City’s future looks crowded

  • Jenny Lynn Zappala<br>Lynnwood / Mountlake Terrace Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:40am

Lynnwood keeps growing and city leaders want to be ready for it.

By 2020, the city is expected to attract 13,800 new jobs and 5,400 new residents.

The city’s plan is to focus that growth into a new urban, mixed-use downtown core known as City Center and keep existing single-family neighborhoods elsewhere intact. The goal is to create more livable wage jobs, housing options and recreation opportunities.

How the city plans to encourage and accommodate City Center development is the focus of an open house next Tuesday.

“It would be really important for a lot of citizens to show up at this event because they will help define what a large section of our community will look like in the next 20 to 30 years,” said Mayor Don Gough.

The Lynnwood City Center Moving Forward Summit is open to the public from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the Lynnwood Convention Center.

Everyone is welcome to attend and take the opportunity to learn more details, see exhibits, ask questions and make comments.

City Center can be viewed as a collection of public and private projects that city leaders hope will occur over the next 20 years.

“The City Center is addressing growth facing our community and accomplishes that in such a way that is a benefit to the city,” said David Kleitsch, the city’s economic development director.

The City Center area is about 350 acres located east of 48th Avenue, south of 194th Street and northwest of I-5. New zoning allows buildings as high as 30 stories in the core, which is south of 196th Street and east of 44th Avenue.

In the private sector, it will be up to property owners and developers to bring a private project, like a new office tower or mixed-use building, to fruition.

As of Monday, the city has not received any permit applications for a private development within the City Center area, according to the city’s community development department.

The Oct. 24 event will focus on the city’s public projects, such as new city parks and street upgrades, which are meant to attract and accommodate new development, according to the city’s plan.

“We have met with several parties that have expressed interest in the city center. The (public) seed money projects that the city has under way is critical in moving those private developments forward,” Kleitsch said. “The new development will not happen without those public improvements and that is why we are doing these refinements.”

The city is also working out how the private and public sector will share the cost of public improvements. The details are being fine tuned by city staff and consultants and will be part of the presentation on Oct. 24.

One of the ways the city can pay for public improvements is a Local Improvement District (LID), a method for property owners who will benefit from public improvements to pay for those improvements. A city study about a potential LID and research about the properties that might be involved will be discussed at the event, city officials said.

The city is also exploring other funding sources such as grants. City efforts to widen 44th Avenue last year and pedestrian improvements scheduled for the 196th Street interchange in 2007 or 2008 are primarily paid for by grants.

A master plan featuring conceptual designs for four proposed city center parks will be unveiled during the open house. The public will be encouraged to review and comment on the parks master plan, which is supposed to be done in 2007.

The city is considering making changes to the street grid, transportation infrastructure and highway access to ease the traffic congestion in years to come. A street master plan is supposed to be ready by December, city officials said.

One of the key questions being considered is whether the City Center area will need another entrance or exit to I-5 to keep traffic flowing. The City Center Access Plan will be done in January.

Another question is how to make the City Center area safer and more accessible for pedestrians. In 2007, the city will build a pedestrian bridge and sidewalks to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the 196th Street/I-5 interchange. There are also plans to make the interurban trail safer by building a 44th Avenue pedestrian bridge, which is scheduled for construction in 2007.

Details about all of the transportation studies and projects will be available at the Oct. 24 open house.

For more information or to provide comments, contact Jeff Elekes, Lynnwood deputy public works director, at or 425-670-6289.

For more information about City Center and a project catalog, visit

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