City wants your input on waterfront site
EVERETT - The city wants the public involved in the next phase of the redevelopment of the former Kimberly-Clark mill site.
Everett put a six-month moratorium on new construction there as it works through analyzing the future of the 93-acre waterfront site, which the city is calling the Central Waterfront Area.
The city cannot dictate what Kimberly-Clark does with its site, but it can modify the zoning to restrict what goes on it. Right now, the zoning allows basically almost all uses except housing.
It’s too early to say whether the zoning will change, city planning director Allan Giffen said last week. What is clear is that the public wants a large employer to bring family-wage jobs to the site, a goal that Mayor Ray Stephanson also has shared publicly.
“The short answer is we don’t know yet,” Giffen said, because the city just started working on getting public input.
A community forum about the site held earlier this month brought out more than 100 people with a variety of opinions. Quite a few people said they wanted jobs on the site, public access to the waterfront and some want a deep-water port to turn Everett into a larger shipping terminal.
If you missed your chance to comment this go-around, the city has a questionnaire online at www.everettwa.org. Jump to the “Planning” page to locate the survey. If you prefer a hardcopy of the questionnaire, call 425-257-8731 and the city will mail one out to you. All questionnaires should be completed and returned to the planning department office by Friday, April 27.
Kimberly-Clark intends to demolish the buildings this summer. The mill closed Sunday, April 15.
Who Kimberly-Clark wants to sell the site to could impact the site’s future, Giffen said. Numerous other stakeholders also will have a say on the site’s future, Giffen said.
“Whether or not this (process) leads to changes … that remains to be seen,” Giffen said.
The city hired an economic consultant to analyze the site. The next public input meeting is at least four weeks away and will happen after the consultant completes his report, Giffen said.
The site is currently zoned in a way that allows heavy industrial, commercial, light industrial and can hold hospitals and college facilities. Housing is not allowed.
If the zoning does not change, a plan could be in place by the time the moratorium expires in mid-August, Giffen said.
If the city wants to change the zoning, that could push back the timeline before anything could be built.
If changing the city’s comprehensive plan is needed for the waterfront site, it could add a year to the process. If the shoreline master plan needs to be changed, that could add a second year before anything is built, Giffen said.
There’s also the question of whether further soil cleanup will be necessary after the mill buildings are demolished. That could hold up any new construction on the site.
The state Department of Ecology has yet to name the parties that will be responsible for the cleanup, but Ecology has determined the water around the site is contaminated and needs to be cleaned up. The city, Kimberly-Clark and the Port of Everett all could be liable, city officials said.
The city will regularly update people on the next steps of the process on its website at www.everettwa.org/default.aspx?ID=2048. It’s also accessible by searching the main city website for “Central Waterfront Planning Area.”
Everett TV taped the April 3 Waterfront Central Area forum, and the video is posted on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WRPc6Y9Jl4.
By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published April 18, 2012