The parking lot behind the Arts Alive and Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce may be no more in the future, as the city is looking for a developer to build in the lot. Photo by Ray Still

The parking lot behind the Arts Alive and Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce may be no more in the future, as the city is looking for a developer to build in the lot. Photo by Ray Still

City shifts approach on downtown property plans

The Enumclaw City Council decided to seek “letters of interest” from potential developers instead of a traditional Request for Proposals.

A compromise was reached last week, as Enumclaw city leaders decided how they would approach possible development of some desirable downtown property.

The parcel in question sits at the heart of the city’s historic past, totaling 100,000 square feet of mostly-paved land. Included is the entire city block bounded by Cole and Railroad streets on the west and east, respectively, and Initial and Stevenson avenues. Also included is a large parking lot that sits adjacent to Railroad Street.

For a variety of reasons, the city would like to see the land developed. The space is now considered underutilized and development would help extend the “downtown” footprint, helping to stir the retail economy.

The city wants a mixed-use building – commercial space on the ground floor and condominiums above – along with a dedicated “public gathering area” that could include things like a plaza, pavilion, water feature and public art. The city also aims to have public parking in the mix.

The city initially figured on putting forth a formal Request For Proposals, spelling out what was desired. That option was derailed amid differing opinions about placement of the building and its height. Some believed a large building fronting on Cole Street would not be a good fit and there also was debate over whether a new building should be capped at three stories or allowed to go four floors.

The compromise was to scrap the idea of an RFP and, instead, simply seek “letters of interest” from potential developers.

Interested developers must submit their letters of interest by 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3.

In other action during their June 11 meeting, members of the Enumclaw City Council:

■ noted a public hearing is slated for June 25 regarding a proposed ordinance exempting senior housing from school impact fees.

The city assesses a variety of fees on new development, to offset the cost of services. Representatives from a local “retirement community” asked that school fees be waived for 55-and-older developments.

The hearing will be part of the council’s regular meeting, beginning at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

■ extended the preliminary plat approval that had previously been granted for the Elk Meadows 3 subdivision. Developers now have until July 4, 2020, to complete the project, which calls for a dozen single-family lots at the northeast corner of Warner Avenue and Watson Street.

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