Ann Aagaard, left, Carston Curd and Mark Swanson

Ann Aagaard, left, Carston Curd and Mark Swanson

Bothell City Council candidates spar over housing density

Voters will decide which two of the three candidates advance to the November ballot for Bothell City Council.

BOTHELL — With housing density and the environment top of mind, three candidates are vying for Position 4 on the Bothell City Council: Ann Aagaard, Carston Curd and Mark Swanson.

The Aug. 1 primary will eliminate one candidate ahead of the November election.

In the past, single-family zoning requirements in much of Bothell prevented construction of “middle housing,” like duplexes, triplexes and town homes.

However, this year, state lawmakers passed a bill allowing middle housing despite local zoning rules. The bill aims to increase housing supply and density.

The three candidates for a four-year term on the council have different ideas about how much density the city should add.

Ann Aagaard

Ann Aagaard

Ann Aagaard

Aagaard wants Bothell to build more homes.

However, Bothell must balance its need for housing with tree canopy and wetland protections, Aagaard said.

She has lived in or near Bothell for 45 years. During that time, she has served on the Bothell Shorelines Board, the King County Agricultural Task Force and the Salmon Recovery Council of the Puget Sound Partnership.

Aagaard has also served on the Washington State Ecological Commission and on the advisory council for the architects who designed the UW Bothell and Cascadia College campus.

Bothell needs to do more for the environment, Aagaard said.

Aagaard wants to focus on restoring natural areas, including the former Wayne Golf Course, which the city bought in 2017.

In the mid-1970s, Aagaard founded the nonprofit organization Save a Valuable Environment. In 1978, the organization took the city of Bothell to the Washington Supreme Court to prevent a 141-acre farm from becoming a shopping center.

Since then, the nonprofit has continued to oppose development to protect critical areas and wetlands.

Aagaard boasts endorsements from four former Bothell mayors.

If elected, this would be Aagaard’s first time holding public office.

Carston Curd

Carston Curd

Carston Curd

Curd is excited about adding density.

As a tour guide for Bothellites for People Oriented Places, he showed people the “forbidden houses” of Bothell: multi-family homes built before zoning requirements barred their construction.

On another guide’s tour, Bonnie Mackay emerged from a duplex and “shared their story,” Curd recalled.

Mackay’s brother Robert lived on one side of the duplex. Their 91-year-old mother stayed on the other side. By living so close to each other, Mackay’s family members were better able to provide support and care. The duplex was “a necessity for that family,” Curd said.

Curd, a Democratic precinct committee officer, serves as the vice chair of the city’s planning commission. The commission makes recommendations about the city’s Comprehensive Plan and zoning code.

The Comprehensive Plan provides the framework for how Bothell will adapt to projected population growth.

“I know a lot about how local government works,” Curd said. “I’m really steeped in the issues.”

Curd is also focused on salmon recovery, tree protection and transit access.

Curd volunteered to help turn the former Wayne Golf Course into a park that supports local wildlife.

Curd is endorsed by Bothell’s current mayor, Mason Thompson.

Mark Swanson

Mark Swanson

Mark Swanson

Swanson is against adding density to Bothell.

“There is no affordable housing crisis,” he said.

Swanson, who hasn’t held elected office before, believes Bothell has “forced” the city’s population growth by allowing developers to build apartments and multi-family housing.

In the decade leading up to 2020, Bothell’s population increased by nearly 15,000 residents, according to Census data.

“We’re supposed to be residential, single-family neighborhoods,” Swanson said.

The longtime Bothell resident and engineer is concerned about how more housing development will affect the environment, traffic congestion and crime rates.

Swanson is running to provide an alternative for Bothell voters who are against more housing.

“I’m not actively campaigning,” Swanson said. “I’m not going to win. I doubt I’ll manage to get through the primary.”

Ballots were mailed out last week. To vote, register online or by mail by July 24. Or register to vote in person by 8 p.m. Aug. 1 at a county elections office.

Surya Hendry: 425-339-3104; surya.hendry@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @suryahendryy.

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