By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published May 23, 2012
Jobs, access to waterfront among top suggestions for former mill site
EVERETT - People have plenty to say about what to do with the former Kimberly-Clark mill site, but a few trends are emerging.
People want family-wage jobs there. They want public access to the water. They want the contaminated site cleaned up quickly.
In other words, the people who gave their input in the city’s recent waterfront planning survey want the same things people said at a public forum a few months ago. The survey generated more than 300 responses.
The city wants as much input as it can get while it analyzes the former mill site area, called the Central Waterfront Planning Area. The city wants to reshape and mold 93 acres of waterfront land, which includes the mill site.
The city cannot dictate what Kimberly-Clark does with its site, but it can modify the zoning to restrict what goes on it next. Right now, the zoning allows for basically anything but housing.
The city has two consultants working on the planning effort.
Consulting economic analyst Greg Easton should have his economic report done in time for a public workshop next month. The workshop will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 19 at the Weyerhaeuser Room in Everett Station, 3201 Smith Ave. Easton’s report examines the economic viability of the former mill site.
This month is the halfway mark of a six-month development moratorium on the site. It is possible that moratorium could be extended, planning director Allan Giffen said. Mayor Ray Stephanson has said he wants the site thoroughly looked at before the city allows development there again.
At last week’s planning commission meeting, five people spoke on the waterfront plans.
Historic Everett has filed a request to preserve the site’s original 1930s buildings, the nonprofit group’s vice president Dave Ramstad said.
It could take a long time to develop anything on the site. The state Department of Ecology determined the land and nearby waterway is contaminated and must be cleaned up. The city wants the site cleaned up to a standard that would allow housing development, which is a more stringent threshold to meet than for commercial development.
The Port of Everett is seriously looking at the site to determine its interest in the property, port chief administrative officer Les Reardanz confirmed last week.
The port’s interest in the mill site would be for large cargo, Reardanz said.
Months ago, representatives of an oil refining company publicly expressed interest in placing a biofuels facility at the mill site.
Kimberly-Clark spokesman Bob Brand told this paper earlier this month there are many interested parties in the site. The site was put on the market in late April.
Any new development would have to talk with Naval Station Everett on any security risk concerns. The Navy has raised a concern about recreational use on the waterfront, such as boating and kayaking.
A significant chunk of input given asks for public access to the waterfront at this site. Planning commissioner Clair Olivers said he wasn’t sure why people would want to play in the dirty harbor waters.