City releases preferred alternative for waterfront
EVERETT - The city released its preferred development alternative last week for the Central Waterfront Planning Area, which includes the former 65-acre Kimberly-Clark mill property.
The preferred alternative encourages an industrial mix of water- and non-water-dependent uses and improvements for public access to the waterfront. The planning commission will hold a public hearing on the preferred alternative at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23 at Everett Station, 3201 Smith Street. The planning commission is expected to vote on a development alternative.
The site includes the mill at 2600 Federal Avenue and adjacent properties. The city has proposed four development alternatives. All four are on the city’s website, www.everettwa.org.
The preferred alternative envisions the property west of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks as a future employment center primarily for water-dependent uses along the harbor and a mix of water- and non-water-dependent uses outside the shoreline area. The city wants development there to meet high quality design standards.
While not a requirement, the optimal average density there would be 10 or more jobs per acre.
Public access is highly encouraged in both the water-dependent and non-water-dependent areas. Improvements for public access to the shoreline include building a viewpoint at the south end of the redevelopment area with connections to downtown and an enhanced pedestrian/bicycle trail along West Marine View Drive. The preferred alternative also says a pedestrian/bicycle connection from the west end of Hewitt Avenue and Terminal Avenue would “substantially” improve the connection between downtown and the suggested viewpoint. This idea would need to be discussed with Burlington.
Properties between the railroad right-of-way and West Marine View Drive would be a good site to develop into a gateway corridor, satisfying a goal of the city’s comprehensive plan for that area. Residential properties east of West Marine View Drive will remain the same but with viewpoints added in at street ends. The Bayside community garden will remain a garden or other public use, according to the preferred alternative. A portion of the garden is on Kimberly-Clark property.
The alternative doesn’t include a timeline for redevelopment. The mill is currently in the process of demolishing buildings and cleaning up contaminants on the property, which the latter will take several years to complete. The buildings are expected to be gone by early 2013. The Department of Ecology and Kimberly-Clark recently reached an agreement on a cleanup plan. People can learn about the cleanup plan at an open house at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29 at the Snohomish County PUD building in Everett at 2320 California St.
The preferred alternative took into account the top comments from the public, which wanted family wage jobs brought back to the site, additional access to the waterfront and habitat and environment restoration.
The Port of Everett and Naval Station Everett both have concerns with any potential redevelopment, primarily focusing on site security. The port is interested in buying the property to increase its capacity for maritime terminals. The Navy isn’t interested in buying the property.
Both agencies have concerns about opening up the harbor to recreational boating.
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