Lynnwood City Council approves Development Agreement for CityCenter Apartments project

City Center ApartmentsThe Lynnwood City Council unanimously approved a Development Agreement for the CityCenter Apartments project during Monday’s meeting.

The agreement specifically addressed the developer’s desire to utilize the Transportation Impact fee exemption and the Multiple-Unit Housing Property Tax exemption. The Council’s passage of a Resolution supporting the agreement followed a Public Hearing.

“This project is a credit to the City of Lynnwood,” said Councilmember M. Christopher Boyer. “I think it’s important that we continue to engage with developers who are going to provide high quality housing for moderate to low income residents.”

The proposed development is for a 7-story, 349-unit affordable apartment building. All units will be rented under affordable housing guidelines. The target renters are in the $31,000-$47,000 annual salary range. The median income for Lynnwood is $49,000, according to the 2013 census. The 2.15-acre site in the City Center-Core zone located at the Southwest corner of 196th St. SW and 37th Ave. W. is owned by the Edmonds School District and is currently vacant.

Council Vice-President Ian Cotton also praised the project.

“I think it’s an excellent development,” he said. “This development exceeds expectations on every level … A lot of work has gone in to make sure that this truly is complementary to the gateway development.”

The Council and City staff made it clear that the Resolution and Public Hearing were not about approving the project, which already has met zoning and project design guidelines, but were to address the fee and tax exemptions.

Nevertheless some residents used the opportunity to express other concerns about the project.

In written comments, one resident asked if this was the best use of land for Lynnwood residents, noting that there is no retail on the ground floor of the project. The City would lose out on sales tax revenue from visitors to the Lynnwood Convention Center, which is across the street, because of the project’s residential focus, the letter writer stated. A concern also was expressed about the potential impact of this housing project on business at the Lynnwood Convention Center.

Three residents, one via email and two during the Public Hearing, expressed concerns about the impact on traffic in the area. City staff noted that the project is not expected to add a lot of traffic and it is transit-dependent with buses on 196th Street SW and the Lynnwood Transit Center close by. Sound Transit’s Light Rail station also will be located nearby. It’s expected that up to 30 percent of the apartment residents will not have a vehicle.

In other business, the Council unanimously voted to approve the creation of an information technology department and the hiring of an information technology director.

The Council also passed funding for:

  • Water Line Replacement Program
  • consultant services to assist the City in preparing design documents for the BikeLink Improvement Project
  • unforeseen expenses for the 33rd Avenue W Extension Project (Costco Bypass Road along the west and north perimeter of the Lynnwood Place development)
  • an expansion of parking for the Rec Center via a lot is located north and west of the Recreation Center and west of Fire Station 15.

 

The Council also issued a Proclamation declaring April 12-18 as National Volunteer Week. Mayor Nicola Smith noted that 260 Lynnwood volunteers provided 32,000 of service in 2014, which amounts to almost 12 FTEs.

– By David Pan

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