Downtown plan gets final nod from Bothell Council
July 20, 2009 · 3:49 PM
After roughly three years of planning and discussion, Bothell leaders say the groundwork is in place now for the revamping of the city’s downtown.
At their meeting July 14, with one negative vote and two members absent, local legislators adopted the downtown subarea plan meant to guide the redevelopment of downtown and the new development planned for 18 acres of Northshore School District property set to be purchased by the city.
As has been well-publicized, the plan is for the purchase to lead to a mixed-use residential and retail development along Bothell Way Northeast, stretching from Main Street to approximately Pop Keeney Field.
In presenting the plan to council, city Senior Planner Dave Boyd said legislators and staff had made a number of changes, many in response to resident comments made at numerous public hearings held on the downtown issue.
Some of the noteworthy points of the plan might include expanded transition zones between new development and existing residential neighborhoods. Height restrictions were put in place and Boyd also talked about larger setbacks and more stringent landscaping requirements in the transition zones.
While he applauded those changes, Councilman Patrick Ewing said after the meeting that the overall plan didn’t address what he called “a large swathe” dubbed the downtown corridor. Even though the area could abut single-family residences, he said zoning in the corridor allows high, dense commercial development without the safeguards placed in the transition areas.
Ewing’s vote was the only one cast against the overall plan.
“Over the past three years,” Mayor Mark Lamb said, “we have been working together as a community to develop a plan for downtown Bothell that will honor our small-town history.”
At the same time, Lamb added the plan will provide new shopping, dining, socializing and residential opportunities for Bothell residents and visitors.
City Manager Bob Stowe said this year was a “milestone” year for the downtown rebuilding efforts. He said the city had acquired all the parcels needed for the so-called Crossroads Project, basically a realignment of the city’s two state routes and Main Street and complete a purchase agreement for the school-district property.
While the public was invited to comment on the plan at the July 14 meeting, those comments were largely subdued. One resident received lots of support when she asked the city to maintain full access to the Park at Bothell Landing. Stowe said officials can require any developer to provide Bothell with an easement leading to the park, which is itself being revamped.
In connection with the downtown plan, at Stowe’s recommendation, council created a special board to oversee the master planning of the area around Pop Keeney Field. The board will consist of both city and Northshore school representatives.
Also at Stowe’s urging, with a bit more deliberation, council adopted an ordinance designed to allow the city to dispose of surplus property, which eventually will include land purchased from the school district.
According to Stowe, the ordinance does not declare any property as surplus at this point. What it does do is allow city administrators to begin marketing property, possibly including the W.A. Anderson Building on Bothell Way.
Originally built as a junior high school in 1931, the building has attracted plenty of attention from local historians, including the city Landmark Preservation Board. Lamb and others said they are committed to preserving the building.