Should "Membership Stores" Be Permitted in Redmond's Manufacturing Park Zone?

In coordination with Taylor Development, which among other things owns an undeveloped 60 acre parcel of land that is zoned Manufacturing Park (MP) along Union Hill road in Southeast Redmond (see Redmond zoning map here and Map here), City Staff has presented the Redmond Planning Commission, of which I am a presiding member, with a proposal to expand the list of permitted uses in Redmond's Manufacturing Park (MP) zone to include "Wholesale/Retail Membership" stores. In other words, they propose to enable folks like Mr. Paul Taylor with the flexibility to build a Costco or Sam's Club-type store out by the UPS distribution center, east of Target and Mervyns, in SE Redmond. To accommodate this, Redmond City Staff has proposed that we allow such uses in all the MP zone in SE Redmond. throughout the City of Redmond.

Correction, 5/8/2007: I have been informed that the proposed regulatory ammendments to permitted uses in the MP zone would limit wholesale-retail stores to the MP area in Southeast Redmond only.

What do you think? If you live in or near Redmond and especially if you commute through or live in or near to Southeast Redmond near a Manufacturing Park Zone here (to/from Redmond via Avondale Road, Redmond-Fall City Road, Willows Road, or other), I'd like to hear what you think about this proposal. I am one of the Planning Commissioners who will soon vote on whether or not (and why) the City Council should approve this proposed change. Your opinion matters to me. But more importantly, your opinion matters to your fellow residents and elected officials. As such, I encourage you to comment, on public record, by emailing your thoughts to Sarah Stiteler, with the City of Redmond. I'm sure that Sarah can also provide you with the full Technical Committee Report, which I can't find on the City Web Site (argh!), that outlines why City Staff believes this proposed change to be viable, appropriate, and legal.

The deadline for public comment is May 15, 2007 at 4:30PM.

The issues before the Planning Commission (and you) are complex...

  • Service vs. Manufacturing--Do we need a major "wholesale/retail membership" store in Redmond? What do we lose, in terms of future capacity for manufacturing uses and employment that might evolve in the future, in Redmond, if we allow this change to existing regulations?
  • Traffic and other Impacts--Is it wise or appropriate to place such a relatively high intensity land use in one of our MP zoned areas in Redmond, almost all of which are in areas where traffic and other impacts are already great?
  • Individual vs. Public Rights--Is this the best or only way to provide for our land owners' constitutional right to capitalize on the value of their real estate holdings?
  • Alignment with Redmond's 20-Year Vision--Is the addition of "wholesale/retail membership stores" to the list of permitted uses in Redmond's Community Development Guide in MP zones congruent with the vision of Redmond as articulated in our Comprehensive Plan? This is an all-important question because it is a necessary and legal precondition for approval of the proposed change insofar as the Development Guide is constructed from the fabric of the more conceptual and Comp Plan. So far, no changes to the Comprehensive Plan have been proposed... If you would like to dig into this very sticky subject, I encourage you to obtain a copy of the Technical Committee Report from Sara Stiteler and consult the Comp Plan "policies" and Development Guide "regulations" cited therein. Both of these documents are available, en toto, by clicking on the hyperlinks above. Unfortunately, I cannot easily point you to the specific policies and regulations, by URL. However, you can grab the ref #'s from the Tech Report and then easily search the online documents. Aw heck, just drop me an email or comment, if you cannot easily find your own way around. I'll be more than happy to assist in exchange for some direct and honest feedback.

Again, if you'd like to weigh in on this issue, please email your heartfelt comments, preferably with your name and address, to Sarah Stiteler, at the City of Redmond, or call her at 425.556.2469. For a copy of materials for the current meeting, or to receive weekly emails with Planning Commission meeting materials, please contact Daphne Harold or call 425-556-2421.