By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
At their regular January 22, 2019, meeting the Mill Creek City Council formally approved a change to the 2015 Vintage at Mill Creek Development Agreement allowing the Mill Creek Senior Center to use space once allocated for a Police Satellite Office.
Planning Manager Tom Rogers told the city council that former City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto made a binding verbal agreement with the developer in December 2017 or January 2018.
A number of councilmembers told Rogers that they would like to renegotiate the deal so that a desired Police Satellite Office could be located in the northwest part of the city.
Councilmembers Vince Cavaleri and John Steckler said they saw value in increased police presence in that part of the city and didn’t understand why the development agreement was changed.
Rogers and City Attorney Scott Missall explained that when Polizzotto made the verbal agreement with the developer the city lost the opportunity for free space in the Vintage at Mill Creek multi-use development.
Rogers and Missall told the city council that they were not involved in the negotiations and only found out about the agreement after the fact.
Rogers said that the Mill Creek Senior Center’s lease with Vintage now includes the 500 square feet once intended for the Police Satellite Office. He went on to say that the city could not take the space back at this point.
In November 2017 Mill Creek Senior Center Program Manager Terry Schuler complained to the city council that the senior center’s new digs in the Vintage at Mill Creek apartment community wouldn’t adequately support all of her classes and events.
As a result of Schuler’s complaint Polizzotto began negotiations with the Vintage at Mill Creek developer and Mill Creek Senior Center leaders.
Northshore Senior Center Senior Center Director Brooke Knight announced an agreement had been reached in a December 27, 2017, email.
She wrote, “We’re excited to have worked out the final details for our new Mill Creek Senior Center and are busy planning our Grand Opening scheduled for April 12th.”
“We could not be more grateful for all of the support we’ve received from the City of Mill Creek to make this possible, including allocating some additional space to the senior center to help facilitate our programming needs and the increased demand for services we anticipate.”
At their January 23, 2018, meeting Polizzotto gave a document to the city council describing the details of the verbal agreement.
The city council document stated, “As part of that discussion and further demonstrating its commitment to the Senior Center, the City relinquished 500 square feet of space that would have been a new Police precinct. The space will now serve as a bonus room for the Senior Center and includes an additional sink/counter area.”
There are still a number of issues to work out between the City of Mill Creek and Vintage at Mill Creek.
For example, it seems that the number of available parking spaces are currently not adequate for residents and senior center members.
When the empty retail space in the multi-use development is finally leased there will be additional pressure to provide more parking.
Vintage Housing is negotiating with the City of Mill Creek to build another multi-use development next to Vintage Mill Creek called The Farm.
It’s rumored that The Farm’s development agreement may include additional parking and space for a Satellite Police Office.
The city council is scheduled to discuss this new development agreement at their February 12, 2019, meeting.