Riverfront developer backs off on changes

EVERETT — An eastside homebuilder has retreated from some changes it was seeking for a large housing development on former industrial land along the Snohomish River.

Some of Polygon Northwest’s ideas for the south end of the Riverfront Project met with opposition at a Jan. 7 planning hearing.

The Bellevue developer’s new plans would keep a central park green intact and make sure that more than a third of the houses can be accessed along alleyways. A presentation is scheduled at the planning commission’s next meeting at 6:30 p.m. today. Commissioners can make a recommendation about the proposed changes, but it’s up to the City Council to make a final decision.

Polygon bought the property last summer from San Diego developer OliverMcMillan.

“They are going back to a plan that is very similar in layout … in the way the streets and blocks are laid out, to the OliverMcMillan plan,” Everett planning director Allan Giffen said.

The Riverfront area includes more than 100 acres that can be built on, plus wetlands and other areas where development is not possible. The city would allow up to 1,400 homes over the entire property, though Polygon representatives say they’re looking to build about half that number.

So far, tens of millions of city, state and federal dollars have been spent to clean up the former industrial area, build roads and upgrade other infrastructure.

To help guide the development that will benefit from the public investment, city leaders spent years outlining building regulations before selling the land in 2008 to OliverMcMillan. Polygon assumed OliverMcMillan’s rights and obligations when it acquired the property.

Polygon’s current proposal only concerns one of three parcels in the Riverfront area — 40 acres on the south end next to the Lowell neighborhood. The plan calls for about 230 single-family houses there.

In last month’s plan, Polygon proposed breaking up a central park green into several smaller parks. Polygon now hopes to keep the main park, of nearly an acre, intact, as it was in earlier plans.

The developer also wants to include 88 houses with alley access, Giffen said. Last month’s plan had no alleys.

The Everett Planning Commission now holds meetings in City Council Chambers, where they can be televised, streamed over the internet and archived online. The address is 3002 Wetmore Ave.

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

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