Summertime council marches on

  • Written by Don Mann
With Mayor Chuck Price and Deputy Mayor Bernie Talmas in absentia, Councilmember Jeff Glickman slid into the big chair and did a bang-up job delivering the 2 hour, 40 minute regularly scheduled Woodinville City Council meeting on Tuesday (June 21).

Three business items were on the agenda, beginning with first reading of Ordinance No. 524: Downtown Zoning Code Amendments.

Development Services Director Hal Hart gave an overview of the possible six remands suggested by the planning commission:

1. Requiring pedestrian space at a rate of 2 percent of the project site, instead of the current 1 percent required.

2. Allowing 10 percent of the total downtown plan to be allocated to affordable housing.

3. Ensuring that landscaped, raised pedestrian pathways with trees, lighting and covered walkways through parking areas accompany large format store site planning criteria.

4. Amending that "Northwest Woodland Character" would be further defined in city code by creating an appendix with photographs and sketches that can be useful in the development process.

5. Defining the "Director’s Decision Criteria" in decision-making (Hart’s job in lieu of developers) that will require a written record with other department heads, design review committees and project contractors.

6. Requiring a minimum residential standard in the city’s pedestrian core: lots greater than 20,000 square feet shall adhere to the base density of the underlying zone.

Jens Molbak, proprietor of Molbak’s Garden and Home, was the lone speaker during the public hearing.

He expressed concern that the suggested 15-foot buffer between the street’s walkway and his parking lot was too large, citing the nearly 19,000 square feet was too much to lose.

"The five-foot quality buffer can effectively separate pedestrians from parking lots," he said, noting that he hired a consultant to oversee the situation, while submitting a written report to the council.

Under the proposed code, he said, Molbak’s would lose the entire front row of its parking, particularly detrimental in its busy season. The council decided to take up the matter further at its July 5 meeting.

The next business item was a public hearing on Ordinance No. 525, which imposed a moratorium on residential density incentives and transfer of residential density credits. As background, on May 3, 2011, the council adopted Emergency Code No. 525, to immediately suspend provisions of WMC 21.34 and 21.36 that allow up to a 150 percent increase in the development density above the adopted zoning regulations and/or the transfer of certain development rights between properties.

In the public hearing, one citizen spoke in favor of keeping the ordinance intact, and council agreed by a 5-0 vote.

The last item of business concerned changing membership requirements for the city’s emergency preparedness & public safety commission.

There are currently nine appointed (by council) commissioners, two of whom are "ex-officio," meaning they don’t live in Woodinville and do not vote on issues, which ultimately get relayed to council.

There was some concern by some that EPPSC commissioners, despite their expertise, did not live within city limits.

The intent of the proposal, Alexandra Sheeks, assistant to the city manager said, was to widen the potential pool of commission applicants, having struggled to fill some recent vacancies.

Said Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders: "I’m concerned about outsiders with self-interest using this as a way to infiltrate Woodinville and undercut citizens’ interests in favor of their own."

The motion to pass first reading of Ordinance No. 526 carried 4-1, with Boundy-Sanders in the minority.


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