Letter: Road closure isolates Smuggler's Gulch residents

Aug 23, 2017

In February 2017, a slide deposited around 15 yards, about two truck loads, of mud and uprooted plant material on 61st Place Southwest. There has been no substantial slide activity or ground movement in the five months since the initial slide.

Rather than assist in any way, the city officially closed the street, leaving homeowners and emergency vehicles no way in or out of their neighborhood, even though the road is currently clear of slide debris.

Homeowners on the adjoining plat north of the slide area granted their neighbors temporary emergency use of their private multi-family driveway so they could get to the city street. At the same time, they asked the city to reopen 61st Place Southwest as soon as possible, for safety and liability issues. Their dark and unlighted, winding, one-lane private driveway is maintained at the neighbors’ own expense and is not designed for nor is it safe to function as a public thoroughfare.

Their generosity now leaves them caught in a bind between trying to be good neighbors and needing to prevent damage through overuse of their driveway – the only means of accessing their own homes. It is not their neighbors’ responsibility to jeopardize their own private property by allowing it to be used as a public road. It is the city of Mukilteo’s responsibility to maintain its city streets.

In a letter to affected homeowners, dated July 25, 2017, the city’s Public Works Director Mick Matheson affirmed the city’s intent to declare 61st Place West closed for the foreseeable future and deny homeowners access to their own homes, though employees of the city and Burlington Northern Railroad continue to use the street at will.

Mr. Matheson’s letter to affected residents encouraged “retention of appropriate professionals in your discretion,” suggesting that we as individuals would have to sue the city in order to get them to do the right thing.

Mayor Jennifer Gregerson was informed of our issue, but has not replied to homeowners. We deserve better governance and better services from the city. We ask for the immediate opening of at least one lane of the city street for the use of local residents, as well as emergency and service vehicles.

 

Roger and Mary Bess Johnson,
Peter Newnham, Jim Weber
Mukilteo
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