In response to a Sept. 14 guest column that ran alongside my monthly Mayor’s Column in The Marysville Globe written by my challenger in the Mayor’s race, I’m compelled to clear up some misconceptions and points that need clarification.
n With regards to a proposal to build a coal export terminal at Cherry Point north of Bellingham, that would add substantially more train traffic through Marysville, the city did not hire an expensive consulting firm to study traffic impacts. Salish Land Policy Solutions, a Bellingham public interest consulting firm, gave a presentation to the City Council on July 26 at no cost, and Gibson Traffic Consultants, hired by Salish, provided a preliminary analysis of traffic impacts, also at no charge to the city.
City officials have been lobbying state and federal lawmakers for I-5 transportation access improvements at interchanges throughout the Marysville corridor and, while the 156th Street overcrossing is being funded through a private partnership with local property owners without on- and off-ramps, city officials are taking the steps necessary at the federal level to ensure ramps can be installed in the future.
n The City Council last April did not pass a rule exempting big-box retailers from paying traffic impact fees. The action in April enabled Costco to apply previously paid traffic fees, for which they were due a refund, toward their Local Improvement District (LID) road assessment.
The April 2011 ordinance had no impact on Walmart. In 2005, Walmart applied for site plan approval on a site with commercial zoning. Since the site was commercially zoned, it did not require any specific action by the Council or Mayor. They processed their approval in accordance with city rules for a commercial site. Walmart has already paid the $769,000 in traffic impact fees to the city, and $130,500 to Snohomish County. They are also required to construct off-site road and intersection improvements at Hwy. 9/SR528, SR 528, SR 528/87th Avenue, and SR 528/83rd Avenue that represent over $3.5 million in improvements.
n The city had originally purchased the Coca Cola bottling plant for a Public Works expansion and relocation that was anticipated as a result of civic campus planning that had been ongoing for several years. After putting these plans on hold, we re-evaluated our building expansion plans and decided to sell the property if we could recover the purchase price for the portion of property sold. We were fortunate in negotiating a sale with Parr Lumber Company to purchase the facility.
The property consists of three lots the city bought for $3.75 million. Parr is buying Parcel 1 with the building for $2.3 million. This is scheduled to close this week. They also have a purchase agreement for Parcel 2, 2.48 acres with no street frontage, for $645,432. The city is retaining Parcel 3 along 76th Street NE for future public safety uses. Parcel 3 is 2.8 acres and fairly represents the remaining purchase value of about $800,000.
So, while it is true that the city re-evaluated its purchase of the property and successfully negotiated a sale to a new business, it is inaccurate to suggest that our actions are resulting in a financial loss.
Mayor Jon Nehring