Who owns this asphalt? ‘Parklet’ is no longer a dining room
MUKILTEO – It’s the little package that could – and now can’t.
The new “parklet” at the water’s edge is a big point of contention.
The roughly 60-foot-wide strand of asphalt at the end of Front Street, a short walk from Ivar’s “Keep Clam” sign, is caught up in a bureaucratic scuffle.
For 63 years, it was the ferry ramp, used by 2 million vehicles per year on the busy Mukilteo-Clinton road.
Now it cannot contain 12 tables.
They were removed, by order of the city, on Wednesday from the parklet, as small pocket spaces are dubbed these days.
Until the case is resolved, it is unclear whether and how the public will be able to use the land between Ivar’s Mukilteo Landing and Lighthouse Park.
The port of Everett owns the property, which was released during the construction of the new ferry terminal. The port claims that the town of Mukilteo prevents people from enjoying the panoramic view.
“For the life of me, I can’t see what the problem is,” said Lisa Lefeber, CEO of Port of Everett. “All efforts were unsuccessful due to obstacles within the city.”
Ivar has an agreement with the port to lease and maintain the space, which offers a spectacular view. They spent several months tweaking the details.
Bob Donegan, Ivar’s president, envisioned a side with dozens of diners enjoying the sunset over drinks and dinner. He had set picnic tables on the other side for public use, as well as for the scenery, and looked after the whole park. In short, Ivar would be the steward of the parklet, which the port was looking for.
So, earlier this month, Ivar placed tables and chairs on the parklet, with a fence for separation from the public side.
This replaced the alfresco dining Ivar had on the Silver Cloud side under an earlier permit during COVID restrictions. Lefeber said she checked with the governor’s office for approval.
“The port and Ivar were authorized to operate under the governor’s emergency order,” Lefeber said.
City leaders say their hands are tied as they examine city codes.
Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said the permission does not apply because the restaurant is at 100% capacity and the city cannot transfer the permit to the parks side.
“The port might have thought, ‘Oh, we do this all the time, it’s super easy,’” said Gregerson. “Part of it is that they have an agreement with the city of Everett, but they don’t have that agreement with Mukilteo. He has to go through town.
She also cited parking and fire code issues that prohibit the dining setup at Ivar Park.
Lefeber disagrees with the decision.
“The city has discretionary administrative power. They don’t use it, ”Lefeber said.
Donegan said he got 13 additional parking spaces the city needed.
“The fire marshal said the exit door was two inches too narrow,” he said. “So we literally picked up the fence and moved it two inches so that it was wide enough to conform.”
Then he applied for a city permit.
“They estimated it could take up to several months. At that time, we are in the rainy season, ”he said.
On Monday, he withdrew his permit application and said he would try again next year.
He tries to “keep the clam”, in keeping with Ivar’s slogan.
“We don’t want to be in the middle of a political battle. We just want to serve customers, ”Donegan said. “It’s disappointing.”
Lefeber said the port’s goal is for the place to be a community asset.
“I want Ivar to be able to use and maintain it and the public to be able to go,” Lefeber said.
Gregerson agrees it’s a good use of the space, but said Ivar needed a shore and floodplain permit.
“Everyone was working in good faith to try and work on our code to allow them to add additional tables,” said Gregerson.
“In the end, too much had to be put in place to expand the restaurant in this outdoor space. It was too hard to figure it out for this summer. Hopefully next season we can shake things up for Ivar.