Mountlake Terrace City Council to meet Monday night

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City-of-MLT-logoThe Mountlake Terrace City Council will be electing a Mayor Pro Tem for 2015 and will be considering appointments of Council Liaisons and Representatives for Intergovernmental Agency Boards/Commissions at Monday’s meeting in the Council Chambers at the interim City Hall.

Laura Sonmore, who is up for reelection in 2015, is the current Mayor Pro Tem.

In addition, the five-member Lodging Tax Advisory Committee has forwarded its recommendations on the allocation of city hotel-motel tax funds.The Committee is recommending that the City Council allocate the full amounts requested by Friends of the Arts, Snohomish County Tourism Bureau, and Tour de Terrace.

The Council also is scheduled to discuss the issue of Non-Conforming Use Provisions. City staff has noted that recent inquiries regarding redevelopment, expansion or opening of businesses in existing buildings have in some cases involved the use of existing non-conforming buildings.

Staff said that current codes pertaining to non-conforming buildings and uses have resulted in outcomes unfavorable to individuals seeking to occupy these buildings. Staff is seeking to determine if the Council wants to affirm the purpose and intent of current codes or to direct staff to revise them.

Recent requests to repair or occupy nonconforming buildings have resulted in either revisions to proposed renovation plans, or businesses having to find another location to operate. Examples include the Mt. Zion Church, 21428 44th Ave. W.; the vacant Red Onion building, 23209 56th Ave.; and The Commercial Building, 24113 56th Ave.

The fire at the Mt. Zion Church resulted in the need for significant repairs to make the building fit for occupancy. The Church wished to do more improvements than was needed to bring the building back to its pre-fire condition including the addition of fire sprinklers. However, those additional improvements were not needed under code and they would have resulted in the cost of repairs exceeding the allowed 25 percent. The repairs are therefore being limited to what is minimally necessary to bring the structure back to its pre-fire condition.

The Red Onion Building and the Commercial Building both are  nonconforming with several Town Center design and development standards and both have been vacant for a period of more than six months and must therefore be made to conform to all standards of the zoning code before they can be reoccupied.

Mountlake Terrace’s code has a provision that requires structures that have been abandoned or otherwise unoccupied for a period of six months or more to be made fully compliant before they can be reoccupied. Because of this provision, City staff indicated that it will likely be unable to approve business licenses for any use in these structures until both the structures and their site improvements are brought up to full standards.

The result is that there may be structures that will sit vacant for some time before someone either renovates the structures to bring them into compliance, or builds a new structure on the site.

City staff indicated it believes that there may be value to the current codes regulating nonconformities, but only if they are achieving the City Council’s goals and are in line with the Council’s intent.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and is held at the Interim City Hall Council Chambers, located at 6100 219th St. SW., Suite 220, Mountlake Terrace.

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