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Candidates talk waterfront parking lot, Paine Field

 

The primary election will be here before you know it, and we’re here to bring you City Council candidates’ thoughts on various issues relating to Mukilteo.

Here in Mukilteo, there are four City Council seats (Positions 4-7) on the ballot this year, and three candidates are running for each seat.

As such, the primary is incredibly important this year, as the top two vote getters in each race move on to the general election this November.

To give Mukilteo voters an opportunity to learn more about where the 12 candidates seeking office stand on various issues, The Beacon sent out six questions for the candidates to answer.

Last week, candidates shared their thoughts on the form of government measure that will be on the ballot this November, which, if passed, will change Mukilteo’s government to a city manager-council form of government, rather than the current mayor-council form Mukilteo has had since its incorporation in 1947.

This week, we get candidates’ thoughts on a proposed waterfront parking lot by the Tulalip Tribes and the Port of South Whidbey, as well as what City government can do to combat future expansion of flights at the new Paine Field terminal.

Like last week, candidates were allowed a maximum of 150 words for each response. Responses will be listed in order of which seat they are running for (Position 4 first, 7 last), and in alphabetical order by last name.

Charles Eakins – Position 4

Waterfront parking lot

I think this would make sense only if we had the roads to support it. The fact is, we don’t. We go from a four-lane highway at the top of the hill to a single lane road towards the waterfront.

Unless the state is planning on widening the road, and adding more lanes, I don’t see how this would be in our best interest.

It’s just going to make traffic that much worse, in the mornings and afternoons.

Paine Field

Work with the airport to try to mitigate the noise, including flight paths, etc.

We can’t stop progress, and we aren’t going to win this by suing them and once again losing, wasting tax money that could go to better projects.

So, the alternative is to create a good working relationship with them, so we at least have a say, and maybe inject some options for them.

Richard Emery – Position 4

Waterfront parking lot

There are two issues with vehicles on the waterfront. More parking does not address either in a positive and sustainable way.

It is doubtful that enough parking can be built to accommodate the demand. And, even if we tried, that would only make the second issue much worse … which is managing traffic to and from the waterfront. More congestion will make it harder to ensure timely emergency access to the waterfront.

A remote parking lot, with a shuttle (possibly an autonomous, self-driving one) would avoid the waterfront from becoming a parking lot and would reduce traffic congestion as well.

A major goal of the City’s Master Waterfront Plan is to create pedestrian friendly spaces and zones. Adding more vehicles would seriously interfere with that goal.

The City and its partners need to revive the remote parking concept in order to keep our waterfront attractive and accessible to all.

Paine Field

The City needs to be involved with the Senate committee charged with researching potential commercial air expansion locations as soon as possible. It also needs to work with the communities in south (Snohomish) County that are, or will be, affected by more air traffic to seek voluntary limits on flight times and other noise reduction techniques. While many are celebrating the convenience and the potential for economic growth, it is not equitable for one, or even a few, communities to bear the cost of being in the flight paths.

Since the airlines were able to change federal laws many years ago that provided funding for noise abatement for areas affected by commercial traffic, perhaps the airlines, the terminal operator, and various levels of government could create a fund to provide low-interest loans dedicated for noise abatement measures.

Scott Whelpley – Position 4

Waterfront parking lot

The Tulalip Tribes has been working with the City throughout the whole waterfront project, allowing us access to the waterfront via their property.

As upset as a few individuals may be about the Tribes’ decision to add a parking lot, there is very little that we (the City) can do except continue to have an open dialogue with Tulalip and be a cooperative partner.

A parking lot may potentially be a blessing in disguise given the ability for the Tribes to build almost anything they deem as necessary and relevant to the sacred land that is theirs, and was once all theirs and theirs alone.

We should proceed cautiously and graciously with our waterfront neighbors and partners. Wishing there was only a parking lot could someday be a reality if we insist on not being flexible and finding compromise.

The Tulalip Tribes and City hear your concerns and are receptive.

Paine Field

As evidenced prior to, fighting commercial air at Paine Field very little can be done to combat potential airport expansion.

All the false promises made and spending $700K of taxpayer dollars provided us with very little to no mitigation for what noise issues we are facing today.

All we can do as a City government is to ensure that they abide by every law, every environmental impact study, and do things by the book with no exceptions.

We must continue to provide them with the facts that noise, congestion, and pollution are real and a health concern. We must also continue to emphasize and pursue our needs for noise mitigation grants for triple-pane windows and insulation.

If our mayor and our county representative aren’t going to take the lead in finding grants available to help mitigate the increased noise, the City Council and I need to work towards this.

Riaz Khan – Position 5

Waterfront parking lot

The best suitable place to build on that land would be either an amusement park with water games and a wave swimming pool or a playground for our youth, which is also good for the local economy.

Paine Field

Paine Field Airport already has been started, and flights are taking off and landing every day and night.

Right now, City government should do a few things in order to maintain a little calm in the city.

The first thing that should happen is that the City enforce a noise ordinance restricting flying after 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Airlines must respect the sleeping hours for seniors and school-age students.

Another thing is that the City never allow business licenses to be issued unless it will benefit the local residents of Mukilteo.

Christopher Maddux – Position 5

Waterfront parking lot

The Port of South Whidbey has been trying for years to get some parking options in Mukilteo for commuters, but the City seems to be reluctant to work with them to finalize options and move forward with a plan.

A commuter parking lot right next to the new ferry terminal does make sense.

A maintained lot would certainly be better to look at than the eyesore that is the remnants of the tank farm.

I would encourage the City to work with the Tulalip Tribes and the Port of South Whidbey on the plan instead of fighting it.

Working with them, we may be able to work out a deal to provide additional parking for Edgewater Park right next to the proposed lot.

Paine Field

When the City government fought against commercial air service, the City spent around $700K and refused to work with the county or Propeller Inc. for any mitigation options to lessen the impact.

Commercial air service came anyway, but the City couldn’t get any compensation for the increased noise over the flight path.

The City government cannot waste taxpayer money on another wasteful lawsuit.

Paine Field is owned by Snohomish County and is an important airport for the economic health and growth of the region.

The City needs to work with all involved, not fight them. We need to ensure all impact studies are done properly, and any forms of mitigation are explored.

Commercial air service couldn’t be stopped, and we might not be able to stop expansion, but we must do what we can to mitigate the impact on our town.

James Yoo – Position 5

Waterfront parking lot

I am not in favor of having the parking arrangement between Whidbey Island and the tribes.

Mukilteo must control our own destiny on parking issues.

The City must provide parking lots for commuters, so it can monitor traffic flow.

In my opinion, no second or third party should meddle the proprietary function of the City.

Paine Field

The City needs to work together with the following stakeholders to determine the operation hours and limit the daily flights over a certain period of time: Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), airport operators, Snohomish County, City of Everett, and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Exekiel Aranez – Position 6

Waterfront parking lot

I came up with the costs and benefits. I think the Tulalip Tribes' lifetime span of this situation will be the losing side and will never become beneficial to their end.

The tribes must continue to voice their valuable message.

Paine Field

The City government should honor the voice of the people who are living in Mukilteo for more than 15 years. They deserve the respect and dignity that they always wanted in Mukilteo.

With that in mind, I think of opposing 24 hours of flights at Paine Field is the right thing. I will fight for the people of Mukilteo in working with the aeronautical engineers and aircraft leaders to alleviate the noises during the pilot in-flight performance.

Elisabeth Crawford – Position 6

Waterfront parking lot

I strongly believe that our community can find creative approaches for commuter parking issues that will also preserve the waterfront for our residents.

The key is collaboration with all stakeholders, respectfully listening and developing innovative solutions.

Stakeholders include commuters, transit, residents, city and tribal officials, and local business owners.

I am hopeful that Mukilteo elected officials will meet with tribal representatives soon to discuss best uses for the land, and I will continue this communication as your councilmember.

While the amount of vacant land in Mukilteo is very limited, finding a park-and-ride site could be an important part of the solution. Working with businesses and the community, we can find ways to maximize the use of existing spaces.

Other approaches include promoting vanpooling and the City’s “By the Way” plan for bike-walk-transit. Both are realistic and creative approaches to reduce the need for commuter parking.

Paine Field

The City of Mukilteo’s Comprehensive Plan states our community’s opposition to further expansion of operations at Paine Field and directs City participation in planning efforts to preserve and protect the quality of life in Mukilteo.

As your councilmember, I will promote open dialogue with the responsible agencies, including Snohomish County Council, the airlines, and Puget Sound Regional Council, to advocate for Mukilteo’s residents, and find realistic solutions to decrease noise levels and mitigate increased traffic.

Many regional airports across the country have successful agreements with airlines regarding types of aircraft allowed, and fly-friendly programs limiting flights during late night and early morning hours.

We should be promoting these for our community.

FAA approval of additional flights requires environmental impact studies and, as your representative, I will ensure these are adhered to, and will work to balance the convenience of a regional airport while advocating for our community’s best interests.

Peter Zieve – Position 6

Waterfront parking lot

This caught many people by surprise, including me.

I love Edgewater Beach, and I was looking forward to some canoe building and Indian dancing demonstrations in the land between the railroad tracks and the beach.

What are we going to get? A parking lot!

It is not yet specified, but if this turns out to be striped parking on the ground, I don’t see how we can oppose.

If it turns out to be a parking structure in the most beautiful part of Mukilteo, I will be crying and examining the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions).

As far as a parking structure up the Speedway, I like it.

If there is a location that can be explored, then let us explore it.

Activities such as the Lighthouse Festival and the Farmers Market could be more successful if there was adequate parking nearby. I can’t think of a location.

Paine Field

The City doesn’t have much leverage over the airport that is controlled by the federal government, and the airport terminal is on the Everett side.

I encourage the City to continue to negotiate in good faith with Propeller Inc. Propeller CEO (Brett Smith) addressed the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce at their monthly breakfast meeting on June 20 at the Staybridge Suites. Brett Smith was in close contact with our Mayor Gregerson, who was also at the breakfast meeting. All of this made a good impression on me.

I am opposed to filing expensive lawsuits.

I do advocate for our mayor meeting with Smith and expressing our concerns.

Limiting the hours of operation of the airport is one of the positions I would advocate. Then we can all sleep well in Mukilteo.

Joe Marine – Position 7

Waterfront parking lot

This issue, as most, has to do with partnerships and relationships. We need to sit down and talk to the Tulalip Tribes and the Port of South Whidbey.

The Port has been looking for a permanent solution for their island commuters for years. It looks as though they found a willing partner with Tulalip.

To fix this, we need to find a better solution.

Is it the park and ride lot off Bernie Webber Drive? I'm not sure, but I do feel it was a mistake for the council to turn down the offer by Community Transit to build it and put in $3 million while asking the City for only $50,000.

This is an issue I will start on right away after I’m elected.

Paine Field

I opposed Commercial service at Paine Field, mainly out of concern for the impact it could have on our aerospace industry.

Most may be unaware that Paine is one of the highest revenue-generating airports in the world. What we do now is keep working with the County Council to limit the flights, work with the airlines to be good neighbors, and limit the hours of operation and flight patterns.

Kristina Melnichenko – Position 7

Waterfront parking lot

Mukilteo is positioned in a way that makes access to mass transportation a top priority in the mitigation of traffic congestion.

With most residents commuting, over a variety of distances, investment in public transportation is required to meet the challenges of population growth and climate change.

With the potential to become a destination point neighboring Paine Field – with business travelers staying, eating, and playing in Mukilteo – an accessible and enjoyable public space is required to maximize the potential benefits of visitors.

Tight-knit countries in Europe depend on public transportation to move large amounts of people between tight spaces, in a model of maximizing opportunity, while effectively mitigating the threats of density.

Lastly, I believe Mukilteo residents deserve the park and ride they have wanted for a long time, and I am running on a platform of economic justice specifically to address the gap in Mukilteo’s needs and funding.

Paine Field

Luckily, all the candidates for Snohomish County Council have indicated a stance against an expansion of service, but the authority ultimately lies with the Paine Field Community Council, private company operating the airport, and the FAA.

Ensuring companies are paying the cost of doing business will ensure maximum efficiency of service provided. This would also ensure we are not subsidizing the cost of doing business in a region with our level of distribution infrastructure (air/rail/road/water), skilled labor, and technological clusters.

A noise tax levied on the airport by the County would be a source of funds to reimburse homeowners, via tax credit for windows and insulation, to mitigate noise pollution, effectively ensuring companies, not taxpayers, pay the cost of doing business.

With control of the airport outside of City and County control, it is imperative our local leaders have the right values and priorities in place with regard to taxation.

Look for candidate responses to the three other questions posed by The Beacon in the two issues of The Beacon.

The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 6. The two candidates with the most votes move on to the Nov. 5 general election.

Editor’s Note: The Beacon did not receive comment from Position 7 candidate Tina Over.

Author Bio

Brandon Gustafson, Editor, Mukilteo Beacon

Brandon Gustafson was named editor of the Mukilteo Beacon in October, 2017. Born and raised in Mukilteo, Brandon attended Mukilteo Elementary, Olympic View Middle School, and Kamiak High School, graduating in 2013. After high school, Brandon attended Shoreline Community College, earning his associate's degree while playing for the school's baseball team. He then transferred to the University of Washington, where he graduated in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in communications-journalism.

Email: mukilteoeditor@yourbeacon.net
Phone: 425-347-5634
Twitter: @MukBeaconBPG

 

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