City Council approves development agreement for The Farm

Public hearing left members divided on vision for East Gateway Urban Village
By Dan Aznoff | Apr 05, 2019
Courtesy of: Vintage LC

The development agreement for the mixed-use development known as The Farm provided a rare opportunity for members of the Mill Creek City Council to take opposing sides on the proposed use for one of the last remaining undeveloped parcel in the city.

The council eventually approved the agreement on a vote of four in favor, two opposed and an abstention by Mayor Pam Pruitt who expressed frustration at what she interpreted as pressure to approve the measure.

The split decision came after a ruckus public hearing on Tuesday, March 26, that filled the council chambers with residents who expressed unresolved concerns with the complex.

When fully developed, The Farm is projected include almost 400 workforce apartment units and 100,000 square feet of commercial space on 17 acres of land adjacent to 132nd Avenue SE along the northeastern border of the city.

Groundbreaking for The Farm by Vintage LP is still at least three months away, according to Tom Rodgers, the city’s planning manager. Rodgers said a hearing examiner must approve that the development fits the guidelines established for the East Gateway Urban Village (EGUV) before it is turned over to city staff to be implemented.

The public hearing portion of the evening last month was dominated by what was perceived to be a negative impression of renters. Homeowner Shawn Duffy said it seemed impractical to fill the commercial area with high-end restaurants and up-scale retailers when the people who live above the commercial space cannot afford to shop in the stores or eat at the restaurants downstairs.

According to Ryan Patterson with Vintage Housing, the term workplace housing for The Farm indicates the rents will be matched to people who make 60 percent of the median income for the surrounding community.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Michael Scherping | Apr 11, 2019 11:57

Half of these should be market rate. That, or if they must cap it, it should not be 60% and below, but rather from 50% to 80% of the AMI. This would better capture the target market and better match to what is planned below. Otherwise, they’re not fooling anyone trying to use this “workforce Housing” nomenclature. It’s low income. As low as the basement will go.

And if the people can’t afford the retail or Restaruants below and car trips are necessitated still to venture to those places that fit thier budget, then the city’s traffic report is way off Too because it assumes fewer trips. Building homes atop retail along a huge transportstion corridor only to pair the two so poorly defeats the purpose of easing traffic. Somebody here is an idiot for thinking so.

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