Everett council sets aside mill site for industrial uses

EVERETT — The area around the former Kimberly-Clark mill will be zoned for water-dependent industrial development, the City Council decided Wednesday night.

The 6-1 vote was cheered loudly by packed audience, many of whom had testified in favor of preserving Everett’s working waterfront.

The council was weighing two potential visions for the city’s central waterfront, an area of 90 acres dominated by what’s left of the former Kimberly-Clark mill.

“We’ll look back at this decision as a really proud moment for our community,” Mayor Ray Stephanson said afterward.

The vote involved the city’s land-use regulations and part of its comprehensive plan. The changes will take effect 15 days after the mayor’s signature, which is expected later this week. At that point, a development moratorium in place for nearly a year will be lifted.

The option the council approved allows for office space and other uses that don’t require water access farther from the shore.

It followed a unanimous recommendation that Everett’s planning commission made in October. The lone vote against the council majority came from Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher, who said zoning the area for office parks and light-industrial zoning promised to create more jobs with higher-paying wages, while allowing more public access to the water.

The council added an amendment to prohibit water-bottling facilities at the site. Other industries not allowed there under the new rules are fish processing, composting and petroleum refineries.

Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark closed its Everett mill last year, eliminating 700 jobs. Demolition of mill buildings has been underway for months.

Kimberly-Clark has reported talking to several prospective buyers who have shown interest in the 66-acre site. The company hasn’t shared details because of non-disclosure agreements. The Port of Everett also has shown interest in buying the property.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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