Vision 2024 open house collects residents’ feedback on land use, housing, open space

At left, Deputy City Manager Carolyn Hope speaks with attendees while at right, Recreation and Parks Director Jeff Betz discusses open spaces.

With the city’s 2024 Comprehensive Plan update underway, Mountlake Terrace hosted an open house last week to discuss goals and policies for land use, housing, environment and recreation, parks and open space.

About 40 people attended the March 26 open house at the Civic Campus. The event included food, drinks, desserts and child care for ages 3 to 12. City councilmembers, leadership staff and volunteers were available to answer questions, take suggestions and interact with attendees.

The council chambers featured cardboard displays on various topics. Post-It notes and green dot stickers were available for guests to mark their approval of a subject or gauge if it aligns with their vision for the city.

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 left, Councilmember Erin Murray speaks with residents about their vision for Mountlake Terrace.

Councilmember Erin Murray said the Vision 2024 Comprehensive Plan was developed by public input received during Terrace Talks, open houses, and city planning commission and council meetings. 

“There is a lot of power in those meetings,” Murray said of the public’s influence.

Recreations and Parks Director Jeff Betz answered the recreation, parks and open space questions. He said he had many discussions with residents regarding trails, park connections, the Ballinger Park project and the Recreation Pavilion.

One of the Post-It notes placed on the Recreation, Parks and Open Spaces board read: “Actual bike lane and bike infrastructure,” with a green sticker noting that someone seconded the suggestion.

Another note requested more bike racks, while another suggested a BMX and skate park.

Grocery stores and restaurants received the most votes on the land use panel. One note suggested a Trader Joe’s grocery store, two suggested a coffee shop, and one specified a “non-Starbucks” establishment.

Betz said that the land use and housing panels were busy, and understandably so. Mountlake Terrace is one of many cities in the region that are coordinating their Comprehensive Plans with House Bill 1110, which requires that cities increase middle housing in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing. Examples of middle housing include duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, fiveplexes, sixplexes, courtyard apartments, cottage clusters and townhomes.

Past city council meetings on economic strategies, housing and land use have discussed the city’s small footprint and high population density, concluding that it must grow upward since it can’t grow outward while staying affordable.

Part of building upward is changing the housing strategy, and according to the green stickers, cottage housing and duplex homes are the top two choices, with stacked flats and fiveplexes coming in last among the nine middle housing candidates.

Finally, the environment and related changes residents would like to see dominated the suggestions. Bike and pedestrian trails were a popular choice, with composting lower on the list of priorities.

Find out more about the Mountlake Terrace Vision 2024 comprehensive plan by clicking here.

— Story and photos by Rick Sinnett

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