The Mountlake Terrace City Council held its annual retreat via Zoom on Saturday, February 20 to discuss their long-term vision for the community.
After an icebreaker exercise, City Manager Scott Hugill reviewed the Council’s Operating Protocols and Parliamentary Procedure from the city code.
The City Council inquired about the current requirement for written public comment at Council meetings that was instituted after the pandemic began when remote meetings were required, rather than verbal public comment during meetings as provided during in-person meetings. Mr. Hugill responded that he had checked to see if formal action had been taken by the Council and if the city could revert to taking verbal public comment (in addition to written public comment) and determined that this change could be done administratively. Therefore, the city will begin taking verbal public comment at its regular meetings and work sessions in the near future.
The discussion moved to community priorities as the City Manager asked the Council to look ahead 20-50 years to develop a vision for the future before developing goals, strategies and action items for the city’s workplan at a future meeting. He stated that major initiatives such as the Town Center Plan take time, noting that the planning process and discussions that began 15-20 years ago have an impact on the community we see today.
A Council Subcommittee identified five areas to begin discussions: events, parks, recreation, housing, and social services. Each Councilmember provided input with the Subcommittee tasked with developing additional topics for further discussion.
Key discussion items included activating new spaces like the Jerry Smith/Town Center Plaza (at new City Hall), Gateway Plaza (at future light rail station), maintaining the city’s major events into the future, preserving parks and securing funding for park projects, resources to acquire more open space/park land, building a new Recreation Pavilion, watching recreation trends for programming at our facilities, adopting policies to encourage more affordable housing and housing diversity, and partnerships and regionalization of services to address major social issues such as homelessness, the opioid crisis, and food insecurity.
Before the meeting concluded, a Councilmember asked for a one-word description of what Councilmembers would like Mountlake Terrace to be in 20-30 years. The responses were vibrant, dynamic, diverse, and inclusive.
For more information about City Council meetings, call City Clerk Virginia Olsen at (425) 744-6206 or access the city’s website at www.cityofmlt.com/129.