Lake Stevens and Snohomish battle for same landLand could hold the future for jobs in both cities BY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR
The 1,200 acre parcel of land surrounding the US 2 and Highway 9 intersection has become a hotbed of frustration for both the City of Lake Stevens and the City of Snohomish.Both cities are asking the County for a price of that pie.
However, Snohomish City only wants a 265 acre parcel on the north side of US2 while the City of Lake Stevens is hoping to acquire the entire parcel for their future growth.
Last year, the Journal ran a story explaining that a development company, US2/SR9 LLC, wanted to build on the north parcel in which the City of Snohomish is asking the County for. This development, as it is outlined right now, would include not only residential areas but also commercial areas which is what both cities are in need of.
“The primary reasons for our interest in this area are to provide needed commercial land and to allow for an expanded population in Snohomish that will allow to more efficiently spread out the costs of services and infrastructure improvements,” Larry Bauman, Snohomish City Manager said.
The City of Lake Stevens has had this area in its Comprehensive Plan for several years and sees US 2 as a natural boundary for the two cities, Lake Stevens on the north side and Snohomish on the south side.
Lake Stevens’ City Administrator Jan Berg explains that with Lake Stevens’ population target of 46,125 and Snohomish with a population target of 14,535, the need for commercial land within Lake Sevens is more necessary than it is in Snohomish because Snohomish has more commercial and industrial area to work with.
Currently both cities are conducting Environmental Impact Studies (EIS) , as requested by the County. The total costs for Lake Stevens will be $434,000 which includes the EIS, Master Planning consultants and attorney’s fees.
The costs for Snohomish City are being paid by US2/SR9, LLC.
Currently, Lake Stevens Fire services 89 percent of that area and Lake Stevens Sewer District is prepared to expand into the area. If Snohomish acquires the land the are looking for ways to
“Sewer Services most likely would be provided by the City of Snohomish, and the City would extend a trunk line to provide service,” Bauman explained.
The biggest concern right now for the City of Lake Stevens is that the process is done correctly.
“There is only going to be one chance to plan it,” Berg said. “We are trying to do the right thing. It doesn’t make sense to do it in tiny little developments, you need to do the entire area.”
There are those who oppose any development in the area at least for 10-20 years.
“Futurewise and Pilchuck Audubon Society oppose both the Urban Growth Area expansion plans for the City of Snohomish and City of Lake Stevens for many reasons,” Kristin Kelly, Program Director for Futurewise said.
“Neither city needs the land to meet their adopted population projections through the year 2025 and the cost of needed new road infrastructure will be huge. Futurewise believes that we need to be making our existing cities more livable.”
While the County is planning to look at this area in the near future, the City of Lake Stevens really wants to joint plan the entire area with both cities and the County.
Lake Stevens has also held three community meetings to learn more about what the people in that area want with one more meeting being held on Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at Cavelero Mid High.
“We’ve done the planning and we are trying to be responsible and plan according to the Growth Management Act (GMA). You can do some really cool stuff and protect the environment but when you do it in piecework it’s short sided,” Berg said.
Snohomish City is also holding a public meeting on Wednesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. at Fire District 4 Training Facility.