MARYSVILLE – The City Council voted Monday to give residential developers a tax break for units built downtown near the waterfront.
Councilman Jeff Vaughan was the lone dissenting vote.
Vaughan said that he understands giving tax incentives to businesses to encourage them to locate in the Manufacturing Industrial Center, for example, because that spurs economic growth. But he doesn’t get why the city would provide a similar incentive for residential development on the waterfront. He said that would send the wrong message.
Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima explained that because of zoning there wouldn’t just be apartments there. There would need to be a business involved, such as on the bottom floor with condos above.
She said there is such a strong demand for housing that a mixed-use project could kick-start development of waterfront. It also provides a stable income for investors.
Hirashima assured the council that the tax breaks would only be for the downtown core, even though there has been interest in similar breaks for developments in Lakewood, for example.
“Downtown needs that extra help,” she said, adding Lynnwood and Everett have had success with similar provisions. Hirashima said with design standards in place downtown will be something the city will be proud of.
“The city will be very involved in the waterfront. We own it. We will partner” with any developer who wants to be a part of it.
In other news:
•The Farmer’s Market is moving to Grocery Outlet this year from City Hall; the east end of the Ebey Trail is close to being finished; and Cedar Field improvements are part of the House budget.
•Five new firefighters have been hired.
•There were 150 public records requests last year; 402 hours of staff time were spent dealing with them.