The Sumner City Council unanimously voted Monday evening to deny a request from Fleischmann’s Industrial Park to expand the Manufacturing Industrial Center (MIC) boundary to include the old vinegar plant on Zehnder Street.
The council followed the recommendation of the planning commission, which was to take no action on the ordinance. “No action” doesn’t mean that nothing happened – the council decided not to extend the city’s manufacturing center or reduce the town center plan, which calls for future housing in that area. An industrial center cannot occupy the space because it is incompatible with the city’s current comprehensive plan and long-term vision for growth and development.
“The question really is, do we continue with the status quo and keep the option open for housing in that area, or do you turn it all over to an industrial employment option?” asked planning manager Ryan Windish during his presentation. “That’s really the crux. Do you support housing, or not?”
The planning commission recommended no action and the council agreed because:
- Sumner adopted a town center plan in 2004 that envisions a walkable community around the train station that would help build a thriving downtown core. The Fleischmann plan was incompatible and inconsistent with that plan, since a Manufacturing Industrial Center (MIC) designation wouldn’t allow for any housing in the area.
- Sumner is already planning to apply for a regional MIC designation from the federal government; approving the Fleischmann request wouldn’t increase the likelihood of getting it, since the employment base for the plant is small.
- Moving the MIC boundary further south would put impactful industrial use closer to town and residents, which would eliminate safeguards already in place.
The council voted unanimously to follow the planning commission recommendation, in support of and hope for future residential development on one of the largest unused lots in the downtown core.
“I was on the council when the town center plan was adopted, and it serves as a roadmap to the future of Sumner,” said deputy mayor Steve Allsop. “It will enhance Sumner’s vision of small-town Americana that retains and strengthens an everyday downtown.”
While councilmember Mike LeMaster voted with the council to take no action on the ordinance, he did question its impact on future industry.
“This could affect development on the south side of town. But, we work for the people of the city of Sumner, and the people spoke overwhelmingly in favor of a no action alternative.”
Read More about Northstar and the Fleischmann Property:
Editor's Note: changes have been made to this article