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By Kevin Stolz | Jul 24, 2019

Welcome to the introduction edition of an ambitious project to make sense out of everything Mukilteo and specifically Mukilteo’s waterfront area, what’s happening, why, what can we expect for the future, and what, if anything, we can do about it.

Mukilteo residents aren’t faring as well as we should be when it comes to all the changes we as a community are experiencing.

My objective in the series of articles that will follow will be a pragmatic, fact-based explanation of the history and the decisions that have been made which have determined where we are now and what our options are, and how we can best influence a positive quality of life for Mukilteo residents into the future.

Making sense out of everything that’s happening in Mukilteo and its impact on us is a daunting task because most everything in one way or another is related and has varying degrees of impact on the topic being discussed.

So, my grand idea is to cover each topic in a somewhat rapid-fire process and include the various issues that have or will influence the decision but to include and index after the information that can be expanded on. Then, as time and space allows, whether it’s in the current article or a future one, I’ll expand on the contributing topic later.

For example, suppose the topic we’re discussing is how Mukilteo’s waterfront is slated to become a series of parking lots instead of the shops and cultural facilities we believed would be there.

Contributing topics that have influenced this are:

1: City’s decision to eliminate parking in excess of four hours and overnight parking options.

2: The demise of the planned Mukilteo Park and Ride.

3: The Port of Everett allowing the Port of South Whidbey to create a commuter parking lot in their jurisdiction on the Tulalip Tribes portion of the tank farm.

All of these projects have a direct impact on the success and demand for the others leaving us with limited options for the future and shattering the expectations that many of us had for the future of the waterfront after the various development projects including the new ferry terminal have been completed.

There are still options available but understanding how we got here is critical to avoiding making the same mistakes that put us in the situation we’re in today.

Similarly, the impact that late night/early morning flights into, and out of, Paine Field are having on some of us and what we can do to improve the situation are directly influenced by:

1: The City and County not working to have a Plan B to include a voluntary noise curfew.

2: The reluctance of Boeing to make an effort to curtail Dreamlifter flights in the middle of the night.

3: The inability of those who are supposed to be representing us to understand the 1990 Airport Noise and Capacity Act, FAA aircraft operations in general, and noise specifically.

Now that you know the first two items on my list (and I’m interested in knowing which one you’d like to cover first), other broad categories include but are not limited to, local politics and the important decisions we will be making in the near future, secrets to getting to and around the waterfront, pedestrian and public safety issues in the waterfront area, transportation issues, and recreation and quality of life issues in Mukilteo.

Now, for some information about me and my perspective.

I moved to Mukilteo 35 years ago after receiving an engineering degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington, and went to work for Boeing in Everett as a young engineer for about six years.

While at Boeing, I worked in the maintenance manual group covering flight controls, as a noise staff engineer, and then for Boeing Computer Services.

There are a couple of things I learned while at Boeing that I carry with me today.

First, mini field trips are important. A few of us young engineers decided to go to the factory every Friday to get a better feel for the aircraft we were designing. That proved to be invaluable and I still do mini field trips today when trying to share perspectives of the waterfront.

Second (and this one was weird but enlightening for me), three of us were standing around discussing whatever and my friend and coworker Jim made the following statement to another friend and me: “Kevin, the difference between you and Terry are, Terry really wants Boeing to do well. You don’t care how Boeing does, you just can’t stand to see things done poorly.”

I was offended at the time, but later realized Jim’s analysis of me was correct, except that I really did want Boeing to do well. But it was more important to me that they didn’t do stupid things (some of which they are doing today).

My wife Dana and I lived in mid-Mukilteo for 20 years and have lived in Old Town near the waterfront for the past 15 years. During that time, we had two incredible kids, Zak and Kate, come into our lives and move out of Mukilteo to begin their own adventures.

I served two terms on the Mukilteo City Council between 2006 and 2013 where I learned how small town politics works (sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t).

I learned many things while on the council, but the single most important thing I learned about me was that people are the biggest barriers to getting things done, not the project.

The single biggest thing I learned about (some) of the others I served with was not everyone is in it for the residents they were elected to serve. That can be a challenge.

So, there you have it. The introduction to something I hope you’ll find beneficial and enlightening when trying to make sense out of the many things happening in and to our beautiful little city. Next time, we’ll jump right in and discuss the noise disruption many of us are experiencing due to aircraft operations at Paine Field and what a reasonable Plan B might look like.

Drop me a note at kstoltz@citynetwork.com if you have information to share or ideas for future articles. But please, if you’re not impacted by the late night/early morning noise from aircraft operations at Paine Field, you don’t need to tell me how happy you are. I’m happy for you.

 

 

 

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