Following debate about parking spaces, MLT council OKs amended engineering manual

Five of seven councilmembers were attending remotely on June 20.

After a lengthy discussion about parking, the Mountlake Terrace City Council voted June 20 to pass an amended version of the proposed engineering development manual.

Presented by City Engineer Rich Meredith, the manual’s goal is to consolidate the city’s engineering standards in a central location and streamline processes for city staff, residents and developers. However, the council found that a few aspects of the language needed to be revised, as well as several parking concerns.

Some of the revisions remove the measurement for street line markings. Meredith said that those lines can be changed in the field and that each street has unique characteristics.

The proposed manual also defines where the measurements are taken, such as “distance from the face of the curb.” However, it was the section on parking that drew the most scrutiny.

The city council reviews an edit to code 19.125.040, section B, which would change how parking spaces are rounded up.

“We’re going to have to take a hard look at how we use our streets,” Meredith said.

The council passed the following revisions:

– 13.05: Utility Rates

– 13.20: Sanitary Sewers

– 19.50.80: Town Center Zones

– 19.95: Transportation Code

However, code 19.125: Off-Street Parking and Loading needed some revising.

Meredith explained that there are several things to consider for street usage, such as freight, bicycles, pedestrians and cars that will use the streets and whether there is enough on-street or off-site parking.

Councilmember Rory Paine-Donovan said that Mountlake Terrace is building a transit-oriented community and that the extra cost of the parking stalls is passed on to tenants. Further, more parking may be counterproductive to the city’s goal of less traffic.

“More parking spots mean more cars, which means more traffic, and that’s something the city is trying to keep down,” Paine-Donovan said.

He also said that “striking a balance in the Town Center” was needed and he wanted to continue the conversation about how to do that.

The current code reads: “When the unit of measurement determining the number of required parking spaces results in any fractional number of spaces, the required number of spaces shall be rounded up to the next whole number. Any fraction up to and including 0.50 shall be disregarded, and fractions over 0.50 shall require an additional parking space.”

The new language removes the 0.50 of a parking space and replaces it with any fraction to be rounded up. With such a removal, a hypothetical building requiring 20.2 parking spaces would round up to 21 spaces rather than down to 20.

City Engineer Rich Meredith presented the engineering development manual proposals and the city’s six-year transportation improvement program during the June 20 meeting.

“I don’t think this will result in a lot of extra parking spaces,” Meredith said.

City Manager Jeff Niten said fractional parking mostly comes from retail spaces, not residential ones.

Councilmember Erin Murray advocated for keeping the rounding standard of 0.50.

Councilmember Rick Ryan motioned to table 19.125.060, seconded by Paine-Donovan. The proposal was defeated by a vote of 3-4.

Murray then made a motion to remove the edits in 19.125.040, Section B, that would have lowered the threshold of rounding up a parking space from 0.50 of a space to any fraction of a space; Ryan seconded. The vote passed.

The council agreed to move the amended engineering development manual ordinance to the June 27 consent calendar.

Three items were approved during the June 20 city council and are scheduled for the June 27 consent calendar:

–  The city’s six-year transportation improvement program (TIP), which runs from 2025-2030. The updated TIP will cover city projects up to 2030. City Engineer Meredith said many projects are the same because the 2024-2029 TIP update was adopted in February 2023.

– An amendment to the Mountlake Terrace municipal code for the diversity, equity and inclusion commission (DEIC). The new language will allow either a resident of Mountlake Terrace who is in high school or a Mountlake Terrace High School student who might not live in Mountlake Terrace to be eligible for the student seat.

– Approval of board and commission appointments, effective July 1, 2024: 

Arts advisory commission (three-year term expiring June 30, 2027) 

– Benjamin Hou: Reappointment 

– Sarah Frost: New appointment to replace Marla French.

Diversity, equity and inclusion commission (two-year student term expiring June 30, 2026) 

– Patricia Pottinger: New appointment

Planning commission (four-year term expiring June 30, 2028.)

– Nick Bautista: Reappointment 

Recreation and parks advisory commission (three-year term expiring June 30, 2027) 

– Joe Cross: New appointment 

Salary commission (term expires Nov. 30, 2024) 

– Chris Finch 

– Sarah Frost 

– Julie St. George 

– Denene Thompson 

– Cameron Wu

Comprehensive Plan Advisory Board member Scott Matsuda stands next to Councilmember Steve Woodard during the proclamation presentation recognizing the board’s work.

Councilmember Woodard delivered a proclamation recognizing the work of the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Group (CPAG).

“I can absolutely go on record saying that this group not only represented Mountlake Terrace, but they represented their families, they represented Snohomish County,”Woodard said. The group also “represented the future in terms of thinking about their own personal loss or gain,” he said.

In addition, Woodard said the advisory group members had  “very hard conversations” because they are helping plan for a future they might not see.

“That’s not a negative because all of that is part of the legacy, and I would argue everybody on this committee took that to heart,” he said.

The next council meeting will start at 7 p.m., June 27, at Mountlake Terrace City Hall, 23204 58th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace.

To attend the meeting online, visit zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID 810 1113 9518; no passcode is needed.

To make a public comment remotely, complete the registration form within 24 hours of the meeting’s start at cityofmlt.com/FormCenter/City-Council-17/Remote-Public-Comment-Request-Form-12

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

You also can view livestreamed meetings and past video recordings at www.youtube.com/cityofmlt

The agenda can be viewed here.

— By Rick Sinnett



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