Old Milltown project proves the system can work

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  • Monday, March 3, 2008 12:00pm

It may be cumbersome, expensive and tedious to the point of distraction, but the system can work.

Edmonds has just seen an example of that in the Old Milltown renovation project proposed by developer Bob Gregg.

To recap, a year ago, Gregg purchased the icon building that has housed numerous small businesses over the years. While the businesses were of the kind that make strolling the downtown core a destination activity, the building itself was problematic. Heavy exposed timbers, creaking wooden floors and concrete made from beach gravel, likely without reinforcing steel, made for character but also concern.

Gregg was willing to invest in the structural upgrades that would be required for the building to stay. He also had some ideas on how it should look, which is where the system’s wheel began turning.

Despite approval by a city review board, a citizen appealed. The appeal went to the city council, which upheld the appeal. Gregg’s recourse was in court, which he took.

However, Gregg also started a second plan through the city’s approval process, one that addressed the citizen’s and council’s concerns. That plan also sailed past the review board, and as of the 5 p.m., Feb. 23, deadline, failed to elicit a peep from the citizenry.

So, despite the delay, Gregg will get to move ahead with Plan B. Indeed, the courts may still allow Plan A, but at least things are moving.

And, the citizen who voiced an opinion about the project may have actually used the system to effect change.

Does that mean everybody’s happy? No, but it does mean voices can be heard, rights protected and exercised, and progress made. In this case, the system worked.

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