Everett zoning plan allows a denser downtown
Concerns raised about boundary areas and opioid clinic regulations
EVERETT — The city’s Metro Everett plan that’s been in the works for four years is being readied for a vote.
The Metro Everett plan changes the rules on off-street parking, building heights and simplifies code regulations. Some goals are to increase density and enhance walkability. Buildings of up to 150 feet tall would be allowed along much of Hewitt’s core, compared to the maximum 120 feet allowed today.
The plan also addresses a past conversation on methadone clinics City Council members left off in February without a deciding vote.
It proposes to ban any medical clinics from the first floor of buildings. (Methadone clinics are considered no different from a doctor’s office or medical center to federal lawmakers.)
The regulation on medical clinics was added in May under direction from the mayor’s office. The rules would also ban any social services providers from the ground floor.
Meanwhile, neighbors around Norton Avenue and Nassau Street are concerned the proposed development regulations would allow tall buildings rising next door to their historic homes on Rucker Hill.
They were surprised to recently learn that their area would be included in the plan’s boundaries that extend past the downtown core.
Allowing micro-housing, also known as apodments, also bugged neighbors who spoke at a public hearing last week.
The neighbors’ concern is that adopting the plan would erase historic overlay zoning that defends and protects the character of their neighborhood.
That’s not exactly true. The overlays would be retained. The existing regulations for heights within historic overlays would not change, planning director Allan Giffen said. What can go in them can change by allowing unlimited density. Outside of the overlay, the plan would allow five to eight-story buildings south of Pacific Avenue.
One solution the city’s planning commission is considering is to add buffers that prevent large buildings from abutting the historic single-family homes.
The Metro Everett plan’s map area stretches from Marine View Drive east to Interstate 5 and goes north to 24th and as far south as 36th Street. Its footprint folds in the Everett Station area, downtown business core, and many blocks surrounding the city’s epicenter. When it is approved, its zoning largely replaces the individual zoning regulations for each area with one large planning rulebook.
City planners began working on the Metro Everett plan four years ago; its boundaries cover over one square mile. Now the Planning Commission is ready to approve the plan, but paused on taking a vote after one dozen people spoke at the commission’s meeting Tuesday, June 5.
The commission will meet again Tuesday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m. at 3002 Wetmore Ave. The commission is an advisory body that would send a recommendation to the City Council.
The full Metro Plan is available online at www.everettwa.gov/metro
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