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Everett buys time to work on Silver Lake plan

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By Noah Haglund
Herald Writer
EVERETT -- The City Council on Wednesday imposed emergency restrictions for developing 12 acres of vacant land on the north end of Silver Lake.
It's land where an earlier project to build a high-density mix of shops and condos folded.
The plan for developing the site was crafted a decade ago with close attention to what neighbors and the city wanted to see there. It included rebuilding nearby Green Lantern Park on the lake shore.
The ordinance now in place is intended to buy time for the city to conduct more planning and to gather public input. The City Council voted 5-0 to pass it.
"This is a unique circumstance where the council thought it was imperative to consider the community's expectations that were put in place through work with the prior developer," Council President Jeff Moore said.
The earlier Silver Lake proposal would have included 185 multi-family homes, a new Safeway store plus another 100,000 square feet of commercial space. The complex known as Silver Lake Center called for two eight-story buildings of 111 feet tall. That's comparable to downtown Everett's Wall Street Building.
In exchange for the high building densities, Seattle developer Alan Clark agreed to rebuild the city's Green Lantern Park just to the other side of the highway. Specific parking requirement and pedestrian features figured into the package as well.
With permits in hand by 2004, Clark went on to demolish buildings at the site. In late 2005, he said he intended to break ground the following spring.
That didn't happen. Instead, some of the land went into foreclosure and a new owner bought it in 2010. Permits expired in November.
The sensitivity over building up the site stemmed in large part from past development conflicts in the area.
Clark in the mid-1990s started purchasing land for the proposed Silver Lake development. It would have stretched south from 110th Street SE to the Bothell-Everett Highway. A new Safeway store would have replaced an existing one on the north end of the site.
People from the area earlier had mounted strong opposition to a store that Costco Wholesale Corp. of Issaquah eventually built north of the site along the Bothell-Everett Highway.
Back when he was still pursuing the project, Clark met with the city and members of the Silver Lake Action Committee, a group that fought the Costco store.
"He truly showed the spirit of collaboration and wanting to work with the neighbors in the area," city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said. "He definitely put his best foot forward in trying to find a good balance."
The emergency ordinance the council passed Wednesday calls for scheduling a public hearing within 60 days to gather public comments about the site. Over the next year, the city plans to continue land-use planning and public outreach.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465,

Story tags » EverettConstruction & Property

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