City Council reviews $440k land sale, could hold out for more

Among items presented at Mountlake Terrace City Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 16, was the review of a proposal to vacate land on 236th Street Southwest.

City of Mountlake Terrace Associate Planner Sara Pizzo and municipal attorney Kinnon Williams presented a proposal to vacate the property on the corner of 236th Street Southwest and Van Ry Boulevard. The property owners, Sierra MLT, LLC and Whiskey 6, LLC, plan to merge their abutting properties into a future mixed-use development.

Pizzo explained that a street or road vacation occurs when a local government relinquishes its interest in a public right-of-way (ROW) or a public service easement on a property.

She added that a street vacation does not necessarily remove all encumbrances from the area vacated, such as ensuring utilities stay in place for future use.

Pizzo said the land parcels owned by Sierra MLT and Whiskey 6 are zoned for buildings between six to 12 stories tall and are close to public transportation. The money received for the land would be invested in public open space or transportation capital projects, possibly both.

Sara Pizzo and Kinnon Williams go over the processes of vacating the land and what would be required of the buyers. Courtesy of the City of Mountlake Terrace)

The city hired Williams of Foster Garvey PC to review the appraisal method and value. Williams determined that the proposed $440,000 ($80 per square foot) for the land was fair market value.

Williams said the land was left over from a previous transportation project for 236th Street Southwest and Van Ry Boulevard.

“When we changed the road and because of the topography, that little piece was just basically left over,” Williams said.

He also added that one of the recommendations is to retain the easements, as property values could change with the construction of the Lynnwood Link light rail extension. His description of a fair market price was not the most you could get for the property, but it wasn’t the least, and that a second opinion may have different findings from the appraisal presented.

Williams said there will be some development conditions for the construction and the retaining wall that supports 236th Street Southwest and Van Ry Boulevard. When the property is developed, the structure’s foundation will act as the supporting wall for the streets.

The city will retain access to the retaining wall until it is no longer needed and the sewage system until it is rerouted to accommodate the new buildings.

A map provided during the presentation shows the property borders by the owner. Sierra MLT and Whiskey 6 plan on merging their properties and developing the land for multi-use zoning. (Courtesy of the City of Mountlake Terrace)

Pizzo explained that street vacation petitions are typically submitted by the property owners that abut the vacated ROW. The petition must explain how the ROW has no future public use, nor will its loss adversely impact current or future public needs.

The petition is then submitted to a local government, which has broad discretion to grant, deny or place conditions on any approval of a street vacation request.

A public hearing is scheduled during the Thursday, Nov. 2, City Council study session.

The retaining wall easement, marked in blue, would eventually no longer be necessary, as the building’s foundation will support 236th Street Southwest and Van Ry Boulevard. (Courtesy of the City of Mountlake Terrace)

Among the consent calendar items passed by the city council was the approval of the recreation and parks department fee adjustments proposed at last week’s Oct. 12 meeting. These adjustments will bring Mountlake Terrace’s child care, athletic and dance programs, and pool services more in line with nearby cities.

The area where the developer’s land connects to the city’s property — marked by the bullseye — is close to light rail and bus transportation. (Courtesy Google Maps)

During new business, Councilmember Rory Payne-Donovan raised concern about the city’s outreach efforts to ensure information about the 2024 Comprehensive Plan update reaches all voters, especially those who do not read or speak English.

“The current outreach numbers suggest gaps,” Donovan said.

He suggested possibly putting more money into outreach by paying for a more robust program and encouraged staff to be thinking of new ways to reach residents. s. Further, he said he would like to discuss this topic at the next study session.

The Comprehensive Plan is a document that guides the city’s decisions over a 20-year time period, serving as a blueprint for development. It is also meant to reflect the vision and priorities of the city and residents, while meeting the requirements of state and federal law.

Washington State’s Growth Management Act (GMA) requires that cities and counties update their Comprehensive Plans on a periodic schedule. The purpose of the 2024 update is to ensure the city is planning for the next 20 years of population and employment growth. It gives the city an opportunity to review and revise the plan and development regulations to ensure they comply with GMA requirements.

At the end of the meeting, Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright noted, “This is our last Monday meeting.”

Starting in November, city council meetings will be held on Thursdays or the Wednesday before a holiday that falls on a Thursday.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 2.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Mountlake Terrace City Hall, 23204 58th Avenue West, Mountlake Terrace. To attend the meeting online, visit and enter meeting ID 831 2890 8101 and passcode 98043.

To listen via telephone, call 1-253-215-8782 and enter the same meeting ID and passcode.

You also can view livestreamed meetings and past video recordings at

The complete agenda can be viewed here.

— by Rick Sinnett

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