Council approves Comprehensive Plan advisory board, interlocal agreement for Ballinger Park

Councilmember Rory Paine-Donavan discusses recent city events with the council.

The Mountlake Terrace City Council at its Monday night business meeting approved appointments to the city’s Comprehensive Plan Advisory Group in a 6-1 vote.

City Manager Jeff Niten told the council there are still two vacant positions in the group but he will be working closely with councilmembers in the next few weeks to fill those spots quickly. Niten told councilmembers they could add more than two positions to the group, but he did not advise it as larger groups are harder to manage.

“This is not the only part of the public involvement process,” Niten said. “We have a very robust public involvement plan. We will be reaching out to the citizens of our community and specific groups to get their input and see what they think.”

 The Comprehensive Plan, which the City of Mountlake Terrace is updating in 2024, 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.

Councilmember Steve Woodard was appointed as the council liaison to the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Group. The other 10 members were approved by the council, with only Councilmember Laura Sonmore voting against it. 

The members approved for advisory group are: Carla Brown, Concern for Neighbors Food Bank; Cassandra Dahm, community representative; Chris Collier, Housing Alliance of Snohomish County; Duane Landsverk, developer community representative; Keith Edholm, recreation and parks advisory commission; Michelle Senechal, arts advisory commission; Scott Matsuda, diversity, equity and inclusion commission; Thesvy Cashen, community representative and Joe Woods, Pacific Public Affairs; and Kyo Pedersen, student at Mountlake Terrace High School.

“I just want to point out it’s not because of the people,” Sonmore said of her vote. “It’s because I would have liked to see more representation on other pieces of the pie.”

In other business, the council unanimously approved the city’s interlocal agreement with the City of Edmonds to fund Ballinger Park improvements on the park’s west side, which borders Edmonds.

“The City of Edmonds has expressed interest in partnering with the City of Mountlake Terrace to fund park improvements to Ballinger Park,” said Recreation Parks Director Jeff Betz. “The city has successfully completed portions on the eastern side of the park and we’re currently in construction with the Army Corps of Engineers for some environmental restoration on Hall Creek,” Betz said.

The completed improvements have cost roughly $13 million with almost $8 million of that amount funded by various grants. The upcoming portion of the project, Betz said, will focus on the western side of the park’s pathways and viewing platform and will also create an Interurban Trail access portal on that side of the property, which runs along the Mountlake Terrace-Edmonds border. Design is underway and construction is set to start in summer 2024.

The project will be funded by four sources: A $500,000 grant from the Washington State Recreation Conservation office, $100,000 from Premera BlueCross and $200,000 from the City of Edmonds with the remaining funding from the City of Mountlake Terrace.

“These interlocal agreements are very effective at crossing city and sometimes even county lines,” Betz said of the Edmonds agreement. “That way, we can ensure that all residents have access to quality parks and open space.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the interlocal agreement and Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Wahl said he is excited for the two cities to come together to enjoy such an inviting area.

Additionally, councilmembers unanimously approved a roughly $280,000 contract with Perteet Professional Services for reconstruction on 66th Avenue West. Roughly $203,000 of those funds will come from a grant, with the city paying the remaining $78,000 for the project.

— By Lauren Reichenbach

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