Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

City of Lake Stevens to hold public meetings


March 21, 2011

It’s been said time and again that Lake Stevens is a great place to raise a family, even analysts have found this to be true.

As reported in an Economic Assessment presented by Leland Consulting and LMN Architecture Urban Design Interiors, firms hired by the City, they found that 77 percent of the households in Lake Stevens are family households (two or more related members), which is higher than neighboring cities including Marysville and Snohomish.

Sixty percent of those households are considered “up and coming” families.

Other findings include the lack of retail and commercial tax base and the need to promote family wage jobs within the city limits.

These are just some of the reasons the City is holding two Subarea Planning meetings, which the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

“We have a lot of professionals here who may want to open up their own professional business in Lake Stevens,” Lake Stevens Planning Director Becky Ableman said. “It is a target to bring more family wage jobs to the community because most people leave to go to work.”

The Economic Retail Forecast also shows that Lake Stevens residents are leaving Lake Stevens to purchase many of the products they need and want.

“People are leaving the city to get their retail needs met,” Ableman said.

This is something city staff is looking at very seriously—what will attract residents to stay in Lake Stevens to do their complete shopping? What types of restaurants do people want to see? These are only a few of the questions that the public will be trying to help the city answer through the public meetings.

City staff, consultants, planning commissioners and city representatives will also be attending both forums in an effort to ensure that Lake Stevens residents get a voice in the vision of the city’s future.

The visioning process for the Lake Stevens Center Subarea, a large area including Frontier Village, and the 20th Street SE corridor will be discussed.

“Our goal is not only to get the community vision but to improve our sales tax base,” Lake Stevens City Administrator Jan Berg said. “If we don’t improve that tax base we have to rely on property tax. We’re trying to create more sales tax and take some of the burden off the property owners.”

Visioning is only the first step in the Subarea Planning process. Additional steps include collection of information, creating alternative plans, and selecting a preferred alternative.

“We’re trying to create a place where residents can work, live, play and stay,” Ableman said. “We’re trying to create the environment for them to live in but we need the community to tell us what that can be.”

It is important to the City that after a vision is in place, there is a streamlined process for developers and businesses to come into the city and create that tax base while following the guidelines the city, with the help of the community, have put in place.

“This is their (the residents) plan, this is their community. It’s their chance to shape the future of their community,” Ableman said.

Getting young people involved will also help create a plan that supports an atmosphere that kids can enjoy and one where they can be and feel safe.

“It’s important to make sure we’re creating spaces where everyone feels welcome,” Lake Stevens Mayor Vern Little said. “We have a very diverse community and we want everyone to feel comfortable. That’s why we need their input.”


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