New business area district formed around Everett Station
Public hearing about it on Jan. 22
EVERETT — The city is looking to improve the territory around the Everett Station District by creating what’s known as a business improvement area (BIA) — a localized property tax to invest in enhancements.
The City Council approved establishing the new BIA around Everett Station after a Dec. 11 public hearing. But because the council also voted to alter the BIA’s borders, it is required to hold another public hearing.
That second hearing is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, in the council chambers at 3002 Wetmore Ave.
Downtown already has a BIA that pays toward litter cleanup and sidewalk maintenance.
The Everett Station BIA would pay for adding decor, adding security services for public spaces.
It would also encourage public events. The BIA could raise upward of $475,000 a year.
As initially proposed, the Station District BIA would encompass an area stretching north to south from Hewitt Street to 41st Street, bordered mostly by Broadway on the west and Interstate 5 on the east.
In response to objections from business owners, the council amended boundaries to remove some properties west of Broadway, between Broadway and Lombard Street, and an area east of the Burlington Northern railroad tracks, extending from 36th to 41st streets and stretching one block east of Smith Avenue.
The revised Station District BIA would exclude properties on the west side of Broadway that are south of 34th Street, as well as all parcels in the southeast section of the BIA east of I-5 and a small section in the northeast on the east side of Maple Street.
Though council unanimously approved the revised boundaries, some members expressed reservations.
“Have we come up with the best boundaries?” Council Vice President Judy Tuohy wondered before the council vote. “I’m looking at two options. Is there a third option that’s even better?”
If there is, it could come to light at the Jan. 22 hearing.
At the initial public hearing, 12 of 19 speakers favored forming the new BIA.
Dissenters complained that they were not notified about the BIA proposal, that its language is too vague, and that their BIA assessments add to a heavy tax burden.
The proposed tax is a property value assessment of 67 cents per $1,000, plus a tax of 4 cents per square foot of land.
“This BIA smells exactly like another tax,” said Steve Ahmann, owner of Pacific Power Batteries at 30th and Broadway. “We’re competing with Amazon … increasing our costs helps Amazon, not us.”
BIA proponents argued the assessments are better viewed as investments to improve safety, economic development and marketing.
“My fee is about $10,000 a year,” said Greg Tisdel, who owns RKLG Trucking and is on the Everett Station District Alliance’s board of directors. “Do I want to pay the tax? Hell, no! But I’m going to pay it, because I want a better neighborhood not just for me but for everyone.”
Other property owners said they were never contacted about the new BIA, or felt excluded from the decision-making process.
Alan Mizuta, who owns a property on Hill Avenue, said BIA leaders told him businesses in his area were “inconsequential” to the formation of the BIA.
“I found this unacceptable leadership,” he said.
After polling neighboring business owners, Mizuta said most were opposed to the Station District BIA.
Overall, though, the majority of property owners within its borders favor forming the new entity, according to Brock Howell, executive director of the Alliance.
Howell told the council that 67 percent of Station District stakeholders support the amended boundaries approved at the Dec. 11 meeting.
Joe Sievers, of Everett Downtown Storage, said every stakeholder could agree that the area needs improvement ahead of the light rail station, which is slated to arrive by 2036.
“I’ve always been a fan of the ‘five P’s — proper preparation prevents poor performance,” he told the council. “The BIA will give us that chance to properly prepare.”
Check out our online Publications!
Best seen in the Firefox or Chrome Browsers