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Woodinville City Council Considers Creating Public Spaces Commission

  • Written by David B. Clark

The Woodinville City Council met on November 6, 2018.  Assistant to the City Manager, Kellye Mazzoli, presented to council on Ordinance No. 675 to Create a Public Spaces Commission. Mazzoli explained that this would be done by consolidating the functions of the Tree Board and Parks and Recreation Commission. Mazzoli explained to the Council that the Tree Board and the Parks and Recreation groups both favored this integration which has led its way to Council’s deliberation. 

To help illustrate the benefits of collaboration between the two groups, Mazzoli used the parable of the three stonecutters. The story tells of a traveler who approaches three different individuals that are all cutting stone for various reasons, yet they share the same goal of building a cathedral. Mazzoli said, “The idea behind sharing the parable is to let us focus our energy on building the cathedral; in our case it’s building great public spaces for the community to enjoy.” She continued to highlight that a central focus on great public spaces is not just trees or parks but everything as a whole. The American Planning Association defines great public spaces as those that. “… are designed to support community quality of life by creating a space in which all elements of the built environment work together for the benefit of the community members.”

Mazzoli says that a Public Space Commission would be ideal for fostering some of the city’s values and ideas concerning the environment and public art. The group would be a place that centralized “big-picture” thinking while serving as an entity to field public opinions on reimagining public spaces. Mazzoli also offered that it could heighten citizen engagement and be an effective use of citizen and staff time.

Mazzoli stated that all seven members who are currently appointed to both groups collectively would be given the option to transition to the new group if the ordinance was passed.

Councilmember Al Taylor and Deputy Mayor Elaine Cook commented that they would want members of this new group to be Woodinville residents which as written, was not required. Mazzoli explained that the current Parks and Recreation members stated that they did not want to limit candidates by mandating Woodinville residency. As written, the ordinance stated that seven members would need to live in Woodinville with two additional ex officio members being able to live outside of the city.

Mayor Evans commented that he would also likely align with the requirement of residency.

Deputy Mayor Cook moved to pass the first reading of this ordinance. She then stated that it was “visionary” and “forward-thinking” after commending Mazzoli for all of her diligent and hard work. “I have faith in the work that has been done… futuristically this is the right thing,” said Cook.

Mayor Evans then called for a vote for an amendment to the main motion offered by Councilmember Taylor to require five of the members to live within the Woodinville city limits, and four that could serve as ex officio members without voting privileges that would be able to live outside of the city. 

Councilmember Paula Watters and Deputy Mayor Cook voted No while the remaining four members voted Yes. The ordinance was then amended.
After heavy debate which all council members participated and several members of staff, Mayor Evans called for a roll-call vote to pass Ordinance No. 675 to create a Public Spaces Commission.

Councilmember Susan Bound-Sounders was the only member to vote No.

The second reading and possible approval of the ordinance will be at the November 13 City Council meeting.

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