By Kevin Stolz
Former Councilmember 

Guest View: Making Mukilteo a better place to live, work and play


Last updated 3/25/2020 at 1:01pm

Having been on hiatus for the past several months, it’s time to get the ball rolling again making sense out of everything Mukilteo and specifically Mukilteo’s waterfront area – what’s happening, why, what can we expect for the future, and what, if anything, we can do about it. 

A lot has happened the past several months, so I thought it would be useful to briefly review some of the previous columns including your feedback along with some of the topics I think would be beneficial to discuss in the future. My intent is to provide a pragmatic fact-based analysis of the topic in a rapid-fire format and then examine the significant components in more detail in the current or future issues. 

Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our world and the way we live, socialize, and even look out for others. More people are coming together as we learn the hard way that respecting science, the advice of our health care experts and being prepared is important for us as a nation, community and as individuals.

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As we eventually get back to “normal” life, there will ultimately be changes for all of us. There will also be even more reasons for government officials to push back rather than implementing common sense solutions to improve safety in our communities and our quality of life that had a much better chance of being considered just a few weeks ago.

After the initial introduction to this column we started with a discussion of Paine Field noise issues, including Commercial Air Service and the Boeing Dreamlifter. We discussed how noise works, why some areas are more impacted by noise than others, and why there wasn’t a Plan B to implement a voluntary noise curfew.

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I received several comments and learned a lot from the feedback since that piece. Although it’s a relative minority of Mukilteo residents who are impacted by the increased noise at Paine Field, the apparent lack of and misplaced priorities by Boeing and our local, county and state officials to help mitigate the impact was nothing short of appalling. I was especially touched by one of the comments, “I did not move next to a commercial airport! It moved in next to me.”

Moving forward, Paine Field will again be the focus, but this time in addition to the hope that the county will step up and consider voluntary noise curfews, we’ll consider more options for living with what we’ve got and coming together to understand the safety red flags that exist now and could have a disastrous impact on our friends and family.

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Recognizing that the FAA control tower is closed between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. daily, and that commercial passenger flights are scheduled to take off and land during those hours, is one of those things that many believe won’t be a problem until it’s too late. Combined with the Dreamlifter flights competing with passenger flights, sometimes in the opposite direction, and the risk should be more of a concern. For those impacted by the nighttime operations at Paine Field, we’ll discuss some additional options for dealing with the impact by understanding what to expect and when.

Previously, the Mukilteo parking topic spanned three separate issues in The Beacon and covered the history, current status and plan for parking in the future, including the rise and fall of the Mukilteo Park and Ride. Moving forward, we’ll keep an eye on any new developments with a critical eye on political statements versus reality. 

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Safety, health and our quality of life in Mukilteo are important metrics that give us an important peek into our future, but are often missed and dismissed by city officials. In future columns we’ll discuss the disconnect between city officials and residents as it relates to current and future safety deficiencies at Mukilteo’s waterfront area expected with the addition of the new ferry terminal and the lack of resident-friendly oversight by the city.

In addition, understanding how Mukilteo government works will be examined and discussed to shed some light on why some decisions are made and why. Also, examining new city priorities, including the city’s regurgitation of the annexation of areas in south Mukilteo that impacts all Mukilteo residents, will be examined along with the previous Mukilteo Annexation Advisory vote that Mukilteo voters rejected.

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Sound Transit has $40 million to split between Edmonds and Mukilteo for parking and access improvements to the two stations. Like the new ferry terminal project, Mukilteo is missing out on some potentially great improvements to the waterfront area in exchange for some mediocre projects and a disproportionate share of the funding.

Finally, I’d like to invite Mukilteo’s new city administrator and any other city official as well as readers on a mini-field trip at Mukilteo’s waterfront area (when the Covid-19 social distancing restrictions are lifted) to share perspectives, concerns, and ways to maximize the potential and safety of Mukilteo’s waterfront area.

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So there you have it. I hope this column will help us all enable Mukilteo to be a better place to live, work and play. As a resident in Old Town and a former Mukilteo city councilmember, I’ve been on both sides of the discussion, and believe the only way to work smarter is to work together. That’s something we all can participate in to make Mukilteo a better place. And we should.

Drop me a note at [email protected] if you have information to share or ideas for future articles. 

This column will be published the 4th Wednesday of each month.


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