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Arlington gathers input for redevelopment plan

David Kuhl, city of Arlington community development director, explains some of the development concepts planned for the Smokey Point, Island Crossing and West Bluff areas during a public meeting May 20. - Adam Rudnick
David Kuhl, city of Arlington community development director, explains some of the development concepts planned for the Smokey Point, Island Crossing and West Bluff areas during a public meeting May 20.
— image credit: Adam Rudnick

ARLINGTON — The basic design concepts are in place for a plan to redevelop the Smokey Point, Island Crossing and West Bluff areas of Arlington.

Now, it’s up to the community to decide how that process moves forward.

The Arlington Planning Commission, along with city officials, held a second public meeting Thursday, May 20

, to gather more input on the city’s long-term plan to change the area’s streetscape, development practices and zoning regulations in west Arlington.

About 20 residents attended the meeting, which took place at the Stillaguamish Senior Center.

“I want to give you the idea that we could do some things a little differently,” said David Kuhl, community development director for the city, who opened the meeting with a 30-minute presentation on the “West Arlington sub-area plan.”

The plan was primarily developed by an independent contractor to address the transportation, safety and general development issues going on in those three areas.

Major changes being considered range from practical — widening sections of roadway and adding public trails — to progressive.

The idea, Kuhl said, is to embrace urban design concepts that eliminate the need for cars and encourage pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

To do so, the city is looking at creating an urban center that shares similarities with what was developed in Mill Creek.

Kuhl shared with the audience some mock-up buildings that utilize form-based codes instead of traditional codes.

Form-based codes allow buildings to be used for any combination of commercial and residential space. Commercial uses are typically employed on the bottom floor of the building, while residents live on the higher floors, Kuhl said.

The idea is usually supported by developers since they can pay all of their transportation impact fees in one go without much governmental review.

“You basically pick a building, you pick a look and you put it in,” Kuhl said. “Developers can use this to their advantage as they can move in fast.”

After Kuhl’s presentation, one attendee asked him whether the city had experienced much growth post-2007 — before the economy started to get bad.

Kuhl said that so far about 60 building permits have been issued so far in 2010, but added that the new planning measures for west Arlington would likely help developers in the long-run.

Arlington resident Kent Baker said that he was in support of residents being able to do their shopping without getting in their cars.

“We just can’t keep adding automobiles to our society,” Baker said. “It would be nice to be able to do your shopping right by where you live.”

Community members then had a chance to break up into small groups and discuss the ideas presented by Kuhl with individual Arlington Planning Commissioners.

City officials have said in the past that they do not have specific costs for redeveloping Smokey Point, West Bluff and Island Crossing.

Kuhl said that he will be presenting the plan to various groups in the Arlington community through August.

Kuhl said the city should be sending out letters in residents who live in the affected areas to address their concerns, adding that a 15-20 page document relating to the proposed changes should also be on the city’s website soon.

The city’s website is www.arlingtonwa.gov.

For more information, call 360-403-3445.

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