Kimberly-Clark's request to alter demo permit rejected by city
EVERETT - City officials told Kimberly-Clark last week that it must cover its demolished mill site with topsoil and grass.
Kimberly-Clark wanted to spread crushed concrete across the site and asked the city to waive the grass requirement within its demolition permit in a June 10 letter.
The company says concrete maintains an industrial appearance to would-be industrial buyers and offers other benefits. Some residents following the Kimberly-Clark Mill demolition, though, think the company simply didn’t want to pay for a grass cover, which the company is quick to deny.
Kimberly-Clark’s waiver request also revealed to the city the company spread clean concrete fill within 200 feet of the shoreline, which may trigger city planners to require the company to obtain a shoreline permit.
The city now is requiring Kimberly-Clark to lay down a foot of grass over the 65-acre site by next April. The city extended the deadline because the state Department of Ecology will be conducting soil sampling to determine how contaminated the demolition debris is on the site and whether it has to go.
A Kimberly-Clark spokesman said last week the company will address the issues raised by the city.
Kimberly-Clark spokesman Bob Brand said the request to spread concrete isn’t about cost but about added benefits.
“The concrete provides a more stable and permeable base that will help control water run-off and erosion,” Brand wrote in an e-mail. “In addition, it also provides a better surface for the equipment that will have to access the site for the clean-up work and the redevelopment work that will occur in the future. Those were the primary reasons for the company’s decision to spread the concrete on the site.”
The crushed concrete is consistent with industrial zoning for the site, and poses no health or environmental risks to the community, Brand said in a separate e-mail.
Everett residents say the mill may be closed but they’d still have to look at the site.
“I’m sure it will look better for an industrial buyer, but the community has to live with it,” Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher said last week.
Andrea Tucker, chair of the Bayside Neighborhood that overlooks the mill site, said not keeping the site kept up would reinforce a decades-old stereotype of Everett as a dirty, unkempt mill town that the city actively began reversing in recent years.
“If we don’t do anything down there and it decays, it will reinforce those ideas, and Everett’s not that,” Tucker said.
Tucker disagreed with a company consultant’s argument that grass would attract nuisance birds.
“We already have nuisance birds,” Tucker said.
Council members applauded Mayor Ray Stephanson’s tough talk in the press that he would uphold the requirements in Kimberly-Clark’s demolition permit.
Ecology was expected to start its soil samplings this fall.
The additional soil sampling is needed after Kimberly-Clark alerted Ecology in April that its demolition debris exceeded the contamination levels to build residential or other non-industrial uses on the site.
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