Ordinance 18-026

Multi-Residential Zoning Ordinance to allow for higher densities along Highway 99 just south of the City of Everett using Transfer of Development Rights Program to protect agricultural land.

The Snohomish County Council held a public hearing on May 9, 2018 on this ordinance.  They have left the written record open until the continued hearing for May 23, 2018.  Below is the text of the comment letter we submitted.  If you want more information, visit the county's website on this ordinance at  

May 7, 2018


Honorable Stephanie Wright, Chair

Snohomish County Council                                                           

3000 Rockefeller Avenue

Everett, WA  98290

 Re:        Ordinance 18-026: Multi-Family Residential Amendment Ordinance

Public Hearing May 9, 2018

Dear Chair Wright and Snohomish County Council:

 Pilchuck Audubon Society’s mission is to work every day toward conserving and restoring natural ecosystems by focusing on birds and other wildlife for the benefit of the earth's biological diversity.  Our Smart Growth Program’s mission is works with Snohomish County local governments through education, outreach, activism, coalition building and advocacy regarding comprehensive land use planning and development regulations to achieve more livable, sustainable urban communities, while protecting our county’s natural resource and rural lands, our air and water quality, and wildlife and fish habitat from irresponsible development.  Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Multi-Family Residential Amendment ordinance.

 PAS has been involved with the issue over the last several years, and we have commented to both the Planning Commission and to this council during the entire process to support amendments that will bring higher densities to the Highway 99 corridor and other areas and to use these areas as Transfer of Development Rights receiving areas.  These changes to the Urban Residential Development Regulations will benefit Snohomish County’s residents in a variety of ways:

 1.   Higher densities will help contribute to more affordable housing along well-traveled transit corridors, providing more housing that is needed to help accommodate the 200,000 more people expected to live here in the next 20 years. 

2.  By using these MR zones as TDR receiving areas, we will be protecting our last remaining farmland for future generations and for food safety and accessibility, and will help aid our farmers in staying financially successful.

3.  Providing more housing along transit corridors will help take cars off the road, which will help relieve traffic congestion, and help decrease one of the leading cause of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes.  It will also decrease the amount of pollution from cars that is deposited on our roadways and that get washed out into Puget Sound.

4.  By having higher densities in our MR zones, it will help create an incentive for developers to build in these areas, will help create more economic development along these transit corridors, and will help in the future redevelopment of some areas of the county that desperately need to be transformed.

 We support this ordinance and the Planning Commission’s recommendation, and request you adopt this ordinance today.  Thank you for considering our recommendation.

2017-2019 Snohomish County Docket XIX

Comprehensive Plan Amendment Proposals

Updated March 24, 2018--

Tell Snohomish County to say NO to UGA expansions and NO to UGA Land Swaps!

There is no denying it.  Snohomish County is in another growth spurt.  Along with this spurt are now two attempts to put a wrench in long-range planning for healthy communities. 

Two public hearings have been scheduled on two land use ordinances, that if adopted by the Snohomish County Council, could have significant negative impacts on how growth and development continues now and in the future and could set a precedent on long-range planning efforts.  Pilchuck Audubon Society, along with our coalition partner Futurewise, are opposing both these ordinances.  I am requesting you send an email to all five county council members today, and if possible, attend one or both of the public hearings.  Both hearings will be held in the Council’s chambers, 8th Floor of the County Administration Building, 3000 Rockefeller Avenue in Everett.

The emails for the council are:

Feel free to email the council members the message below, but to be more effective, use your own words or your own story.  The more people that respond, the more effective we will be.  Feel free to share this email action alert with friends, neighbors, groups and family.  For more information on these two ordinances, visit my webpage at, click on Smart Growth and then click on Issues.  You can also visit the county council’s website for public hearings to read the ordinances and staff reports at

Please vote NO on Ordinance 18-027 that would amend Countywide Planning Policy DP-3 at your April 4, 2018 public hearing, which would allow for Urban Growth Area land swaps.  This policy change is being considered because of the UGA expansions proposals to Docket XIX, but would set a dangerous precedent to undermine comprehensive land use planning for all of Snohomish County.  Snohomish County Tomorrow has recommended denial. Only one jurisdiction, Tacoma, has used UGA land swaps and that was only once with land adjacent to each other.  Pitting landowners who have been inside a UGA for years against rural landowners who want to be inside a UGA for higher land value, is not fair, nor is it smart land use planning for future generations.

Please vote NO on adding SW-2 and SW-3 UGA expansions requests to Docket XIX at your April 11, 2018 public hearing.  UGA expansions of this size do not comply with the Growth Management Act, the Multi-County Planning Policies, the Countywide Planning Policies, is not recommended by the County Executive, and will lead to more unnecessary urban sprawl.  Our current UGA boundaries are sufficient to handle the growth predicted for the next 20 years, and it has only been 3 years since our county and cities updated their comprehensive plans.  Allowing for any UGA expansions will also lead to more traffic problems without any transportation funding and will require more work with our tax dollars to analyze the environmental impacts.  Our tax dollars need to be spent more efficiently on building in our current cities and UGA boundaries.  Please wait until the next Comprehensive Plan Update in 2023 to consider any UGA expansions.

Send the above comments, and please edit in your own words if you want, and add your story if you can and send to the council at the emails listed above.

Please contact me at if you have questions.  If you can attend one or both of the public hearings, that would be great!!

To view the comment letters for both hearings from PAS and Futurwise, click on userfiles/file/DP-3 CC Public Hearing 040418 Final.doc and userfiles/file/Docket XIX Motion CC Hearing 041118 Final.doc

 Kristin Kelly

Smart Growth Executive Director



The first hearing on Ordinance 18-027 is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 4.  Ordinance 18-027 would change Snohomish Countywide Planning Policy (CWPP) DP-3, which if adopted would allow consideration once a year for Urban Growth Area (UGA) land swaps, instead of waiting to review all land use changes during the 8-year comprehensive plan updates.  Only one jurisdiction in the state, the City of Tacoma, have used UGA land swaps, and this swap was land adjacent to each other.  The DP-3 policy change if adopted would mean a UGA boundary would be reduced to allow for another UGA boundary to expand as long as the population increase would stay the same.  This policy change would potentially downzone landowners’ properties that have been inside a UGA for years, disregarding the higher taxes they paid, plus devaluating their property and ability to redevelop at higher densities to allow property owners in rural areas next to UGAs to upzone their property, most likely to sell to developers.  Not only would this pit landowners in the county against each other, it will create havoc at every level and would undermine long-range comprehensive land use planning.  UGA land swaps could be entertained by the County Council every year, and it could happen without a comprehensive look at how such UGA land swaps would affect environmental and transportation impacts, as well as capital and transportation monies to pay for such changes.


Clearly the County Council is entertaining this CWPP change to DP-3 because they are also having a public hearing on Motion 17-117 on April 11th at 10:30 a.m. to consider whether three UGA expansion proposals in the Southwest UGA should be added to Docket XIX for further analysis and consideration in 2019.  I have written extensively in past Smart Growth Reports about the problem with allowing for significant UGA expansions between Comprehensive Plan Updates, and that these proposals will not comply with the Growth Management Act, the Countywide Planning Policies or Puget Sound Regional Council’s multi-planning policies.  Hence why the change to CWPP DP-3 is before the council on April 4th.  Again, PAS along with Futurewise, are opposing UGA expansions, and believe at least 2 of these 3 UGA proposals, SW-2 and SW-3, should not be added to the docket for more work by the Planning Department on environmental, transportation, and financial impacts.  If added to Docket XIX after the April 11 public hearing, there will be more opportunity to stop these UGA expansions in another public process likely end of this year and into 2019.


Both proposals are dangerous for Snohomish County.  If our County Council allows for UGA expansions of this magnitude into our rural areas, the development community will feel blessed to continue asking for more.  The reports I hear is that the Master Builders Association wants all the rural land in the Southwest UGA between Mill Creek and Bothell to be urban all the way to Highway 9…and the sooner the better.


This is not wise use of our land.  The County cannot keep up with this type of urban sprawl, and disregards all the work and money toward transportation infrastructure that would help build better cities and urban centers in the county.  Sprawling out into our rural areas so that more King County workers can buy homes here and clog our roads further with cars commuting back and forth is not a long-term solution to growth in our county, or our region.


Please send an email today to the County Council and tell them to vote no on Ordinance 18-027 to allow for UGA land swaps, and on Motion 17-117 to add UGA expansion SW-2 and SW-3 to Docket XIX.


Email addresses for the council are:;;;;


For more information, visit the council’s website for public hearings at:


March 2017--  Docket proposals started in June 2017, and public hearings have been extended, with the next hearing April 11, 2018 (see above). 

The Snohomish County Council will have three private proposals before them in May for the yearly comprehensive plan amendment process, all of which could expand the Southwest Urban Growth Area (SWUGA).  At that hearing, the council will decide whether to add these three proposals to Docket XIX for analysis during 2017-18 with possible adoption in 2019.

One proposal (SW1), proposed by the Northshore School District, would expand the SWUGA for their newly built high school.  While not required under the Growth Management Act (GMA), Snohomish County’s county-wide planning policies (CPPs)  allow for UGA expansions for schools.  PAS will not oppose this UGA expansion because it is legal under the countywide planning policies.

The other two proposals are by private citizens, which would expand the SWUGA in two areas, both along 43rd Avenue Southeast.

 One of these proposals (SW2) would expand the UGA between Jewell/196th to the north, south to 188th from 39th Avenue (next to the Northshore High School) and east to the Power Line Corridor (at approximately 46th Avenue).

The other proposal (SW3) would expand the UGA from 196th on the northern boundary south to Maltby Road with the same boundaries east and west as SW2.

Each of these two proposals includes three sub-proposals for the County Council to consider:  1) expand UGAs; 2) expand UGA and reduce the SWUGA along the Lowell-Larimer Road; 3) expand UGA and reduce the Granite Falls UGA in the Menzel Road area.

There are many reasons why these two proposals should not be considered by the County Council, which I will outline on my website (see above).  The Council will be setting a public hearing to consider testimony on this before the Profile is published.  Onn Wednesday, April 26th I will have spoken to the county council requesting they notify affected landowners within these proposed UGA expansions and reductions, as well as those property owners 500 feet next to the proposed UGA areas, and 1,000 feet in the rural areas adjacent to these proposals as well, something unfortunately they no longer are required to do, but should do.

PAS will be recommending the council not proceed with these two urban growth area expansions.  The comprehensive plan update is merely 2 years old and it is a plan for the next 20 years.   The next update is in 6 years, when such expansions should be considered. We are highly concerned because the SWUGA has already taken in 63 percent of their growth allocation that was adopted through 2035, concerned with environmental impacts, especially to Little Bear Creek, and of course concerned with adding more car traffic to roads already heavily impacted.

Please look for action alerts as I will need your help to convince the council that these proposals should not be considered.

In 2015, the Snohomish County Council adopted the 10-year update to their Comprehensive Land Use policies, regulations, and zoning maps, which I will refer to as the Plan. The Plan is for anticipated growth through 2035.  The State Legislature also changed the 10-year update to 8 years.  The next update will be in 2023, the same year (hopefully) Sound Transit Light Rail will be ready in Lynnwood.  The Update is the process where the county and cities decide how much growth should go into each jurisdiction.  For the County, that is land that resides inside urban growth areas and in the rural areas.  These growth allocations are determined also by the State Office of Financial Management and must meet the Growth Management Act, the Puget Sound Regional Council’s multi-county planning policies, Snohomish County’s county-wide planning policies and their own general policy plan.  During that process, the entire county and growth impacts are considered for transportation, environment, utilities, schools, and parks.  In the last update, the cities of Everett and Lynnwood are suppose to take more growth rather than have that growth sprawl further and further out.

As of today, the southwest urban growth area (which is all the unincorporated area from Everett and Mill Creek south to the King County border) has already reached 63 percent of its growth allocation!!  What this means is that if cities and the county don’t alter some of their policies to encourage more growth in the cities and in our urban centers and around transit corridors, we will see more and more single family homes sprawling out to the eastern edge of the SWUGA, which will give the development community an argument to push out the UGA boundaries further into our rural areas to the east.  This means more traffic on our heavily clogged roads, more taxes to pay for more roads, more air pollution from cars versus mass transit options, more surface water runoff into our water which is already very polluted, and less trees, and of course wildlife and bird habitat.

The amendment process to the Plan can happen once a year.  Each year the County Council can introduce changes, and every other year private citizens can introduce changes.  However, that does not  mean those changes have to be considered, analyzed (at taxpayer expense) or adopted.

The County Council has been briefed on three private proposals, all two of which would expand the SW UGA along 43rd Avenue SE between.  Property owners want the expansion as they are adjacent to the UGA and don’t like the traffic and want to get more profit from their land.  That is a very common problem and argument I have heard for 20 years.  But we can’t sprawl out from these impacts.  Two of the proposals each have three suggested requests:  one to just expand the UGA which doesn’t not comply with the county-wide policies, or to reduce the UGA along the Lowell-Snohomish River Road or in the Menzel Road area of Granite Falls.  These also do not comply with the CPPs.

To read the Proposed Motion and Staff report click on and then scroll down to Archives, click on Planning and Development Development Committee, click on April 18th agenda, and it is the first item on the agenda.

2016 Recap

Council members during 2016 were:

Nate Nehring (R)—District 1   nate.nehring@snoco.orgI

Brian Sullivan (D)—District 2

Stephanie Wright (D)—District 3

Terry Ryan (D)—District 4

Sam Low (D)—District 5

County Executive Dave Somers

For information on all actions taken by the County Council, visit this webpage  There are hundreds of actions take that are not related to comprehensive plan policies or development regulations, so below is a recap of the major issues the Smart Growth Executive Director was directly involved with.

February 21, 2017--Futurewise and Pilchuck Audubon Society lost their appeal of the 2015 Update to Snohomish County's Critical Areas Regulations.  Our appeal was combined with the Tulalip Tribes appeal, and some of our issues overlapped.  The proceedings, briefs and Final Decsion and Order can be found at, Case No. 15-3-0012c.  Or you can email me at and I can send you electronic copies of our pre-hearing brief and the FDO.

February 21, 2017--The Smart Growth Executive Director is one of several folks on a new stakeholde committee to review and find new incentives for Snohomish County's Transfer of Development Rights program.  As of this date we have had one initial meetings.  We will be meeting once a month for 3 or 4 months to come up with some agreeable solutions.  Others on the committee are:  Nick Bratton from Forterra, David Hambelton, citizen who also is on the urban Center Design Review Board, Craig Krueger--Planning Consultant, Mike Pattison from Master Builders Association, David Ratliff, DevCo Apartments, Duane Weston--Forest Landowner.  The group is facilitated by Steve Skorney--Senior Planner from PDS.  More TBA as the process continues.

August 2016--Revising Minimum Lot Size for Duplexes and Removing Short Plat Restrictions.  It was a 4 to 1 vote, with Terry Ryan from District 4 voting no.  Our concern was that duplexes would also be removed as a receiving area for the Transfer of Development Rights program.  Since the 2015 comprehensive plan update, the development community has been successful in eliminating single family zones and now duplexes as receiving areas, making it much easier for developers to build without protecting farmland.  Once again,, the development community won on this issue.

October 2016--Commercial/Industrial Regulation amendments.  The Ordinance is 16-013 and the public hearing with the County Council has been continued several times.  The most controversial issue the council is dealing with is how the amendments are affecting the people who live in the Maltby Industrial Urban Growth Area.  The ordinance has not yet been adopted by County Council, and has been continued until March 2017.  We are supportive of the changes, and support the concerns of the people who live in the area.

October 2016--Council Initiated Comprehensive Plan Amendments.  The following ordinances were approved in a vote of all the Council members except for Hans Dunshee District 5 who was not present for the vote.  Those amendments were

Ordinance 16-064—Innovative Water Supply for Rural Areas

Ordinance 16-065—Repeal of ULDR areas

Ordinance 16-066—Open Space and Greenbelt Areas

Ordinance 16-067—Technical Corrections

Ordinance 16-068—Public Lands

Ordinance 16-076—Housing Element

Ordinance 16-077—MUGA’s

Ordinance 16-078—Reconciliation of Growth Targets

We supported most of these amendments, with concerns that too much growth is still going into our urban growth areas that puts pressure on expanding into rural areas, and not enough growth into our largest cities and around urban centers.

December 2016—Ordinance 16-073--Cottage Housing.  Approved with amendments requested by the Master Builder’s Association with 4 council members voting Yes, and District 3 not voting because she was not present.  We opposed the increase in size of housing unit from 1200 square feet to up to 2400 square feet because that is not what cottage housing should look like and it does not lend itself to affordable housing opportunities.

There was an ordinance that would allow more commercial wineries, distilleries and breweries into rural areas and on farmland, but there were so many amendments offered it became quite burdensome and confusing, so the County Council has remanded that issue back to the Planning Commission for 2017.

The Tree Canopy Ordinance Monitoring Plan Amendment was before the Planning Commission in December.  We testified against eliminating pruning and removal of hazardous trees from the monitoring plan.  Instead we recommended that pruning be defined so that it would not destroy a tree, and that a process to track when homeowners take down a tree in order to ensure that the county will meet their promise of retaining a 30 percent tree canopy over the next 20 years as more growth and development continues in our urban growth areas.  The Planning Commission did not agree to recommend the changes to the County Council. 

In 2015, Pilchuck Audubon Society along with Futurewise and the Tulalip Tribes commented on many changes to Snohomish County’s Critical Area Regulation amendments.  We have all three appealed the adopted ordinance to the Growth Management Hearings Board, and the hearing is scheduled for January 2017.  If you are interested in the issues we are appealing, please email me at and I’ll send you the information.

Looking forward to 2017

It is still unknown what all the issues may be, but here is a list of known issues that we will be tracking and will need your help at some point.

Wineries, distilleries and breweries on rural land and farmland

Pedestrian Facilities as it relates to new development in our urban growth areas

Tree Canopy Monitoring Plan

Comprehensive Plan Amendments.  There is a couple of requests to expand the Southwest Urban Growth Area in exchange to decrease the urban growth area in the north along Lowell-Larimer Road and in the Granite Falls area.

Transfer of Development Rights Program.  This program has been weakened several times by the development community, and I’ll be working to prevent any more weakening, and instead working to find ways to make it work in order to help save farm and forest land. 



Sustainable Lands Strategy (SLS)  -  In Snohomish County, an effort by municipal, state, federal and tribal governments, as well as conservation and agricultural interests, began in 2010 to look for ways to cooperate for the benefit of both fish and farms. The goal was to create a “Sustainable Lands Strategy” — a broad set of common understandings about the importance of fish and farms and the need for collaboration to simultaneously protect and enhance both resources while also recognizing and upholding Native American tribes' treaty rights and cultural traditions.  

Snohomish County's Sustainable Lands Strategy balances the need to restore vital salmon habitat, and protect the viability of local agriculture while also reducing the effects of flooding in the flood plain. 

Both farming and salmon production plays a key role in the history, culture and economy of Snohomish County and can be protected through sustainable land projects.

The Sustainable Lands Strategy works by looking at large stretches of river and estuary -- typically 8 to 10 miles at a time -- and creating a package of proposals that generate net gains in agricultural, tribal cultural, and ecological productivity and health in these water bodies and adjoining lands. 

The term “net gains” refers to the principle that the benefits of any work should be greater than its cost for every party involved. No person or group should be expected to accept a net loss so that someone else may gain. Only “win-win” agreements, in which everyone sees more gain than loss, should be completed under the Sustainable Lands Strategy.

This is only possible when we come together with similar goals including a desire to see a healthy ecosystem and economy. 
As part of the Sustainable Lands Strategy, work is being conducted within four major river reaches in Snohomish County. They are the Lower Skykomish River, the Lower Snohomish River, the Snohomish River Estuary, and the main stem of the Lower Stillaguamish River. Work here includes tributaries and side channel improvements.


May 2016

Snohomish County Council Voting Record Report Card--

This will be an on-going report on how the County Council votes on important land use and environmental policies and regulations.  The most current votes will be on top.  This is a work in progress, and will take more time to go back 4 years in time.  I will list the votes by date of vote, topic, Ordinance number, and the vote take by each Council member.

May 30, 2016

Ordinance 15-064—State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) Exemptions.

During the 2015 legislative session, a bill was adopted that would allow more exemption from SEPA for certain types and sizes of developments.  This was not a state mandate, but an option.  SEPA allows for more environmental review if current development regulations adopted by jurisdictions don’t adequately address environmental impacts.  Typically, when an application for a development is submitted, a jurisdiction’s planning department reviews the application and determines if their application falls under the law for SEPA exemption.  If it does not fall under a SEPA exemption, the applicant would have to submit an Environmental Checklist.  And in 99 percent of the applications filed in Snohomish County (excluding cities) that require an Environmental Checklist a Determination of Non-significance (DNS) is issued based on current adopted development regulations that supposedly address any environmental impacts of the development.  Unless a concerned citizen or group appeals the DNS because they feel there are outstanding environmental impacts not addressed by current development regulations, the DNS stands as is and development can proceed.  Once in a great while, a Determination of Significance is given to an application and the applicant is then required to do a full Environmental Impact Statement, which is expensive.

The County Council recently adopted changes to the SEPA exemptions for Snohomish County, based on their belief that Snohomish County’s current environmental development regulations will ensure new development will not further impact the environment or will be adequately mitigated.  

The State Law that allowed for more exemptions gave a range of what jurisdictions could do.  Below is the minimum required by law, where SnoCo was before the Ordinance was adopted which not exempts the maximum as allowed by State law, except for Office, School and Commercial in UGA, which is 25,000 square feet instead of the 30,000 square feet.

                  Minimum       SnoCo Prior to Vote  Maximum and 

                                        Adopted by CC


Single Family Residential in UGA 4 units `20 units          30 units

Single Family Residential not in UGA 4 units 20 units 20 units

Multi-Family Residential in UGA 4 units 20 units 60 units

Multi-Family Residential not in UGA 4 units 20 units 25 units

Agricultural Buildings 10,000 sq. ft.      30,000 sq. ft. 40,000 sq. ft.

Office, School and Commercial in UGA   4,000 Sq. ft.       12,000 sq. ft. 25.000 sq. ft.

Office, School and Commercial not in UGA 4,000 sq. ft. 4,000 sq. ft. 12,000 sq. ft.

Parking in UGA`          20 stalls `      40 stalls          90 stalls

Parking not in UGA                 20 stalls         20 stalls         40 stalls

Excavation, grading and fill       100 yards         500 yards        1,000 yards.

The votes of the County Council were:

Ken Klein District 1—Yes

Brian Sullivan District 2—Yes

Stephanie Wright District 3—No

Terry Ryan District 4—Yes

Hans Dunshee District 5--Absent

May 16, 2016

Ordinance 16-004  -- Extension of Vesting of Development Permits

On March 16th, the County Council adopted longer vesting times for development applications that were submitted on or before 2007.  Vesting means that any development application and approve permit for subdivisions and short plat subdivisions in both our urban growth areas and rural areas will be allowed a certain amount of time before the project is built to fall under those development regulations that were in place at the time of the development application approval.  Ordinance 16-004 has allowed even longer vesting time, which means for permits that were started on or before 2007 are now allowed another 12 years plus another 2 year extension if necessary to complete their project.  Since 2007, Snohomish County adopted a new comprehensive plan update with different zoning and regulations; they have also adopted an update to the Critical Area Regulations, and these older permit applications will not have to comply with these new regulations, or any other regulations that were adopted or updated.  In the meantime, the State Legislature has started a process for re-evaluating the State Vesting Laws, given that they are regressive and do not aid in helping to achieve no net loss of our environmental quality, and will further degrade our ability to deal with the impacts of climate change, Puget Sound Recovery, water quality for people and wildlife, and ensuring our quality of life doesn’t diminish with an every-increasing population.

Votes by County Council: 

Ken Klein District 1—Yes

Brian Sullivan District 2--Yes
Stephanie Wright District 3--Absent
Terry Ryan District 4--Yes
Hans Dunshee District 5--Yes 


 April 2016

In the November 2015 issue, I gave a recap of last year’s work, and a summary of what might happen in 2016. Now that we are starting the second quarter of 2016, I want to share more detail of the work I will be doing this year.

Snohomish County Council Report Card I have made it my mission to begin keeping a “Snohomish County Council Report Card” on land use and environmental policy and regulation votes, starting with votes from four years ago to the present, and I’ll continue it. While this information can be found on the county council’s website, it takes some work to whittle out the land use decisions from the hundreds of ordinances and motions that are adopted every year. Knowing how your council member votes is a useful tool as we advo- cate for strong protections for birds and wildlife habitat, water and air quality, and smart growth planning for our future. The Report Card will be on the Smart Growth webpage soon (www. Growth), and I’ll share more of that information with you in the next Profile.

Everett Station District Alliance Another of my priorities is the Everett Station District Alliance (ESDA), a collaborative stakeholder committee that was formed two years ago, organized by Ed Petersen of Housing Hope and HopeWorks. ESDA has brought together representatives from Pilchuck Audubon, Forterra, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Everett Transit, local developers, planners, and landowners in the Everett Transit Station area (Hewitt Avenue to 38th Street and Broadway to I-5) to work toward a transit-oriented redevelopment plan for the regional Everett Transit Station area. The study will include connections to the greater Everett downtown and beyond. The work of this committee will coincide with the subarea planning process that has begun in Everett called the “Metropolitan Subarea Plan” because of the existing transit opportunities and the possibility of Sound Transit Link Light Rail moving north from Lynnwood to Everett. We are beginning to formulate our mission, vision, and ideas for presentation in May when we will host an invitation-only forum for elected officials, potential developers, large employers, property owners, and other future stakeholders. We hope to start a wide dialogue toward ensuring our vision becomes reality in the next 20, 30, and 50 years. Creation of livable, affordable, and sustainable transit-friendly, mixed-use communities that will provide open spaces, safe bike and pedestrian walk- ways, and better connectivity are at the forefront of this work. I represent PAS in this alliance and will keep our membership updated on ESDA’s progress throughout the year.

Sustainable Lands Strategy-- The Sustainable Lands Strategy (SLS) is another of my priorities. As part of the Executive Committee since its inception five years ago, I have been part of the collaborative process of local farmers and the Tulalip and Stillaguamish Tribes to find opportunities in projects, policies, and funding so we can secure gains for salmon and wildlife habitat restoration and farming along our two major river basins. Last year, the Lower Snohomish River Basin and Estuary were identified by President Obama as one of four “priority landscapes” nationwide under the Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative, thus enabling SLS to obtain financial opportunities to implement projects that produce results. I have been the Secretary-Treasurer of the SLS (now a non-profit) and feel honored to be part of this innovative, collaborative, and solutionbased process.

Other County Issues --Two additional county issues of import are: • Further refining county urban centers (particularly at I-5/128th and I-5/164th) to make them transit-friendly and to ensure transit-oriented communities that will encompass affordable housing and connectivity with other transporta- tion modes. • Subarea planning for the Maltby Industrial UGA, the Clear- view Rural Commercial area along Highway 9 that is limited in terms of growth under the Growth Management Act, and the rural areas in between and adjacent to the Southwest UGA.

Currently, PAS and Futurewise are appealing the adoption of the Critical Area Regulations update by the County Council Growth Management Hearings Board (The Tulalip Tribes are also appealing this update in a separate appeal.) As this process continues,

I will report on the process and outcome in future reports and on the Smart Growth webpage. Decisions made by our County Council affect our environment, wildlife, and quality of life. The more voices they hear, the more impact we will make. 

January 2016


Sustainable Lands Strategy

Document Actions
In Snohomish County, an effort by municipal, state, federal and tribal governments, as well as conservation and agricultural interests, began in 2010 to look for ways to cooperate for the benefit of both fish and farms. The goal was to create a “Sustainable Lands Strategy” — a broad set of common understandings about the importance of fish and farms and the need for collaboration to simultaneously protect and enhance both resources while also recognizing and upholding Native American tribes' treaty rights and cultural traditions.  

Smart Growth Executive Director Kristin Kelly, has served on the Executive Committee since its inception in 2010 and currently serves as Secretary-Treasurer.

Snohomish County's Sustainable Lands Strategy balances the need to restore vital salmon habitat, and protect the viability of local agriculture while also reducing the effects of flooding in the flood plain. 

Both farming and salmon production plays a key role in the history, culture and economy of Snohomish County and can be protected through sustainable land projects.

The Sustainable Lands Strategy works by looking at large stretches of river and estuary -- typically 8 to 10 miles at a time -- and creating a package of proposals that generate net gains in agricultural, tribal cultural, and ecological productivity and health in these water bodies and adjoining lands. 

The term “net gains” refers to the principle that the benefits of any work should be greater than its cost for every party involved. No person or group should be expected to accept a net loss so that someone else may gain. Only “win-win” agreements, in which everyone sees more gain than loss, should be completed under the Sustainable Lands Strategy.

This is only possible when we come together with similar goals including a desire to see a healthy ecosystem and economy. 
As part of the Sustainable Lands Strategy, work is being conducted within four major river reaches in Snohomish County. They are the Lower Skykomish River, the Lower Snohomish River, the Snohomish River Estuary, and the main stem of the Lower Stillaguamish River. Work here includes tributaries and side channel improvements.

Livable Snohomish County Coalition (LSCC)

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Kristin Kelly, Smart Growth Executive Director started the Livable Snohomish County Coalition with the first Snohomish County Livable Snohomish Summit in 2007.  She brought together over 200 people from a host of environmental organizations, neighbhorhood groups and individuals who have been involved in some aspect of land use and environmental protection in Snohomish County.  The goal was to start a way to network and help each other on important land use issues.  From that first summit, there have been summits every other year in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015. Those summits hosted over 200 people each time, and included many presentations from experts from a variety of topics.  The topics included:  "limate Change and Land Use Planning; SnoH20mish:  Protecting our Water Resources; Building a Livable Snohomish County; and a review of Snohomish County's updates to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Critical Areas Regulations.

Everett Station District Alliance (ESDA)

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A group of community stakeholders has been meeting monthly since June 2014 to discuss the Everett Station and its neighborhood to generate ideas on how to stimulate residential and business development in the area. The group members come from the following organizations or connections. 
•    HopeWorks Social Enterprises
•    Property Owners (5)
•    Community Transit
•    Everett Transit
•    Futurewise
•    Economic Alliance of Snohomish County
•    Forterra
•    Enterprise Community Partners

The stakeholder group is now officially titled the Everett Station District Alliance (ESDA).  

This group was assembled with the knowledge that City of Everett Comprehensive Plan Amendments are planned for adoption in mid-2015. This document is seen as a key to vitalization of the Everett Station area. Community input on this plan is desired by the city and is required as a part of the Comprehensive Plan process.

Transit Oriented Development. The conversations by the group have focused on many aspects of the neighborhood. The organizing theme has been “how can this area become a vibrant transit-oriented community”? Other communities around the nation have seen multi-modal transportation centers stimulate transformations with housing, jobs, shops, parks and pedestrian friendly streetscapes. 

Vision Statement.  The group has drafted a vision statement designed to stimulate discussion and planning for improvements for the area. The vision includes the following elements:
•    Residential. Housing above ground level business uses will be developed for people who desire easy access to public transportation.
•    Jobs. A growing number of people will work in the area and take advantage of the transit system.
•    Connections. A safe, attractive, user friendly system of connections between the train station and downtown Everett will be created (greenway, streetcar, gondola, covered escalators, dedicated buses)
Infrastructure. Pocket parks, sidewalks, trees, landscaping will be added to the neighborhood.

Entertainment, recreation, restaurants, shops in downtown Everett will be seen as an accessible asset to workers, residents and commuters in the Everett Station area and this will be supplemented over time with enhancements near the Station.
Infill Approach. Opportunities for development exist in the area. A commitment to incentivizing a vibrant Everett Station area will encourage property owners or developers to consider development options.

Catalyst Projects. Three to five catalyst projects are needed to jump start the redevelopment process. HopeWorks Station represents one of these. The City of Everett should identify existing city owned parcels that could be made available in the short term for new developments that generate jobs and housing. 

Space now dedicated to ground level parking lots need to be converted into space for businesses, housing, parks and jobs. The idea of a transit oriented parking garage has appeal, both from a commuter perspective and from a community development perspective.

Transient Population Issue. 
The sizeable population of street people in the area represents a deterrent to redevelopment. Property owners, residents, business operators desire streets and open spaces that feel safe, inviting and attractive. This issue must be addressed. Additional day center capacity and additional residential capacity for meeting the needs of this population are needed. Such facilities will address the needs of individuals currently relegated to life on the streets. Such facilities are essential ingredients for a plan to stimulate business growth and success in the core commercial areas of downtown Everett and the Everett Station area. Area property owners and stakeholders should be engaged to support and help create housing and day program alternatives to the current inadequate facilities at the Men’s mission. 

Where does the process go from here?
1.    Should the Everett Station Area Discussion group continue to meet, discuss proposals and plan events?
2.    Should the group formalize itself with a name and an organizational structure?
3.    Could the group work with the Everett Gospel Mission and Compass Health to find community solutions to the sad issue of homeless people on our streets?
4.    Should the group convene events with presenters knowledgeable on transit oriented development?
5.    Should the group study communities elsewhere that have successfully been transformed into vibrant communities around transit hubs.

Should the group advocate for better integration of the Everett Station Area into strategic development plans of Sound Transit and Puget Sound Regional Council.

ESDA made recommendations to the Everett City Council on their city's 2015 Comprehensive Plan Update to help further the vision and goals of ESDA.
Upcoming:  ESDA will be working with the City of Everett and the community on the upcoming Subarea Plan for the Metropolitan Area of Everett, which includes downtown and the Everett Station area.  ESDA also will be hosting several forums in 2016 and 2017 to futher promote Transit Oriented Development in Everett.


 Critical Areas Ordinance Comment Letter to Snohomish County Council

August 1, 2015