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Advocate for new waterfront trail in Everett

  • 06 Mar 2020 2:33 PM
    Message # 8806633

    Hello fellow cyclists,

    I got a letter (copied below) about a proposed development at the NW corner of Everett, right on the waterfront. They are supposed to put in a trail along the entire waterfront, but only propose to do that on the northern boundary. We can really use waterfront access. Everett has precious little of it. Have you tried the trails just SE of the 529 bridge? They are wonderful -- check 'em out.

    I just wrote a letter to the Planning Department and hearing examiner, and will try to post it next.


    ---------- Letter from Mary below ------------

    Please Help Stop the Port of Everett’s Proposed Development on the Bay Wood Site 

    OR Demand Significant Plan Changes    

    (City of Everett File SMA19-001)

    Hearing Examiner Public Hearing originally scheduled February 20.  New hearing date March 19 at 1 PM

    Current Proposal.  The proposal is a 265,000 sf manufacturing, warehouse, office building with heights between 35 to 48 feet. 

    Location.  200 W. Marine View Dr.  (The vacant property located just north of Cadman at the northwest end of West Marine View Drive - below Legion Park)    

    Key Concerns:  The use is non-water oriented (does not need access to the water to function).   But plans do not include a public access trail around the entire shoreline edge as required in city regulations for non-water oriented uses. Riparian buffers along the shoreline edge are very narrow and do not meet city standards.

    Action Needed TODAY!  Public comments must be submitted at or prior to the public hearing. The new hearing may be March 19 at 1 PM.  

    Written comments can be submitted to Niels Tygesen at or the City of Everett Community, Planning, and Economic Development Department, 2930 Wetmore, Ste 8A, Everett, WA  98201

    Please comment on 

    • The importance of trails along the waterfront in improving your quality of life, whether you are a local resident or a visitor.  

    • The need for adequate shoreline buffers to protect our aquatic habitats from the impacts of urban development, including habitats of Chinook salmon, Bull Trout, Orca, etc.

    • Whether the site should be reserved for maritime uses that need access to the water (and therefore have less public access) or be allowed to develop with non-water oriented uses (that must provide continuous access along the entire shoreline edge).

    My City Planning Background and Experience.   I am Mary Cunningham, a retired City planner that worked for the City for 32+ years and worked on the 2002 Shoreline Master Plan and the 2003 Shoreline Public Access Plan.   The 2003 Public Access Plan was developed because residents were tired of living so close to the water, but not being able to get to it due to historic development by the railroads and industry.  The overwhelming public demand for access to the shoreline, including the need to touch the water’s edge, resulted in strong requirements for public access in the 2002/2003 plans. However, water dependent industry was also a priority use in the shoreline, so the plans and regulations required less public access on those properties to prevent conflicts with their operations.   

    Today’s requirements for public access would not be so strong without the public meeting testimony and letters that demanded it.  The public needs to continue to demand significant access to our shorelines. If we don’t demand it now, we won’t get another opportunity on this site for many years when redevelopment of the site could occur.

    Details of Key Concerns:    

    The Project Needs to Provide Continuous Public Access to the Entire Shoreline

    • City plans and regulations require that uses on the site be water dependent since they are on the main navigation channel and there are few opportunities for these uses.   Because regulations require that uses on the site be water dependent, the Shoreline Public Access Plan only proposed a potential short public access spur trail along a portion of the north property line that would hopefully not interfere with the water dependent use.  The SMP says that public access should be consistent with the Shoreline Public Access Plan. The Port’s current proposal only includes the short access spur consistent with the Plan, even though the proposed use is not water dependent.

    • But the Shoreline Master Program includes another regulation that states:  Water enjoyment uses and non-water oriented uses that front on the shoreline shall provide continuous public access along the entire site’s shoreline.  Continuous access does not mean the access is equidistant from the ordinary high water mark or within a buffer.   

    Because the use is not water dependent or related (non-water oriented), the public should demand and the city must require continuous public access along the entire shoreline edge!      A great example of such a trail is the Port’s recently expanded trail along the Snohomish River, just upriver of the SR 529 bridge in the Port’s Riverside Industrial Park on Riverside Road off of E. Marine View Dr.   Go check it out! It fits in great with the non-water oriented industrial uses and is a gem of a public amenity.

    • Public access regulations require uses to show that structures over 35’ high will not obstruct views of a substantial number of residences in adjoining areas.  The application doesn’t address view blockage from the buildings which will be up to 48’ tall. This analysis must occur with opportunity for public review and comment before the public hearing.

    Proposed Riparian Buffers Adjacent to the Shoreline Are Not Wide Enough to Protect Aquatic Areas

    • Buffers along the shorelines are too narrow to protect the adjacent aquatic areas from the impacts of urban development and should be increased consistent with new critical area regulations.  The proposal includes regrading/excavating a portion of a buffer area to restore aquatic/wetland habitat (which is great). But the proposed riparian zone will only be 15-20 feet wide.  The new critical area ordinance, developed using Best Available Science, requires buffers of 100-150 feet wide to protect aquatic areas from urban development.   

    The Use is Not Permitted

    • Non-water oriented uses are only permitted through a Shoreline Conditional Use process.  The City issued a Determination of Non-Significance for the Conditional Use Permit, but hasn’t yet received an application for the conditional use.   The public needs to be able to review application materials before any decisions are made!

    Let Your Voice Be Heard!


    The project application is on-line at  

    Under the Land Use Projects Tab, Search for SMA19-001

    If you want to review the file in the Planning Department office, contact the City’s Planner Niels Tygesen at 425-257-8731 or

    I’d love to talk to or meet with anyone to discuss the project.  Please call or text me – Mary Cunningham  425-314-2650 or email me at teamwebermc at gmail dot com.

    I can also email copies of the 2 detailed letters and attachments that I have submitted to the City.

  • 06 Mar 2020 2:35 PM
    Reply # 8806634 on 8806633

    I sent this to

    To: Niels Tygesen, and Hearing Examiner for this project

    From: Steve Fox

    Subject: Project File No. SMA19-001, Port of Everett Bay Wood Shoreline Restoration & Redevelopment

    The proposed development on the former "Bay Wood" site has plans for a short trail, just on the north side of the property. Since the proposed usage does not need water access, there should be a trail along the entire waterfront (i.e., north, west, and south boundaries). This trail would provide rare access to the Everett waterfront, especially where the Snohomish River meets salt water. Such a trail is ideally situated with the recently designated "Mill Town Trail", which reaches the waterfront only a small fraction of its distance. 

    Our family are regular users of the Mill Town trail and other waterfront trails. The trails just southeast of the Hwy 529 bridge across the Snohomish River (off of Riverside Road) are absolutely wonderful. Having a new trail on the northwest corner of our city would also be a great way for locals and visitors to enjoy nature, get some relief from the bustle of the city, and possibly bring revenue to small restaurants and businesses.

    The trail would also be part of a buffer between the shoreline and industrial property, important to the local ecology. Shouldn't this buffer be large enough to protect that ecology? My understanding is the city code requires such a buffer, and continuous public access if industry is not needing shore access.

    Finally, has a study been done to see if the tall buildings would block the view from numerous homes on the bluff?

    Thank you,

    Steve Fox

  • 07 Mar 2020 8:23 AM
    Reply # 8807725 on 8806633
    Drew Ellison (Administrator)

    Thank you, Steve, for letting us know about this and for being involved!

    I sent off an email to the link in your post, advocating for development of the trail system and for providing public waterfront access as part of the project. 


  • 08 Mar 2020 4:40 PM
    Reply # 8809512 on 8806633
    Cindy Proctor (Administrator)

    Thanks for spreading this word Steve, it's a good opportunity to advocate for biking in the Everett area.  Every voice helps the cause! 

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