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Published: Thursday, December 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Riverfront project must have variety

Regarding the riverfront development plans, I hope Everett will be vigilant to make sure Polygon Northwest delivers on the city's promise -- that the project will include a variety of homes for new residents, which includes not only single family detached homes, but multi-family, affordable housing as well.
Given that Everett has invested over $80 million to provide for cleanup and infrastructure to the area (taxpayer dollars), and that Everett is defined as the only metropolitan city for Snohomish County, it would be irresponsible for Everett to reduce the amount of housing at a time when it needs to ensure it can take the growth as outlined in Puget Sound Regional Council's Vision 2040. Developing the riverfront is a great opportunity to ensure its future by creating more mixed use, affordable and sustainable neighborhoods, which will accommodate new residents long into the future.
My experience with Polygon happened around six years ago. Long before Lake Stevens had annexed most of the urban growth area, Polygon wanted to buy the Hewlett-Packard commercial land at Highway 9 and Soper Hill Road. They successfully lobbied the County Council to spot rezone the commercial land. We unsuccessfully opposed the rezone at the time because we wanted to preserve commercial land for Lake Stevens' future growth. In a spirit of compromise, Polygon promised to leave the commercial buildings. Unfortunately, a few years later, those buildings were torn down and houses are there now.
Of course this sort of thing happens all the time. But we shouldn't continue to let it. Everett should take proactive action to put protections in place to build the future we all -- including Polygon -- say we want: mixed use and mixed income. We need developers' agreements or Memorandums of Agreement with Polygon to make sure they follow through with their promises.
Futurewise and Pilchuck Audubon Society will continue to advocate for communities that will help create opportunity for more of our neighbors by providing housing for all incomes and designing streets for all users.
Kristin Kelly
Pilchuck Audubon Society

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