Downtown’s future in council’s hands

Everett’s new strategy for growth could build up the skyline, shrink its supply of free parking and bring thousands of new residents to downtown.

Called simply “The Downtown Plan,” it proposes to rezone 15 downtown blocks from industrial to business uses.

The plan goes before the City Council tonight.

“It’s not a plan that’s going unnoticed,” said Allan Giffen, director of Everett’s Planning and Community Development department. “I think a lot of people are expecting things to go on after the plan is adopted.”

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 3002 Wetmore Ave. It is open to the public.

The plan focuses on the downtown core. That area is bounded by Everett and Pacific avenues and Broadway and W. Marine View Drive.

Crafted by consultants, city planners and the public over the past year, the downtown plan de-emphasizes the car. It encourages more walking, bicycling and use of mass transit.

It sets goals for increasing the number of people who live downtown with hopes that new residents will support more retail businesses and a vibrant arts and entertainment scene.

The plan anticipates up to 4,000 new residents moving downtown in the next two decades, as the stock of condos and apartments nearly doubles.

Business owners and city officials say that would serve as a catalyst for more private investment.

More than $1 billion in public and private money has been spent on downtown in recent years, including the construction of the Everett Events Center and Everett Station.

Sue Strickland with the Downtown Everett Association, an advocacy group for 100 property and business owners, said a downtown renaissance would have positive effect on property values across the city.

“If you have a healthy downtown core, it can do nothing but enhance the entire area,” she said.

In addition to zoning changes, the plan strengthens design standards, especially for larger buildings.

Requirements for landscaping, hidden parking garages, special window treatments and building materials are among the tools officials expect to use to ensure new developments conform to the city’s downtown vision.

Historic preservation, particularly along Hewitt and Wetmore avenues, is also encouraged, to retain a sense of the town’s past.

Perhaps more controversial are restrictions on new ground-floor social services agencies, teen clubs, video-game arcades, tattoo parlors, pawnshops and food banks, on portions of Colby, Hewitt, Rucker and Wetmore avenues.

The establishment of a parking authority and installation of parking meters downtown could also meet turbulence tonight.

While it places a 200-foot height restriction on buildings along the Colby Avenue ridge, developers can exceed that ceiling by using bonus credits awarded for setting aside open space and following special design requirements.

That means new buildings on Colby and Wetmore avenues could climb above 300 feet. That’s double the height of downtown’s current tallest buildings.

While the downtown plan paves an avenue for high-rise ambitions, it is also limited in its ability to drive growth.

“I don’t think for the next several years you’re going to see many tall buildings downtown, because the market has to drive it and developers need tenants to fill them,” planning commissioner Earl Dutton said. “It will take shape over time, but it will take a long time.”

Reporter David Chircop: 425-339-3429 or

Talk to us

More in Local News

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speaks to the crowd during an opening ceremony at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County executive pitches $1.66B budget

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced his proposed budget Tuesday afternoon. Public comment is slated to begin Oct. 10.

Jamel Alexander, center, listens as a Snohomish County jury records their verdict of guilty, in the murder of Shawna Brune, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  Alexander was convicted in the first degree murder of Brune. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Appeals court orders new trial in Everett woman’s stomping death

Appellate judges ruled that additional evidence should have been admitted in Jamel Alexander’s trial for the murder of Shawna Brune.

Kristy Carrington, CEO of Providence Swedish of North Puget Sound, speaks during a Healthcare Summit at Everett Community College on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Providence, Optum and Premera discuss challenges at Everett summit

Five panelists spoke on labor shortages, high costs and health care barriers Wednesday at Everett Community College.

Most Read