Public hearing Monday on ordinance that would allow 236th Street property condemnations

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Following discussion of the issue at its March 16 work/study session, the Mountlake Terrace City Council will hold a public hearing at its Monday, March 20 meeting on an ordinance that would allow condemnation of 33 right-of-way parcels along 236th Street Southwest for Phase 1 of the city’s Main Street Revitalization Project.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace City Hall, 6100 219th St. S.W., 2nd floor. The complete agenda is here.

The city so far has acquired three out of the 36 parcels –  mostly around 2 ½ to 3 ½ feet wide – that are necessary for the project, which will run along 236th Street Southwest from just east of 56th Avenue West to the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center. Mountlake Terrace is facing a June 2017 deadline to finish the acquisitions in order to take advantage of already-committed project funding. The properties in question are listed by address on the draft ordinance here.

The area of the proposed property condemnations. (Rendering courtesy City of Mountlake Terrace)

On March 6, the council approved a professional services agreement of up to $150,000 with Inslee Best Doezie & Ryder, P.S. for services relating to property and right-of-way acquisition. On March 16, Inslee Best eminent domain attorney Kinnon Williams provided an update on the process so far.

Williams told the council that 99 percent of the condemnation cases won’t go to trial, but using the legal process will ensure that the city will “be able to keep on track” with the project. The city will “make every effort to work out deals” with homeowners as the process proceeds, he said.

According to the summary accompanying the draft ordinance to be considered by the council Monday night, design and construction documents are nearly complete and the city’s engineering staff will be ready to advertise the project for bid as soon as all right-of-way acquisitions are certified by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The property the city plans to acquire is called “strip takes,” and it will be used for the addition of street trees, a two-way turn lane, and bike lanes on each side of the street. Existing street parking will be eliminated along that portion of 236th Street Southwest.

The project will tie in to the new Sound Transit light rail station with the goal of providing a better pedestrian corridor, including wider sidewalks.

Also during its March 16 meeting, the council heard a development activities update  from the city’s Community and Economic Development Director Steve Osguthorpe and Senior Planner Edith Duttlinger.

Among the issues discussed was the overall sharp increase in development in 2016, with a rise in both permit activity and the valuation of such activity. Much of that can be attributed to development in the Town Center and Freeway/Tourist Districts.

The report also pointed to code compliance issues in the city, including violations of land use, zoning, building and environmental codes. The most common code enforcement activity discovered is failure to obtain a plumbing permit, followed by the lack of any building permit for work being performed. An estimated 150 building code violation cases were identified in 2016.

You can see the complete development activity presentation from the March 16 council meeting here.

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