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Lake Stevens, Snohomish, County will work together to plan future growth

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Published on Wed, Jun 25, 2008
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Lake Stevens, Snohomish, County will work together to plan future growth

BY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR RUTA property will stay in the
County for now
A lengthy and heated Public Hearing on June 9, over the land at US 2 and Highway 9 ended after deliberations on June 16 where the Snohomish County Council voted 4-1 to take the land in the Rural Urban Transition Area, or RUTA, off of the docket for 2008.

What this means is that neither Lake Stevens or the City of Snohomish will be granted the land at this time.

“Stepping back and working with the two cities makes the most sense at this point,” Snohomish County Council President Dave Somers said.

Somers acknowledges that situations have changed since last year’s docket proposal, between the economy and the fact that the RTID proposal that failed to pass last fall that would have brought major transportation improvements to the area.

There were a lot of projects in the RTID for this area. That was a factor.

“Population growth is slowing and we’re further out from being able to justify expanding into the Urban Growth Area at this time,” Somers said.

While sitting through the public hearing was arduous because of negative comments made by some Snohomish City residents against the City of Lake Stevens, Jan Berg, Lake Stevens City Administrator was relieved and excited at the outcome of the hearing.

“It’s super exciting because now we can go through some type of mediation and look at the entire area and the issues like sewer and fire service together,” she said. “I think there is going to be opportunities there we haven’t even discovered yet that will benefit all of the communities.”

The big concern for Lake Stevens has been the lack of commercial property to boost tax revenue for the City and the lack of jobs within the city. Without a larger commercial and industrial tax base the City will be facing major financial issues in the future.

It also needs more local jobs o help cut back on traffic issues.

Somers and other County Council members can see the benefit in joint planning the area with all three entities and acknowledges that both cities have financial reasons for wanting to expand into that area.

“There are other RUTA areas besides the area between these two cities,” he said. “It makes a lot of sense to step back and plan together.”

“It’s crucial that the county is part of the process and that we all work together,” Berg said.

She also is grateful for a City Council and Mayor who saw the need for future planning and what this decision could mean to the future of the City.

“I am so proud of the City Council and how they understood how serious this was, they were 100 percent supportive,” she said. “This was a community effort to help get the word out as to why this was important.”

She also thanks the County Council, Lake Stevens Sewer, Lake Stevens Fire and all of the City staff for their hard work and time.

“They were able to show support and also that our full council wants to come up with a better solution,” Berg said.

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