‘Great big ugly tank’? Diamond Knot’s grain silo draws ire of planning commissioners

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The Diamond Knot grain silo.
The Diamond Knot grain silo.

Is it a big ugly tank, a kitschy new attraction or a trendy brewery icon?

The new grain silo recently installed as part of the soon-to-be-opened Diamond Knot @ MLT Brewpub in downtown Mountlake Terrace has caught the attention of a couple of City Planning Commissioners. And they don’t like what they see.

At the Dec. 9 Mountlake Terrace Planning Commission meeting, Commission Chairperson Alice Kier and Commissioner Vic Sood brought up the subject of the recently-erected grain silo. Kier used the term “ugly” four times in describing the small container tower; Sood agreed, stating that city zoning regulations need to be changed to prohibit such structures.

“There’s a great big ugly tank parked on the southwest corner of the brewpub; that’s not going to be a permanent location, is it,” Kier asked city staff at the meeting.

Mountlake Terrace Senior Planner Edith Duttlinger explained that silo is a functioning part of the brewing operations at the brewpub, and that “the Town Center design regulations don’t prohibit that.”

“Then we did a bad job,” answered Kier. “And we better change it,” added Sood.

City officials have applauded the addition of the new brewpub/restaurant to the Town Center District of Mountlake Terrace since its announcement last May. Shane Hope, the city’s Community and Economic Development Director, reiterated city hall’s support of the Diamond Knot project this week. “A successful brewpub in the heart of downtown will add to the vibrancy of the Town Center, including to attract young people,” Hope said.

The comments of Kier and Sood are the first public opposition voiced by anyone representing the city concerning the current work being done at the future brewpub at 5602-232nd St. S.W.

“It’s not the image we want to have of our Town Center,” Kier said of the silo. “We have to fix that. That is just, no. Is there anything we can offer them as an incentive to do something with it? I don’t care what kind, if they want to put a sign in that landscaping thing, and do something to conceal the ugliness of that tank.”

When someone suggested that the metal silo could be painted, Kier responded, “Even paint would be better than what it is now.”

Duttlinger pointed out to the commissioners that the city cannot force the brewery owners to change something that zoning codes allow, or even to paint structures on private property, saying, “I don’t think we can require it, but we can suggest …” Before she finished, Kier jumped in: “Throw somebody on the ground and stand on their neck until they say yes they would be more than happy to make that less ugly.”

When Duttlinger explained that the tower will be a working silo, storing the grain used in the brewery operations, Kier responded, “I don’t care. I think it should be underground and they should pipe it up inside their building through a tube and plant over the top of it.”

On Thursday, Hope reaffirmed the legality of the erected silo. “Based on the grain silo’s location and other factors, the silo has been deemed to meet the City’s codes,” Hope said.

While the silo itself passes city regulations, code does call for landscaping amenities to be part of the brewpub exterior. “Diamond Knot will continue working to complete the project and add landscaping that will help the silo blend into the site better,” Hope pointed out. “We appreciate the Planning Commission’s interest in achieving the aesthetic balance,” she added.

Sherry Jennings, Sales and Marketing Director for Diamond Knot, didn’t comment on the city’s planning commissioners’ statements, saying only, “This is the first I’ve heard of the opposition.”

Diamond Knot hopes to open the new Mountlake Terrace brewpub around the second weekend in February 2014.

— Story and photo by Doug Petrowski

67 COMMENTS

  1. The silo will look cool when it’s all finished. No one cares more than the Diamond Knot that their new location looks great.

  2. Are you kidding me? This is one of the best things that has happened to Mountlake Terrace and they are going to complain about something that looks better than most of MLT. I would be thanking Diamond Knot daily if I were these planning commissioners instead of ticking them off.

  3. Compared to that ugly blue building next door and the whole parking lot in general, this is nothing. I’m hoping the church pays to fix things up around there soon!

  4. How ludicrous. God forbid that something that doesn’t look like a dentist office gets put in MLT. Its great that their brewpub will actually be a place that creates things onsite. Love the silo!

  5. It looks great and the brewery has really improved that area of town. I think Kier’s comments are also uncalled for and unprofessional and she poorly represented the planning commission with her behavior.

  6. I am looking forward to it opening. A little late for you to object to the tank now. Where were you in the planning stages

  7. I like it. I’m really looking forward to visiting the pub. Honestly. Shouldn’t we encourage business in MLT rather than encourage them to go elsewhere. The silo is breaking no city rules. Leave it alone!

  8. Wow that one commissioner got quite vocal in his opposition. I see nothing wrong with the brewery storing grain in a silo outside.

  9. Note to planning commissioners – stupid close minded comments and a ridiculously obtrusive permit /regulations attitude is what keeps MLT from progressing. ¬¬

  10. I wonder if these people know how ignorant they sound. I would be really embarrassed if I saw myself in print acting like that.

  11. I love it.  I love that Diamond Knot picked this location.  Let’s encourage more development.  
    Back off, Kier and Sood.  You are about to upset an important business partner in the community and a good number of the population who have been waiting for a sign of life from this town.  Would you prefer more vacant buildings?

  12. Can we all just be a little embarrassed by Alice and move on? I think reasonable people acknowledge that a grain silo shouldn’t go in your front yard, but in the parking lot outside a brew pub it’s entirely acceptable. Let’s treat the comment like something at thanksgiving dinner. Awkwardly change the topic and thank Diamond Knot for their efforts in the community.

  13. Quote from the article:
    “Before she finished, Kier jumped in: ‘Throw somebody on the ground and stand on their neck until they say yes they would be more than happy to make that less ugly.'”
    SERIOUSLY!?! A public official said THAT at a public meeting?

  14. “Stand on someone’s neck?….” Wth. MLT commissioners have proven themselves that they make extremely poor decisions for this town. And that remark was so inappropriate.

  15. I appreciate the volunteer aspect, but there still is an expectation that volunteers compose their volunteer duties in a respectful manner.

  16. Great big beautiful BEER makin’ tank. Thanks for the heads up Steve! Along with DD Meats another of the very few reasons to stop in MLT…

  17. Go and look at any other brewery around Seattle the capital of Micro Breweries and you will see grain silo’s elevated off the ground all over town.

  18. I love the grain silo and every time I walk past the Diamond Knot building on my way to the transit center, I get excited for the brewpub to open.  Welcome to MLT, Diamond Head.  I absolutely disagree with commissioner Kier’s comments and strongly feel she absolutely does not represent the sentiment of the community.

  19. The planning commissioner needs to get out more! Never seen this look before? Go to PCC in Edmonds or see the almost identical tank in Mill Creek. I think it looks great!

  20. If she’s a volunteer, I guess she can’t be voted out of office. Maybe she could be DIS-volunteered? A “thank you, but your services are no longer required?”

  21. Compared with “Filthy McNastys Gourmet Hot Dog Company”, once proposed by a sitting City Council member for a restaurant name immediately across the street from Diamond Knot’s new facility, I think the silo is downright upscale.

    I have to wonder if certain church officials in Mountlake Terrace are picking themselves up off the ground and rubbing their sore necks right about now, in telling the City how much they would like to help growth by moving somewhere else.
    Thuggish behavior by our appointed representatives is inexcusable.  Back off, apologize, and support our new commercial tenant.  They will certainly support MLT.

  22. @Jim, it looked like an industrial area before. The parking lot needs a total overhaul. Like others have said, once they landscape around it things will look better. This is extremely common.

  23. How ironic that the City planners don’t like the grain silo because it is ugly. What about that monstrosity that sits on the corner of 236th and 56th? Both are unattractive and out of place.

    Linda Snyder

  24. Are you serious?  I cannot believe that you spend your time worrying about a structure that serves a purpose and adds character to the business.  Suggesting that Diamond Knot puts the silo underground may not be a feasible option and would add a great expense to the business.  Move along to other important issues.

  25. I like what they’re doing and it looks a HELLUVA lot better than it did, and the surrounding buildings (post office, Yen Cheung)…. maybe they should focus on improving the looks of those instead of worrying about that tank (that frankly, really looks cool)? Just a thought….

  26. And the building itself is the most beautiful part of Mountlake Terrace! 😉
    In reality the whole building area needs to be rebuilt… It looks like it’s about to collapse!

  27. Planning commission needs to settle down. Focus should be on making this a livable city for out citizens and not just a tax cash cow for the city offices.

  28. What all these comments here show is that the majority of the community disagrees with Alice and Vic’s opinion. The tone and extent of the comment was probably not appropriate for a public meeting but let’s take a step back, though, and remember that these volunteers have been serving us for years and without their work many of the good things happening in our Town Center may not have been possible. If you listen to the meeting online you’ll notice that some of the other commissioners did defend the use of the silo as fitting in well with the brew pub. Healthy debate about issues like this are good and it’s the point of having the various volunteer citizen boards and commissions. But, yes the debate should be respectful to all involved especially businesses like Diamond Knot who are investing in our community.

  29. I would assume that this is private property. In which case, what business is it of the cities on what it looks like?
    Besides, Silo’s and brewery’s go hand in hand. The planning commissioners maybe need to leave Mountlake Terrace once and a while and gain some perspective. Ever been to Seattle? Tons of great breweries, fostering great business, beer and local culture. Any they are worried about what a grain silo looks like? – A sign of wrong priorities. Time to grow up.

  30. Diamond Knot is the best thing to happen in MLT in years. We all need to show up at the next Planning Commission meeting to voice our support for DK and encourage these out of touch commissioners to look for a new job.

  31. “I don’t care. I think it should be underground and they should pipe it
    up inside their building through a tube and plant over the top of it.” Maybe she should find out what actually goes in that tank before she starts criticizing it. Also, I never really thought of Town Center being some architectural marvel that is blighted by a little light industry.

  32. The tank looks great. Gives the area an industrialized look and not something homogenized like some community shopping districts. It adds character to the area right away. Keep it!!!

  33. Sad to seed these people have no clue how much this business will help the community. These are amazing people that do great things for the towns they have their businesses in. Get out of your little world and help your community prosper by supporting good businesses and the people who are willing to take the risk to start it in your town

  34. Kier and Sood need to move back to Beverly Hills…Texas.  Nothing says “civil society” like “throw somebody on the ground and stand on their neck until they say yes…”  They exemplify the core problem with many planning commissioners around the country: they are bent on shaping their communities along a very narrow, non-traditionalist, supposedly “cultured” path.  They forget they serve a diverse community in a region that supports a wide range of traditional businesses right next to a large number of high-tech and advanced med-tech concerns.

    This “mixed character” is what gives our region such rich character.  Speaking as an educated and well-paid technical professional working for a world-wide retailer I greatly appreciate such traditional yet functional features (like the silo) that so exemplify North American brewcraft and Northwest industrial design.  Heck, I don’t drink alcohol and I like this place already!

    The Diamond Knot founders, Bob and Brian, and their employees serve as great examples of the “comfortable” Northwest character.  Enterprising, but fun.  Focused on their business, but not pretentious.  This philosophy carries over to their locations, with design and personality befitting their business and our region.  Anyone who does not see that simply does not understand the Pacific Northwest.

  35. I like the way the silo looks. I think if they paint it pink as suggested they should paint a large cartoon pig head on it and offer pulled pork sandwiches to go along with your drinks.

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