Should city sell small gulch land to buy large gulch land?
MUKILTEO - The city is still pursuing the last piece of Japanese Gulch, but the idea of offering already-acquired gulch land as a bargaining chip ires Council President Richard Emery.
There is an idea floating to use the Precht property, which the city bought in 2008, as a trade-off for the last large piece not owned by the city.
That piece is being sold by a land trust. The city is working with the nonprofit Forterra (formerly the Cascade Land Conservancy) to acquire it.
The 8.7-acre Precht property is in the middle of Japanese Gulch. Council members said giving that up as a trade could put development right in the center.
When the council bought Precht as part of preserving Japanese Gulch, there was no assumption it could be sold, Councilman Kevin Stoltz said.
“It was an option I was hoping I’d never have to deal with,” Emery said of the negotiations.
Mayor Joe Marine warned that the piece may be needed for negotiations.
“That Precht piece won’t look as beautiful with three sides of light industrial around it,” Marine said.
If the city can’t acquire all of Japanese Gulch, then Precht would be a “$1.9 million piece of property without a use,” Councilwoman Linda Grafer said.
Councilman Randy Lord disagrees with giving up Precht.
“Precht is the flattest, most usable property for parks,” Lord said. He added if the city only went halfway on preserving all of Japanese Gulch, the city doesn’t really want Japanese Gulch.
No road around Japanese Gulch
The City Council struck out language allowing the study of an alternative way to the waterfront by making a road around Japanese Gulch.
The strikeout happened during the city’s annual overview of its comprehensive plan docket. The docket sets what items city planners will study.
Emery led a motion to remove the road from the comprehensive plan. Councilmen Stoltz, Lord, Steve Schmalz and Councilwomen Jennifer Gregerson and Grafer supported it.
Councilwoman Emily Vanderwielen dissented. The topic needs further study before it’s eliminated, Vanderwielen said.
At the same meeting, Stoltz introduced a resolution directing the city to work with Everett to have Everett deannex the Precht property, which is owned by Mukilteo but mostly inside Everett city limits.
Stoltz’ amendment also deletes any reference to an alternate access road through Japanese Gulch.
By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published March 28, 2012