EVERETT – Community members are invited to share feedback on potential changes designed to attract new businesses and guide future growth in Everett’s metropolitan core at an open house on Tuesday, June 13. Metro Everett is an effort to plan for an estimated 60,000 new residents and 40,000 new employees in Everett over the next 20 years, most of which are expected to be absorbed by the City’s downtown core, the transit station area, segments of Broadway, and the surrounding commercial and residential areas.
The draft plan includes possible changes in three significant areas: zoning, building heights, and parking requirements. Attendees at the June 13 event will learn more about the options under consideration and provide feedback to the City’s planning team.
“The next step is to write the plan and detailed development regulations,” Everett Planning Director Allan Giffen said. “We want to see if we are on track or if we need to make some minor or major adjustments.”
One key change in the draft plan would be reducing the number of land-use zones that encompass the Metro Everett area from 12 to three.
“When it comes to zoning, we really have just three types of land uses in the area: residential multi-family, commercial mixed-use and light industrial,” said David Stalheim, the City’s long range planning manager.
Reducing the number of land-use zones could make it easier for potential developers to navigate the land-use process. Another major change would be increasing the maximum building height to allow for taller buildings.
“Adding new height limits, particularly around the future Sound Transit light rail station, could help support new housing,” said Stalheim.
The planning team is developing 3D computer models to help community members visualize the proposed new building heights and how they could affect existing views from the metropolitan core. Finally, the draft Metro Everett plan includes major changes to parking requirements for new developments.
Currently, outside the downtown district, developers must provide off-street parking. The draft plan would eliminate the required parking spaces for non-residential development near the future light rail line, and reduce residential parking throughout the area to hopefully attract new businesses and housing projects.
“We know that developing off-street parking is expensive – anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 per stall – and that can be a deterrent for developers,” said Stalheim. “We’re looking at whether we can use the market to determine the demand for parking, with the added benefit of encouraging people to use transit, bikes and their feet to get places, rather than relying on vehicles.”
Some cities, like Buffalo, New York, have eliminated all parking requirements for new development. Share feedback on proposed changes Those interested in contributing their ideas are welcome to attend the open house on Tuesday, June 13, at 6 p.m., at the Everett Performing Arts Center. Attendees will have an opportunity to review the draft plan in more detail, including potential changes to specific locations, such as the area around Everett Station.
Visit www.everettwa.gov/metro for the draft planning documents, as well as more information about Metro Everett.
(Photo by the City of Everett)