On September 26, 2019, Lake Forest Park City Council will discuss and potentially adopt the revised Town Center Vision Statement (Resolution 1746). We were surprised to see much of the substance omitted from the 2018 draft found here and we have submitted our comments to the Mayor, City Council, and City staff on the Vision draft via email. Read the comments here so you can see how we responded.
We want to be clear that we support the idea of having a Vision for redevelopment of the Town Center, and as owners of the property, we have remained engaged in the City’s process over the past 24 months by commenting on all of the documents that have been produced by the Planning Commission and the City Council. See a timeline of our involvement here.
We’ve been impressed by the dedication of the LFP residents to cultivate a future for Lake Forest Park that celebrates nature and provides spaces for community along with opportunities for housing near transit. We have also heard your request that the City collaborate with the property owner to make this Vision a reality. For that reason, you will note that most of our comments related to the Vision reflect our concern that comments provided previously have not been taken into consideration.
In July we held a town hall meeting, a summary of which can be seen here. The intent of the town hall was to advance a meaningful dialogue with the community and the City Council regarding the redevelopment of our property. Subsequent to that open house, we asked for another meeting with City officials to find a way to become partners and better work together. Their response was to issue a surprise moratorium on development in the Town Center; they directed us to simply communicate through public comment while the City Council and Planning Commission decide what they think is best for our property. We think this flies in the face of collaboration and partnership.
As owners of the Town Center, we are concerned that the seemingly well-intentioned actions of Council to adopt the proposed Vision will do more to limit the ability for redevelopment than to encourage it. If the Vision is used as a guide for crafting municipal code amendments for the development of the Town Center, this Vision and any closely aligned code changes, will not only limit our ability to respond to changes on our property that will result from Sound Transit, but it will also set false expectations for how a project may be able to incorporate all of the various aspirational elements laid out in the Vision – and many of the goals outlined in the Vision will not be possible without a redevelopment of the property.
We hope Council will take our comments into account and begin working with us as a partner before adopting the Vision Statement or taking further action by crafting code amendments and policy related to development at Town Center.