Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

Community input is used through boards, commissions


Every city and town needs the input of those who live there to make important decisions and Lake Stevens uses those boards and commissions to make vital decisions about the city and its future.

"It's a way to help influence the vision and direction of the city," Planning Director Becky Ableman said about getting involved in these boards.

The City of Lake Stevens has five such boards, each of which are given their own set of goals and responsibilities. These include the Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation Board, Arts Commission, Library Board and the Civil Service Commission.

These boards and commissions are made of volunteers who make application with the city, and are interviewed by the mayor. None of these positions are paid positions however; they are an integral part of making decisions.

"We will advertise when there is an opening and if the incumbent wants to reapply they will be interviewed along with all of those who have applied," Ableman said.

Each of the boards has different responsibilities, meeting days and times, number of members and terms.

Planning Commission: Seven members, four-year term, meet monthly or twice a month if needed.

They help guide the city's land use plans, policies and regulations with consideration of public comment to ensure that they meet the needs of the community and conform to applicable law.

"City staff brings items for consideration on land use matters and they make recommendations to staff who then takes those recommendations to the city council," Ableman explained. "They can live within the city or the UGA (Urban Growth Area)."

Parks and Recreation Board: Six members, meet once every other month, four year term.

The mission of the Park and Recreation Board is to guide the city in parks and recreation endeavors by supporting the maintenance and creation of recreational activities and facilities and serving as good stewards of parklands on behalf of the entire community. 

The Park and Recreation Board act as an advisory board to the city council in matters related to park acquisition, recreation programming and development and the design and operation of parks and recreation facilities.

Currently the Parks Board is looking at ways to increase parks around the city.

"In the new park plan we've identified types of parks including mini, neighborhood, trails and community parks," Ableman said. "We are looking at another neighborhood park and more mini parks."

The Park Board is "fixing" the city's park plan to be eligible for grant funding, which is one of the items the board is working on currently. They are also working with Snohomish County to create a community park at Cavelero Park, currently a dog park.

Lake Stevens Community Park is considered a community park while Lundeen and North Cove Parks are considered neighborhood parks. Mini parks are usually situated inside neighborhoods.

Arts Commission: Seven members (currently only four), meet once a month, four-year terms.

The function of the Arts Commission is for supporting the importance of artistic expression in the community; determining the method of selection and commissioning of artists and then making recommendations to the mayor.

The funding for the Arts Commission's projects come through the Municipal Arts Fund.

The most well known projects that the Arts Commission provides to the city are Music in the Park each summer at North Cove Park and the sculptures in the center of the roundabouts on Lundeen Parkway – the wooden salmon, which has been removed for repair and the flying eagles.

"The Arts Commission are the big drivers of Music in the Park and Chalk It Up at Aquafest each summer," Ableman said. "They partner with the Arts and Parks Foundation, which is set-up as a 501c3 so that they can take donations, which is separate from the city."

Applications are being taken for anyone interested in becoming part of this board. You can call Norma Scott at City Hall at 425-334-1012 to get an application or visit the city's website at under government.

Library Board: Nine members, meet quarterly and require a four-year term.

The members of the Library Board communicate with both the city and Sno-Isle Libraries. Their main purpose is to help identify the library needs of the community and that the library meets the needs of the community.

They also work with the Friends of the Lake Stevens Library and other library support groups to raise local awareness regarding the value of the public library.

Civil Service Commission: Three members, meet as needed up to once a moth, six-year term.

The Commission focuses primarily upon the selection, appointment, promotion and employment of police officers (except the police chief) within the city's police department.

To find out more about any of these boards and commissions please visit the city's website at and click on "government". You can also contact any of the members of those boards by visiting the website.


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