Lynnwood City Council reviews draft South Lynnwood Neighborhood Plan

Lynnwood Project Manager Ashley Winchell (center right) presents the draft South Lynnwood Neighborhood Plan to the Lynnwood City Council on Nov. 15.

During a brief Monday night meeting, the Lynnwood City Council received the draft plans – years in the making — to redevelop one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods.

At the council’s Nov. 15 work session, staff briefed councilmembers on the draft South Lynnwood Neighborhood Plan — an effort by the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department to address social inequality in South Lynnwood, including income and language barriers.

South Lynnwood includes the areas east of Highway 99 between 196th Street Southwest and 212th Street Southwest, reaching the city limits near both Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace. The neighborhood extends east to 44th Avenue West near Lynnwood’s City Center district.

The concept is part of the city’s Park, Arts, Recreation and Conservation (PARC) Plan adopted in 2016. Through that plan, city staff created equity composite maps that identified areas in the city by income, race, household language and poverty to locate areas in need. According to the proposal, the plan aims “to address neighborhood conditions, development pressures and traffic from the coming Sound Transit Lynnwood Link light rail station, a complicated mix of land uses including important light-industrial businesses and the needs of Lynnwood’s most vulnerable populations.”

The city’s data has shown that the Latino population in South Lynnwood is almost half the population in the rest of the city, and one-third of the neighborhood’s population identifies as foreign born. Lynnwood Project Manager Ashley Winchell explained that the plan will be used to redevelop the neighborhood while preserving its cultural diversity. 

“A lot of effort has gone into reflecting the community’s hopes and vision with this plan and we’ve received positive reception from the community,” she said.

During the presentation, Winchell gave a brief overview of the plan’s goals and recommendations, which emphasized making the neighborhood more pedestrian and cyclist friendly and making it easier to access public transit. 

The plan also proposes reviewing zoning codes in the area to allow for more mixed-use developments, ensuring no housing units are lost if a residential complex needs to be redeveloped and permitting more street parking. During the discussion, Council Vice President Jim Smith said he was concerned about people using street parking to abandon vehicles and asked if city staff were enforcing current street parking codes. In response, Winchell pointed out that the Lynnwood Police Department is responsible for the code enforcement.

Smith also asked how building businesses closer to the sidewalk would improve walkability, Winchell explained that people are more likely to enter a business if they can access it from the sidewalk instead of having to cross a large parking lot.

“It’s a little bit of a difference between how someone would feel walking down Highway 99 — where there’s a huge setback from the building to the sidewalk — and how someone might feel walking in downtown Edmonds where the buildings are right up against the sidewalk,” she said.

Councilmember Julieta Altamirano-Crosby — who lives in South Lynnwood — asked how much involvement residents had in developing the plan. Winchell explained that staff had held several co-designee committee meetings where staff spoke with homeowners, renters and business owners about their vision for the neighborhood. 

Also, Winchell said, staff conducted one-on-one interviews with community members and sent out a public survey, which drew 210 responses. Staff plan to continue to engage the community in the future, she added.

Additionally, Winchell said many of the recommendations are applicable to other Lynnwood neighborhoods and staff aim to build on the proposed plan.

A public hearing regarding the draft plan is scheduled for the council’s Nov. 22 business meeting to allow for more community input.

In other business, the council interviewed Parks and Recreation Board applicant Katie Egresi.

–By Cody Sexton

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