Nathan Monroe
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Issues facing Edmonds

Downtown Building Heights

A major draw to Edmonds is the downtown business district.  As anyone can tell you, the low profile shops, charming restaurants, cultural arts, and numerous pubs/bars attract tourist from all over.  There is simply no town like Edmonds that combines our waterfront views with our walkable and friendly downtown.  I understand the strong draw to take Edmonds out of time and “freeze” everything in place.  However, a quick walk in the alleys behind the buildings on Main Street will reveal that many are becoming dilapidated.Change, in this regard, is inevitable.  How do we reconcile these two competing interests?  It’s a tough question with many nuances, but one that can’t be ignored.    


I believe that there is a path to meet both of these goals.  Maintaining the existing 30-foot downtown height restriction is a must.  However, adding flexibility to code to allow sensible development of our downtown business district is achievable without endangering our town’s appealing charm.   


In addition, I recommend expanding the Architectural Design Board’s (“ADB”) approval powers and entrusting these qualified citizens to protect our interests.  The ADB is specifically designed to weigh these issues and are dedicated to responsibly shepherding our town’s development.



Parking

As problems go, insufficient downtown parking is a good one for the City to have.   


We can all recognize that there is a problem, but finding the right solution won't be as easy.


We need to use facts to pull apart the issue so we can evaluate potential solutions.   Is the issue caused by employee parking permits, residential parking permits, ferry riders, business customer demand, or something else entirely?   Does it get worse in the winter when folks are less willing to walk distances or in the summer when shopping and school schedules are at thier peak?  What area the complete costs (both fiscal and opportunity) of potentail solutions?   


It is tempting to offer solutions at this phase, but we might find ourselves losing touch with the core of the issue.  


A parking study should be thoughfully and deliberitly conducted.  A rushed study conducted will only offer rushed and incomplete insights.  I will use data from such a study to help guide us to a solution that makes sense for our town.

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Housing

Edmonds has become quite the popular place to live.  And why not?  Our idyllic downtown shopping district, hometown charm, and stunning Puget Sound views are the envy of the Seattle area.  Predictably, as the demand to live in the Puget Sound region has exploded, so has the demand to live in our community.  As I explain below, there are opportunities and challenges to this demand.   Ultimately, I’m in favor of relaxing restrictions on owner occupied Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) and ensuring that any development in Edmonds is responsible and fair to our existing citizens.           


I think it’s a benefit to Edmonds to have a diverse population; to have a community where all types of people can afford to live.  Unfortunately, space is a finite commodity and it’s simply impossible for everyone who wants to be here to do so.  As the price of property goes up, the incentive to build smaller homes diminishes and we’re left with a glut of large sized (and handsomely priced) homes.  This presents a challenge to folks starting out and to current residents trying to downsize.   


As a member of the City’s Planning Board I supported the inclusion of an ADU strategy in the housing strategy.  I would continue this support as a Council Member.  An ADU is a small attached or detached “unit” within an existing lot.  It conforms to existing set back requirements and mandates onsite parking for all residents.  By removing the constraints on ADUs, we can provide flexibility to existing home owners, provide “right sized” housing organically throughout our community, and ensure the continuity of the character of town.

Other important issues...

In a City as large and diverse as Edmonds, there are more than a handful of issues that are important.  Please use the contact form on this site to suggest topics that are important to you and I'll do my best to discuss them and let you know where I stand.  Thanks!