Planning commission recommends development option
EVERETT - The planning commission last week recommended a plan for redevelopment in the Central Waterfront Planning Area, which includes the former Kimberly-Clark mill.
The City Council will vote on the preferred development alternative in the coming months, planning director Allan Giffen said. Currently there is a one-year development moratorium on the property that lasts through February.
The preferred alternative will work for the four parties interested in buying the property, Kimberly-Clark’s real estate broker Dave Speers of Kidder Matthews said.
The four parties all would utilize the site’s deepwater port and connected rail lines, Speers’ partner Matt Henn said.
The Port of Everett, which Henn acknowledged is one of the four parties interested, said it could work with the recommended development option.
The preferred alternative keeps the land zoned for industrial uses and allows for water-dependent uses along the shoreline and non-water-dependent uses inland. The alternative also calls for public access to the water. The site includes the mill at 2600 Federal Ave. and adjacent properties.
A public access point to the water is required along the shoreline in the plan, preferably on the site, but it’s not required on the site if a water-dependent industrial use moves in.
It would be difficult to put a park or walking trail on the mill site if an industrial use moves in, opponents of public access on the site, including Kimberly-Clark and the Port of Everett, say.
Kimberly-Clark, which has property on the tip of Everett’s peninsula, continues to suggest that area is more appropriate for public use. The company fought locating public access on the mill site as that could put people in danger by being next to an industrial site.
In a last-minute push, planning commissioner Chris Adams tried to require a public park next to the mill site, but it wasn’t included in the preferred alternative. He wants a park near downtown.
In many rounds of public comments, people said they want public access to the waterfront, but others said that would be unsafe. Ken Hudson, president of the local longshoremen’s union, said last week putting the public near industry is “a recipe for someone to get hurt.”
The preferred alternative allows numerous types of industry, but bans a few that could be considered smelly or unappealing.
The alternative specifically prohibits chemical plants, composting facilities, biofuel plants, concrete manufacturers and coal exports among other uses.
Kimberly-Clark objected to some of the prohibited uses, but was mostly overruled, Giffen said.
“In our estimation, the current version is a very fair compromise,” Speers said. The planning commission was given four development alternatives before recommending the preferred alternative last week.
The preferred alternative also requires creating view corridors to the water visible from Everett’s nearby east-west streets for any development.
The alternative takes into account security concerns raised by the Navy and the Port of Everett. The Navy wanted some unique restrictions, including prohibiting recreational boating or kayaking near the base, a ban on helipads and a ban on manufacturing explosive materials on the site.
The City Council will have the opportunity to refine the preferred development alternative in the coming months.
City Council candidate June Robinson, who was at the planning commission meeting, said she couldn’t identify anything she would change from what the planning commission approved. Robinson is running against Scott Bader and whoever wins in November will be part of the waterfront vote.
The city hopes to have a development plan in place before February when the development moratorium expires or can be renewed.
The preferred alternative will not require modifying the city’s shoreline master plan, which would have been a lengthy process delaying development on the property.
Everett TV taped last week’s waterfront meeting before the planning commission. The broadcast will be available online sometime in November.
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