Town Center Subarea Plan Update

City Council Adopts Updated Town Center Plan

Town Center Map

On September 26, 2019 the City Council adopted a series of ordinances resulting in changes/updates of multiple areas in the City of Mountlake Terrace. The Comprehensive Plan, development regulations, official zoning map, Economic Vitality Element, Planned Action Area and the re-designation of 1.3 acres of property for Park and Open Space for adoption were all portions of the city affected by these adoptions. The actions followed seven public meetings before the City Council, extensive outreach and a 19-month public process.  

The updated/new Town Center Subarea Plan and related development regulations encourage the revitalization of the City's Town Center. The development of additional housing, offices, retail and commercial stores and community amenities are all future opportunities. Highlights of the updated plan include:

  • Three new Town Center Districts within a reconfigured Town Center Core boundary
  • Creation of a Town Center reserve district
  • Amended zoning code and design standards
  • Implementation of a Planned Action Area Ordinance that will create a more efficient environmental review process

The four Town Center Districts are as follows:

  • TC-1 District - Intended to emphasize transit-oriented employment development to those Town Center areas closest to the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center and future light rail station. Building heights up to 12-stories will be allowed.
  • TC-2 District - Intended to function  as the center for retail, cultural, dining and entertainment activity in Mountlake Terrace. Building heights up to 8 stories will be allowed.
  • TC-3 District - Intended to emphasize multifamily residential uses, serving as buffer areas adjacent to the transitional zone that is situated outside the Town Center core. Building heights up to 6 stories will be allowed. 
  • TC-Reserve District - Intended to allow for a smaller scale mixture of multifamily, retail commercial and professional office uses, allowing building heights up to 4 stories.

The updated plan is the result of work that began with the appointment of an Economic Vitality and Town Center Task Force in February of 2018. The Task Force recommended updates to the Planning Commission in December of 2018. Following an extensive public process, the Planning Commission submitted a recommendation to the City Council in July of 2019. 

The City Council and Administration hereby expresses our sincere appreciation to the Task Force, Planing Commission, residents and businesses for participating in this process. 

2019 Recap
Planning Commission: The Planning Commission began review and consideration of the Task Force’s recommended draft Town Center Subarea Plan on January 14, 2019. The Commission met 11 times in 2019 and held a public hearing on July 10, 2019 (meeting #10). Following deliberation during the July 16, 2019 meeting (meeting #11), the Commission moved to recommend the following to City Council: 

  1. Amended Task Force recommended Town Center Subarea Plan
  2. New Town Center Zoning Chapter 19.50 (Mountlake Terrace Municipal Code MTMC)
  3. New Town Center Design Standards Chapter 19.123 (MTMC)
  4. Amended Economic Vitality Element
  5. Designation of approximately 1.3 acres of property located on 62nd Avenue W from Urban Residential Low (URL) to Park and Open Space (POS) (Comprehensive Plan Map Amendment) and as Recreation and Park District (REC) on the Official Zoning Map. The re-designation and rezoning of this property will allow for future park/open space use.   

On August 26, 2019, the Planning Commission voted to rescind a recommendation to extend the Town Center Core Boundary at SE Corner.

NOTE: Materials presented during Task Force and Planning Commission meetings can be found on the Economic Vitality & Town Center Task Force webpage or Planning Commission Agendas webpage.

To view all materials presented during the Task Force and Planning Commission meetings, click here

City Council: The City Council conducted 8 public meetings including a walking tour, two joint meetings with the Planning Commission (related to the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement process) and a Council hosted public hearing.  The City Council began formally reviewing the Planning Commission’s recommended draft subarea plan at its July 22, 2019 meeting.  On September 16, 2019, the City Council held a public hearing regarding the City’s Comprehensive Plan (map and text amendments), Development Regulations and official zoning map, Economic Vitality Element, Planned Action Ordinance and the re-designation of 1.3 acres of property for Park and Open Space for adoption. Materials presented during City Council meetings and a Council hosted public hearing can be found on the City Council Agendas webpage.

On September 26, 2019, the City Council approved the following:

  • Ordinance 2752 repealing and replacing the Town Center Subarea Plan
  • Ordinance 2753 repealing and replacing the Economic Vitality Element of the Comprehensive Plan
  • Ordinance 2754 amending the Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map (LU-6) to include changes to the Town Center boundary and to change the designation of approximately 1.3 acres of property located on 64th Avenue W from Urban Residential Low (URL) to Park and Open Space (POS)
  • Ordinance 2755 repealing and replacing Chapter 19.50 Downtown Community Business District (BC/D) with Town Center Zones (TC), adding a new Chapter 19.123 Town Center Design Standards; and other amendments
  • Ordinance 2756 amending the Town Center Planned Action Area to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and Town Center Subarea Plan
  • Ordinance 2757 amending the Official Zoning Map and the Town Center (TC) Zoning Map to reflect updated Town Center Subarea Plan boundaries and Town Center zones.

NOTE: See the September 26, 2019 Agenda for additional information related to the above listed items.

BACKGROUND 
2018 Recap
Task Force: On April 2, 2018, the City Council appointed 11 individuals to serve on the Economic Vitality & Town Center (EV&TC) Task Force to prepare recommendations related to updating the 2007 Town Center Plan (amended in 2009) as well as the City’s Economic Vitality Strategy and related development codes and standards. The Task Force included two liaisons each from City Council and Planning Commission.

Beginning in April of 2018, the EV&TC Task Force hosted 14 public meetings, including two open houses, a public Economic Opportunities Panel Discussion, ajoint City Council/Planning Commission/Task Force meeting and conducted a visual preference survey. The chair invited public comment at the conclusion of each EV&TC Task Force meeting.

Economic Opportunities Panel Discussion: To broaden the discussion and better position Mountlake Terrace for future economic investment, a panel of individuals with backgrounds in commercial real estate, urban architecture and design, real estate development and investment were invited to participate in a July 12, 2018 Economic Opportunities Forum discussion about factors that influence why/where development happens.

Joint City Council/Planning Commission Special Meeting: On December 17, 2018 the City Council held a special joint meeting with the Task Force and Planning Commission at the Mountlake Terrace Library to discuss the Task Force’s recommended draft Town Center Subarea Plan. A presentation was given, similar to the one during a December 4, 2018 open house/workshop. Staff and the project consultant outlined the next steps in the overall update process. Following the presentation, the City Council and Planning Commission liaisons to the EV&TC Task Force spoke about the overall process from their perspective.

Environmental Review
Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement: A joint public meeting and public hearing of the City Council and Planning Commission took place on August 1 and 5, 2019 respectively related to the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement process (SEIS).  The 30-day comment period for the Draft SEIS began on July 19, 2019 and ran through 4:00 p.m. on August 19, 2019. Mountlake Terrace issued a Final SEIS for the Town Center Subarea Planned Action Ordinance and associated implementation ordinances on September 18, 2019. The final SEIS will supplement the Mountlake Terrace Town Center Planned Action and Zoning Regulations Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), published in August 2007, and the Town Center Planned Action Final EIS Addendum, published in April 2013.

The Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SEIS) is available as well.