The City Council voted 6-0 Monday night to approve the formation of a local improvement district that has those who own property within the district's boundaries sharing half the cost of a future overpass at 156th Street NE. The construction of the overpass is estimated to cost $14 million with design work and right of way acquisitions raising the total cost of the project to an estimated $17 million.
Forming the district is one way a city and property owners who benefit can pay for a project like this.
“It's a mechanism where a community can put in public improvements and then part of the cost of the improvement is then allocated to the owners of the properties where the property is specially benefited,” Hugh Spitzer, an attorney with Foster Pepper said at the meeting.
The district is 1,587 acres and has an east-to-west boundary that stretches from railroad tracks on the west side of I-5 to 58th Avenue on the east side of I-5. The district would have an approximate northern boundary of 164th Street NE and stretch to 140th Street NE on the east side of I-5.
Property owners and those representing property owners in the Smokey Point and Twin Lakes areas offered both support and opposition to forming the district during a public hearing in the City Hall council chambers at 1049 State Ave.
“We think it's the right project,” said Donald Barker with Powell Development Company, the builders of Lakewood Crossing. “We think it will be a great catalyst for future growth for both residential, commercial and industrial in north Marysville.”
Butch Kvamme, who owns property on Smokey Point Boulevard, was also among those who offered support for the overpass and formation of the district.
“The overpass is something that we feel is very important to north Marysville,” he said. “I'm in strong support of moving forward.”
While many who spoke said they were in favor of an overpass being built, not everyone agreed a district that asks property owners to share in the cost of its construction should be formed.
“I'm not saying that I'm against the need for a bridge,” said Dennis Quinn, who lives on 152nd Street NE. “If you want to be fair then everybody pays for it. Don't single a certain few property owners out.”
JoAnn DeLazzari, a resident on 25th Avenue NE, said an overpass without access to the freeway would benefit only Marysville residents and she was not in favor of the district.
“If it's going to be Marysville residents then Marysville residents should have a vote at the ballot box to decide whether or not they want the bridge and if they wish to have a (local improvement district) for that area,” she said. “If I can be pro bridge with access to the freeway I would help you raise the money.”
The city was petitioned by property owners to form the district, public works director Kevin Nielsen said. The city is seeking federal and state funds to reduce the cost of the project and any funds that are received will be used to reduce both the city's and property owners' share of the total cost.
“We're doing whatever we can to find money, whatever we can to build this (overpass),” he said. “At this point it is the best way to go if you want to get it built right now under these conditions.”
Nielsen added that he expects the cost of building the overpass will increase over time as the economy improves. He said that freeway access from the overpass could be a possible move in the future.
After the hearing, Councilwoman Donna Wright made a motion to approve an ordinance forming the local improvement district.
“It does seem that the majority of the people who spoke tonight are in favor of the overcrossing,” she said. “There's some heartburn over the payment, but I would be in favor of getting the process started.”
Construction of the overpass is expected to begin next year, city staff said. The city will determine each property owner's share of the cost once construction is complete. The City Council will hold another hearing before the final assessments to property owners are approved.
Maps of the local improvement district's boundaries and the petitions given to the city can be viewed at the city's Community Development office at 601 Delta Ave.
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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