MLT Board Sets Public Hearing Date for Multifamily Tax Exemption Program, Hears Post Office Update

Mountlake Terrace City Council at its Thursday September 1 business/study session agreed to move forward with a resolution of intent to designate the Mountlake Town Center sub-area Terrace for a Multifamily Property Tax Exemption (MFTE) program.

The board has discussed at previous meetings the idea of ​​offering such a tax exemption program to promoters and decided during its work/study session on August 11 to pursue the idea. The council must also hold a public hearing on the resolution before final approval, and that is scheduled for Monday, October 3.

The city plans to offer two MFTE programs: an eight-year program with no affordability requirement and a 12-year program offering 20% ​​units at 80% or more of the area median income (AMI).

In another matter, council heard a presentation from Director of Community and Economic Development Christy Osborn regarding proposed city code changes that would move all quasi-judicial decisions to a hearing examiner. Most state courts employ a court examiner—usually a land use attorney with a background in land use law and legislation—to review quasi-judicial cases.

The proposed changes will also serve to clean up some conflicting code language that arose after the city passed provisions to comply with a 1995 state law – known as regulatory reform – enacted by the Legislature of Washington State. This state effort was aimed at streamlining the review of environmental laws and development regulations.

“We’re not adding a bunch of new regulations,” Osborn told the board. “We’re just trying to make sense of the regulations that we have in there. She added that the development community “has been waiting for us to make this change for a long time.” The Mountlake Terrace Planning Commission also recommended the changes be approved, Osborn added.

A public hearing on the matter has been tentatively scheduled for September 19.

Council member Erin Murray said she looked forward to the changes so that the person making these quasi-judicial rulings would be someone with a strong background in land use “to make sure we take the best possible decisions on behalf of the community”.

The council also proclaimed August 31, 2022 Virginia Clough Day, in honor of the longtime clerk/community relations manager who moves to the town of Spokane Valley to take up office there after 22 years with the town of Mountlake Terrace. . Clough’s last day was August 31. Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright noted that Clough is the longest-serving clerk in the city’s 68-year history, working for four mayors and city managers. She has also chaired over 1,000 city council meetings and helped oversee and manage over 200 special events.

And the council agreed to declare three public works vehicles surplus: a damaged 2017 Ford Explorer, a 2010 Ford Fusion and a 2009 Ford Escape that have reached the end of their useful life for the city’s needs. This item will be on the agenda for the council business meeting on Tuesday, September 6, while Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright listens.

During the City Manager’s report, Deputy City Manager Stephen Clifton noted that Director of Public Works Eric LaFrance left town on August 26 and that Clifton found someone to temporarily fill the position via a professional services contract until until a permanent director is hired. More information will be provided once that contract is finalized, he said. And now that the City Clerk position is vacant, the city also plans to hire via temporary contract a former Edmonds City Clerk to help train Deputy Clerk Jennifer Joki until a new City Clerk is hired. , Clifton added.

Pro Tem Mayor Bryan Wahl, left, makes a point during the Sept. 1 council work/study session as Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright listens.

Finally, the council also discussed the future of the current Mountlake Terrace Post Office in the city’s downtown core, which lost its lease at 23210 57th Ave. W. and will be required to vacate the building by February 2023. Clifton said he and Osborn earlier in the week toured downtown with three U.S. Postal Service officials. “Trying to find a building that will meet their needs, even on an interim basis, is quite difficult,” Clifton said. “We told them we would contact a few of the people we know who own or rent buildings to see if we can’t find any information for them, and they are also doing the same.”

Mayor Matsumoto Wright added, “We’re going to want to keep the post office in Mountlake Terrace, so hopefully we’ll do whatever we can.”

The city council will then meet on Tuesday, September 6. Among the items on the agenda are a review of the city’s six-year financial forecast, a review of the city’s financial policies, and a proclamation of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15). The hybrid meeting will take place at Mountlake Terrace City Hall, 23204 58th Ave. W. You can also access the meeting remotely via Zoom. To listen by phone, dial 1-253-215-8782. The meeting ID is 868 1838 2902 and the passcode is 090622. You can view the full agenda here.

— By Teresa Wippel

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