‘Many moving parts’: Council hears update on light rail permitting process

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    The Roger’s Market Place building will be razed to make way for a temporary Sound Transit parking facility, although a demolition date has not yet been set.

    An update on the permitting process for the Lynnwood Link light rail project in Mountlake Terrace was among the items discussed by the Mountlake Terrace City Council at its Feb. 28 work/study session.

    “There are many moving parts to making this happen,” Community and Economic Development Director Christy Osborne told the council.

    A demolition permit has been issued for the former Roger’s Market Place grocery store on 56th Avenue West, Osborne said. Once the building is razed, Sound Transit plans to pave the lot and re-stripe it for use as an interim parking lot, replacing the 220 spaces lost when the current surface parking lot at the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center is turned into a construction staging area.

    However, the Roger’s store demolition — which will occur under an agreement between Sound Transit and the Roger’s property owner — can’t occur until the city approves Sound Transit applications for the interim parking lot. After a review of applications submitted by Sound Transit Jan. 8 — which cover land use, civil work, a bus shelter and lighting for the site — the city determined the materials were incomplete, Osborne told the council.

    The city is now waiting for Sound Transit to submit additional materials and revise plan drawings. Current surface parking at the transit center site can’t be shut down for construction staging until the Roger’s site is ready, Osborne added.

    Eventually, Sound Transit will build a temporary parking lot on 59th Avenue West — adjacent to the current transit center — which will replace the displaced surface parking stalls unavailable during light rail construction and will also include a temporary bus loop. Sound Transit officials told the council in mid-January they were still working to purchase properties on 59th Place West. Once that lot is ready, Sound Transit will no longer use the Roger’s site.

    Councilmember Steve Woodard commented that given the significant role that Roger’s Marketplace played in the community over the years prior to its closure, he hoped the city would provide advance notice to citizens prior to the building’s demolition. The building has been vacant since the store closed at the end of February 2016. The property has been sold twice since closing, although development plans have not yet been submitted.

    Osborne also highlighted three other light rail-related permitting tasks the city is working on. These include a review of plans for the Mountlake Terrace light rail station and the light rail guideways — the tracks and associated structures along which the trains run. It also involves a review of Sound Transit’s conditional use permit application, which addresses impacts to the environment and properties from the proposed demolition and construction at 13 locations in the city. The city hearing examiner will hold a public hearing on the conditional use permit this spring, with a tentative hearing date set for the end of April, Osborne said.

    The city is also reviewing a proposal from Sound Transit to temporarily use up to 50 parking spaces at the Ballinger Park parking lot for people doing early work on the light rail project, Osborne said. The plan is to allow that parking lot use only until June 1, as that is when the park gets busy and parking spaces are in greater demand by the public, she said.

    Also at its Feb. 28 meeting, the council heard 2018 accomplishments and 2019 work plans for the city’s Arts Advisory Commission and the Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission. The council learned that the 2019 Arts of the Terrace juried art show is set for Sept. 21-Oct. 6 at the Mountlake Terrace Library. There was also a discussion about the important role the arts can play as the city develops its Town Center Plan to include more arts-related activities, including artist lofts, galleries and live music.

    Finally, the council reviewed its agenda for the Monday, March 4 business meeting, which includes — among other items — an interlocal agreement with the Snohomish Health District for a $1-per-capita contribution (for a total of $21,560) to assist in funding health district initiatives. Other cities are making similar per-capita contributions, City Manager Scott Hugill noted.

    Also on the March 4 agenda is the approval of an updated agreement between the City of Mountlake Terrace and the Tour de Terrae organization for its 2019 community festival, and the swearing in of MLT Police Chief Pete Caw.

    The March meeting will begin at 7 p.m. the council chambers, 2nd floor of interim city hall, 6100 219th St. S.W. You can see the complete agenda here.

    — By Teresa Wippel

    1 COMMENT

    1. so sad that the people that live in “the downtown core” have no accessible grocery store. it is definitely not a “walking” community. sad sad sad sad state of affairs.

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