In a surprise announcement at the last City Council meeting, now ex-mayor, James Evans announced his resignation as the mayor of Woodinville. Council member Evans will stay on the council but resigned as mayor, effective February 19 at 9:00pm. Mr. Evans said he is stepping down due to changes in his job that will require extensive travel making his position as mayor extremely difficult to perform effectively.
The resignation announcement required a late addition to the agenda to include the election of a new mayor. Nominations for the position were taken from the floor and three names were given – Elaine Cook, Gary Harris, and Susan Boundy-Sanders. Voice votes were then taken with each council member giving the name of the person they voted for mayor. Elaine Cook was voted in as mayor with four of the council members’ votes. Susan Boundy-Sanders received two votes, one from herself and one from Paula Waters. Nominations were then taken for the deputy mayor position. Council members Gary Harris and Susan Boundy-Sanders were nominated from the floor. Following the same voting numbers as for mayor, Mr. Harris was elected to deputy mayor.
The other major announcement at the council meeting was the preliminary mediation agreement reached in regards to the Wellington Hills property with the Northshore School District (NSD) and Snohomish County.
The preliminary agreement outlines that NSD is planning to use the site for educational facilities for up to 1,200 full-time students. The district doesn’t expect development of the site for several years and the development may be done in phases over a number of years. The agreement also outlines what changes are permitted if the urban growth boundary shifts or if the city changes zoning codes that result in an additional number of students.
In regards to the traffic around the site, the school district has agreed to minimize the trips from the east on 240th Street SE. NSD will be responsible for road improvements on the west side of 240th Street SE, the winding road heading east from Costco.
The district also agrees to include conservation buffer areas around the property. The buffer zones will vary from 60-100 feet. Access roads on the perimeter are not permitted, but roads that provide direct site access may be permitted. The actual buffer zones and their locations will be verified and included in the final agreement.
If the district decides it doesn’t need the property or finds an alternative within the district, the city will have right of first offer to purchase the property.
While the development of the property may be several years away, the land can be used for “passive recreational uses” by the public according to the agreement. As outlined in the agreement, “the term “Passive Recreational Uses” means the following or similar activities by individuals or groups of individuals: walking, jogging, birding, bicycling, picnicking, and other related uses.”
Mayor Cook indicated she is very excited to have reached an agreement on the Wellington Hills property and is hoping this will allow the city and district to work together. The agreement will need to be approved the NSD school board.