Sunday, July 30, 2017

UPDATED: Opinion: Vote for future-minded candidates

UPDATED:  Redmond City Council and our Mayor-appointed Planning Commission is gripped by "The Master Builders of King and Snohomish Counties."  50% of the spend in the City Council Primary thus far has been sourced by the Master Builders PAC...all of it spent on campaign mailers and services supporting two "City Hall" candidates. 

The "Master Builders PAC states "There are many timely issues that directly impact the homebuilding industry - critical areas regulations, design review guidelines, permitting processes....etc."  Of course these "timely issues" ultimately revolve around profit (that's okay) but sometimes at serious compromise to our city look and feel.

With the Master Builder's concerns for the "timely issue of design review standards" it's no wonder our downtown is built-out with cheaply designed "row-house" apartment buildings fronting the signature Leary Way Gateway.  We'll be living with and seeing this wall of box buildings for the next 100 years.

We need to elect candidates who are independent of developer "timely issues" and to support those few sitting council members willing to sacrifice their standing with the development community to do the right thing.

Bob Yoder

I was inspired to write this post by Jason Antonelli Position 6 and Steve Fields Position 2.   Councilman Hank Myers wrote an excellent letter in the Redmond Reporter defining the candidates as "City Hall"  and "outsiders." which inspired me.  

by Hank Myers

I am pleased that my letter to the Editor of the Redmond Reporter has prompted you and others to speak out during this election.  Unfortunately, some have concluded that inspiring discourse also meant inspiring your opinion on the Master Builders Association.  My ten years of experience with the Master Builders has been consistently positive and helpful.  They have members from all phases of the building trades including small businesses such as electricians, plumbers, remodelers and painters.  In addition to providing technical expertise on construction matters, they run an excellent free campaign seminar.  All candidates who filed for Council positions were invited.  When it comes to the problems and dislocations caused by the recent increased development, the culprit is our cumbersome and costly process.  Projects take years from inception top completion, adding costs and jamming projects together.  The State’s Growth Management Act dictates that Redmond provide housing for significantly more residents by 2030.  Under the Act, it is not a matter of whether there will be development, but how effectively it is administered.  That is where Redmond has fallen down.


Sherri Nichols said...

I've been out of town all week, so I'm just now seeing this post. I serve on the Planning Commission, and I've never met anybody from the Master Builders Association. Design review standards are not part of our purview; that's the Design Review Board. The designs for the buildings downtown were approved long ago, prior to appointments by our current mayor, so blaming anybody serving today for the "lol and feel" of the buildings downtown is wrong.

Over half the Planning Commissioners currently serving have served less than two years. Next time, why not talk to one of us before calling us tools of developers.Our meetings are public, and we're always happy to talk to people.

Bob Yoder said...

Thanks Sherri for your comment and you're volunteerism on the commission, I've watched Planning Commission meetings for years. Late in the Ives Administration I recommended adding an e-mail to your website page to encourage participation.
( I use it a lot. However, in this case it shouldn't take a formal e-mail or public presentation to know design standards are outdated... just look around: read the Redmond Reporter.

You've twisted my words to some degree Sherri. Never once did I accuse your commission as a tool for developers. In my opinion piece I called out the The Master Builder PAC not you.
Even if existing design standards were made years ago, as you say, this doesn't preclude standards can't be improved and updated now or could have been updated at anytime during Marchione's terms. It's disingenuous to blame the Ives Administration for the urban "design damage" we have today.

Many impactful projects are still cueing up for land use and design approval -- the most immediate and significant being Marymoor Village, two 2-4 story Avondale projects, The Town Square District and who knows what else. Your council approved commission needs to adapt with the times and get with the program to influence design updates. In addition, the Design Review Board is atrociously non transparent and needs airing.