options the city would have if ICOM didn’t present the city with the documents in order to get the permit issued.

The first was “the city shall have the option to require building permit applicants to provide a payment in lieu of improvement.”

The city’s estimated amount was $236,628.55.

The other option was the city not being able to continue with the project without the right-of-way dedication, and if the city didn’t go to construction for the project, ICOM would be “required to install frontage improvements at ICOM’s sole expense along with the necessary right-of-way dedication as part of your project with the Building Permit.”

Councilmember Scott Whelpley is upset that the process took so long.

“He (Khan) was dragging his feet,” Whelpley said. “We talked about this eight months ago. We as a city are helping them. He had engineers making excuses.”

Whelpley said Khan told him roughly a month ago that he’d signed papers donating the land to the city, but later heard from city staff that that wasn’t the case.

Whelpley said he told Khan he was planning to write a letter to The Beacon telling the community that Khan was delaying the project and had lied to him about signing the papers, and believes that’s what prompted Khan to sign off.

“I’ve been leaning on him to get this done,” Whelpley said. “The city has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars. He’s got his own agenda, and he’s running for office; I get that. But at the same time, this is costing the city time and money.”

Khan said that although the donation was a requirement, it was still a big deal that ICOM donated it in the first place.

“It’s still a donation of holy land,” Khan said.

Khan said he waited so long to sign the papers because he was waiting on the city to receive the permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.

“My condition was as soon as the city received the permits, I’d sign,” Khan said. “I didn’t want to donate until then because it’s a long process to get that land back if it (the project) doesn’t work.”

Matheson, however, says that Khan’s claim is false.

“The city received notice of the Army Corps of Engineers permit approval on Monday, June 18,” Matheson said. “Mr. Khan had no knowledge of when we received the Army Corps approval until we told him we had received it when he arrived at City Hall to sign the right-of-way donation documents.”

As for Whelpley’s claims, Khan wants to move on.

“Scott Whelpley called me and called me a liar, but I just want to let it go,” Khan said. “I want to see the betterment of Mukilteo and see its growth. We (ICOM) support the project and want to make it happen.”

Matheson said last Friday that the city was around 95 percent complete with the design portion of the project, but couldn’t complete it until ICOM donated the land.

According to the city’s website, the original timeline for the project was for the design portion to occur between April 2016 and February 2018, then to go to bid with a contractor in March of 2018, and for construction to occur between June of 2018 and October of 2018.

Matheson said he isn’t sure when the city will go out to bid on the project, or when construction will occur.

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