In a split vote (5-2) the Mountlake Terrace City Council approved new heights of up to 12 story buildings* (180 feet) as incentives to builders in the Gateway freeway district (near the Mountlake 9 and former Compusa buildings and including the grounds of Evergreen School). That would tower over the backyards of the nearly 130 households just east of the former Evergreen School property.** If developed it would be 120 feet above the tree line based on the city staff’s own presentation. That, despite the fact that much of the tree border they proudly point to is infested with ivy (which may eventually destroy that hedge anyway).
But that is not all. They let stand an incentive program for development rights (called TDR, transfer of development rights) which would allow builders to ratchet heights in that district up to nearly 300 feet high!* That is almost three times the already massive Sterling Building which faces the freeway in that district.**
When I inquired as a Terrace citizen what process of notification they took for the citizens directly affected (those households due east)** and the other Terrace citizens who might be faced with a nearly 300 foot monolith at our southern border under the regulations they were approving (see the Table 19.60.050.B Freeway/Tourist Zone Dimensional Requirements by Building District on the Terrace city website*), they weakly proclaimed they had done the (minimum) amount required by law. Because they have as a council spent three sessions on this matter, it is clear that they know this is an important matter. Yet they provide no other than the “customary” notice? Who regularly checks the city’s website anyway? And if you did, would you know where to look?
A concerned Mountlake Terrace citizen,
*Table is on page 3 in attached “Proposed Ordinance” which was accepted as presented from the staff without change except as amended in red.
**Attached staff presentation showing the sections in question (C & D) & their clear proximity to potential development and undeniable thrust beyond the tree line at the proposed heights (D: slide p6 B with p7 A and C: p7 B with its height of the Sterling Building displayed as dots and a 12 story shooting above that building at nearly double the height on p8, slide A) Not shown is an allowed potential 20 story structure which would be at 635 feet above sea level, two thirds above the depicted tree tops!