Instead of our normal March meeting we are encouraging Silver Lake neighborhood residents to attend an upcoming public hearing before the Everett City Council at their meeting on Wednesday March 6th at 6:30pm.
This purpose of the public hearing is to take testimony on a recent ordinance that the City Council passed regarding the site that was previously planned as the “Silver Lake Center” development. Your testimony to the Council on this issue is important! The meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers of Everett City Hall, at 3002 Wetmore Avenue.
Over a period of years Alan Clark (an architect and developer in Seattle) acquired property around Silver Lake, especially at the north end around the Safeway Store. Starting more than 10 years ago Alan discussed his development plans with SLAC members on multiple occasions. There were a variety of opinions and responses to Alan’s proposals, especially since they were different from the development around the lake so far. Alan didn’t like all the 2-3 story apartment buildings that had been built close to the lake, calling them “woody walk-ups.” The Silver Lake Center properties are zoned in such a way that it would be possible to develop them as multi-family residential (apartments or condos), businesses, or some combination. Such a combination is referred to as “mixed-use” development.
Alan planned a large-scale mixed-use development that would have included a new Safeway store, two tall condo towers (over 100 ft.), a number of businesses on the ground floors of the buildings, some apartments, and quite a bit of underground parking. Alan got permits for this development, including a shoreline permit, but the real estate crash caused money sources to dry up and Alan no longer owns the properties. The permits have now expired.
Another developer has recently purchased the former Alan Clark parcels. The purchase does not include the properties occupied by the Safeway store and Key Bank. The developer does not have specific plans yet but in the current environment it is reasonable to speculate that plans would include multi-family (apartments and/or condos) and might or might not include businesses but would be smaller in scale than previously planned, and would probably not include a new Safeway store. The developer would get the properties set up for building and would sell them to builders who would then construct the structures.
The Silver Lake Center site is a special one, located on Silver Lake and directly served by a state highway and a major street, and close to transit and several parks and the Interurban trail. The site is also close to many other businesses such as retail, medical clinics, medical offices, a health club, etc. The Everett City Council is concerned that under the current B-2 zoning the properties could be developed in a way that would (in the words of the new ordinance) “provide neither the same level of quality mixed use development or the level of improvements to Green Lantern Park and the Silver Lake shoreline.” The ordinance goes on to note that the site “is a critical property for the future of the Silver Lake neighborhood and the greater community” and that the change in circumstances (abandonment of the previous plans) creates a need for additional planning and regulations.
Action the City took
The ordinance sets this planning in motion and seeks to ensure a quality mixed use development and presumably to avoid a development of only woody walk-ups. The ordinance specifically mentions possible public-use spaces for part of the site and perhaps the most remarkable is the discussion of a potential library branch on this site. Such potential public uses and development of Green Lantern Park (the peninsula at the northeast shore of the lake) would be the subject of negotiation with the developer and public input.
More information, action you can take
No doubt there will be many different opinions and ideas about the development options and the best use of this property. That is the information the City Council is trying to gather at this public hearing, since development decisions will affect us all for many years to come. Please plan to attend if you have any interest, and feel free to review the following materials:
Announcement of the ordinance:
The ordinance itself: