MLT council approves new city hall address, 59th Place right-of-way vacation

The Mountlake Terrace City Council Monday night discusses the 59th Place vacation with Senior Planner Edith Duttlinger, bottom row-right.

The Mountlake Terrace City Council at its March 15 regular business meeting unanimously approved motions to vacate the 59th Place right-of-way near the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center and change the address used for City Hall.

The address of the new City Hall building, located on the Civic Campus, will be 23204 58th Ave. W.

Changing the address is necessary due to the upcoming move to the new Civic Campus building. This will update all references to that address in the city’s municipal codes so that they will no longer use the temporary address associated with the interim City Hall located in the Redstone building since 2009.

An exact moving date has not yet been determined, but it is anticipated the relocation will be completed by the end of April —  the effective date for the ordinance passed at Monday night’s meeting.

After the vote, Councilmember Laura Sonmore said it would “be so nice to be home again” by dropping the term “temporary” when referring to City Hall and its associated address.

“We didn’t expect it to be nearly 12 years, but thanks to the community for working with us and your patience,” City Clerk Virginia Clough said of public support for the process and bond levy that financed construction of the new building.

Prior to April 30, after the actual move takes place, City Council agendas and any other public notices will be posted at both the new City Hall location and on the front door of the Redstone Building. There are also three other official posting sites for public notices: the Mountlake Terrace Library, the Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion and the Mountlake Terrace Post Office.

In other business, councilmembers approved the vacation of the 59th Place West right-of-way on the north side of 236th Street S.W. and immediately east of the transit center parking lot.

That petition had been brought forth by Mill Stream Properties Group LLC, which owns all eight properties abutting the right-of-way, which is a cul-de-sac.

The council’s decision to vacate was based solely on whether the right-of-way is needed for a public purpose and they previously reviewed the application during last week’s work/study session. In this case, the cul-de-sac’s right-of-way leads to no other property and city staff had determined retaining it would hamper future development of the site as envisioned in the city’s Town Center Plan.

After reviewing the request before Monday’s public hearing, city staff had included as a condition of approval that the properties’ owner would be required to first consolidate those eight lots into one parcel, which would then still have access to 236th Street Southwest. This was done because even though all of the lots are under the same ownership, the city cannot take an action that would create a landlocked parcel. During the review process, staff determined that some of the eight lots would no longer have access to a public street if the vacation was approved without that condition included.

The 59th Place West street proposed.

Staff also recommended the applicant pay $835,000 for the right-of-way, which is the amount identified by the city’s independent appraisal as a fair market value. Mill Stream Properties Group’s application had submitted an appraisal valuing it at $410,000. City staff stood by the valuation methods it used and regardless of those discrepancies in perceived value, no vacation of the street will be actualized until payment is received by the city.

City Manager Scott Hugill explained where the two appraisals differed. “They, in general, started in the same place and then the applicant (their appraiser) reduced it based on some conditions,” Hugill said. He cited as example the fact that the property would not be available for other purposes for a number of years because Sound Transit currently has a lease in place for the land. The applicant felt this delay thereby reduced the street’s value.

“The city did not accept that because that’s a condition that the applicant put on that property in order to get it.” Hugill said. “So we didn’t discount our appraisal because of that.”

The cul-de-sac originally had eight residential homes on the lots, but those have since been demolished and the land is being used by Sound Transit as a temporary transit parking lot. That temporary use will end once the Lynnwood Link Light Rail project opens its permanent parking lot at the transit center, anticipated in 2024. The 59th Place West site would then be restored and available for redevelopment under the conditions laid out by the city’s Town Center Plan.

Following the council’s approval, Mill Stream Properties Group now has 180 days to consolidate those eight lots and make compensation payment in the amount of $835,000 to the city before that adopted ordinance expires.

Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright excused herself from the street vacation proceedings beforehand to avoid any appearances that might be considered unfair because she said she “was involved in this project early on,” although is no longer part of it. Mayor Pro Tem Doug McCardle served as chair for that portion of the meeting and the ordinance was later approved by a vote of 6-0.

Earlier Monday evening, during his City Manager’s report, Hugill informed the council that city staff had earlier that day “delivered over 11,000 face masks to the five schools in Mountlake Terrace and several large apartment complexes as well as Washington Kids in Transition.” Those masks distributed Monday had been received by the city after it had previously conducted mailings and events last year to supply residents and the community with protective equipment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In new business, the council unanimously favored putting together a statement condemning the recent surge of biased-based crimes against Asians and also reaffirming the city’s support of diversity-based values.

Matsumoto Wright thanked Councilmember Steve Woodard for bringing the idea forward. “We can all work together and we will,” she said. “Things are going to get better I hope, but it is good to just let the community know that we care.”

— By Nathan Blackwell



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