Lynnwood council learns more about proposed HASCO apartment redevelopment

During its work session May 15, the Lynnwood City Council heard about proposed updates to the city’s stormwater guidelines and a rezoning application from the Housing Authority of Snohomish County (HASCO), which provides affordable housing for low- and moderate-income renters in Snohomish County.

Community Planning Manager Karl Almgren and Director of Business Services David Kleitsch gave an annual report known as the Proposed Amendment List. The council is asked to review the list annually to ensure proposed changes align with Lynnwood’s Comprehensive Plan, which describes the city’s long-term vision for growth, infrastructure and services. 

The list for 2023 contains only one application: A rezone request for HASCO properties at 5710 and 5714 200th St. S.W., where the Timberglen and Pinewood apartment complexes are located.

HASCO is proposing to redevelop these two complexes, which contain a combined total of 56 units, into a single complex containing between 100 and 110 units. This would change the zoning from a medium-density to a high-density designation. While HASCO’s application appears to adhere to city code, councilmembers expressed concern about possible displacement of residents as a result of the redevelopment. 

Lynnwood City Councilmember Patrick Decker said he was concerned about possible displacement caused by the development.

“I suggested that the council could have some very direct conversations with HASCO and identify specific plans, how HASCO is going to avoid serious disruption in the lives of those individuals,” said Councilmember Patrick Decker, relaying conversations from a Lynnwood Planning Commission meeting that preceded the council briefing. He and other councilmembers drew comparisons to the Whispering Pines apartment complex redevelopment that displaced many renters. 

Councilmember Jim Smith echoed concerns about displacement and asked Kleitsch if the zoning change would modify parking requirements. Kleitsch replied that there was insufficient data to answer his request as the planning had not progressed this far.

Councilmember Jim Smith echoed Decker’s concerns but also inquired about parking availability.

Councilmember George Hurst said that HASCO recently has had a “rebirth” after the Whispering Pines situation and appears to have learned from it. Hurst stated that in March, HASCO sent a letter to residents of the Timberglen and Pinewood apartment complexes informing them of the plans and offered them financial assistance with costs involved with relocating, such as security deposits, application fees, packing supplies and movers. It also assured tenants that their rents would not increase during the remainder of their time at Timberglen and Pinewood apartments and offered staff assistance with searching for a new unit.

The proposed changes will be further evaluated by the planning commission and the matter will come back to council for a decision later in the summer. 

In other business, Lynnwood Public Works Department employees Derek Fada and David Mach provided updates to the city’s stormwater guidelines. In July 2019, the Washington State Department of Ecology – based on authority granted by the federal government — changed permit requirements for jurisdictions statewide that discharge stormwater to surface waters. These requirements would require developers to construct larger water detention systems so they can hold more water during large storms. Other changes were described as “housekeeping” in nature and include language and definition changes. The council is tentatively scheduled to vote on the stormwater guideline changes at its next business meeting May 22. 

In a humorous moment during council comments, Hurst revealed that a group of three Cub Scouts were invited to the council chambers on May 11, and they voted 2-1 to increase the number of ice cream shops in Lynnwood. 

On a more serious note, Council President Shannon Sessions reminded meeting viewers that the South County Fire Department would be hosting a first aid and CPR Class on May 19 from 5-7 p.m. at Lynnwood Civic Center Station 15, located at 18800 44th Ave W. 

The council also decided in a 6-1 vote to cancel its May 17 meeting as presenters for that meeting had a scheduling conflict. Hurst voted against the cancellation, saying that there was still work to be done even if speakers weren’t available, at which point Mayor Christine Frizzell clarified that council leadership did attempt to find a replacement presenter but was unable to.

–By Jasmine Contreras-Lewis 

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