get time to chat with county leaders
MALTBY — Dozens of people gathered in the main sanctuary of The Church at Maltby last week to talk with county officials about big topics for the Maltby area.
The county hosted the ‘open house’ style gathering. It was a meeting structure which came as a surprise to many people who entered expecting a large presentation instead. But, people were happy to speak directly with county officials such as County Executive Dave Somers, County Sheriff Ty Trenary and new County Councilman Sam Low.
Somers said the bigger topics people approached him about were concerns
about traffic, noise and the proposed, 360-unit Paradise Lake Road Garden Apartments. “We all know the apartment complexes are drawing a lot of concern about traffic, since traffic is already terrible in this area,” Somers said.
What’s serious about the apartments issue for the county, according to Somers, is that the apartment complexes’ land partially sits where the state wants to build the 522-Paradise Lake Road interchange. “We’ll need to seek long-term solutions,” he said.
Noise is among the other concerns. “It’s all the things that are related to this semi-industrial area” that is growing, Somers said.
Maltby was zoned as an urban growth area in 1995.
A group of concerned residents have created an opposition group to the apartments and word spread soon after the proposal was lodged in November.
Trenary said he heard
similar concerns about traffic, noise and public safety, adding that hosting an event that “holds us accountable
to the people and their questions” was an overall positive thing.
The structure of the meeting confused some people, but helped encourage outreach, according to attendees. “I was listening to one guy at his booth talk about (his presentation), someone asked him a question, and
he directed them to this other booth and that guy didn’t know what he was talking about,” said Rebecca Thompson. “So, I saw that disconnect, and the booths would give their presentation, people would come up in the middle and ask what was going on and they couldn’t start over, so it was really distracting and confusing for some people.”
A longtime Maltby resident had concerns. “It wasn’t anything new for me, since I’m already on the email lists and have gone to the other meetings,” said 23-year Maltby area resident Ronda Ridley. “I think this was great, for people wanting to ask specific questions. But I also
think the projects they’re proposing, like those big apartments, and the 522 interchange — I don’t think our current infrastructure, intersections and schools, even, can handle it. 720 new parking spaces, that’s over 700 more cars in this area. It’s just too much.”
Another resident appreciated the outreach. “I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve never really seen particular town halls to this area, so I wanted to come check it out and see what they’re doing on outreach,” said Hillary Moralez. “There’s been a real problem with the unincorporated areas not being involved in Snohomish County too much, so it’s kind of nice to see this level of outreach.”
People were encouraged to sign up for email notifications and to fill out comment sheets. The county said it would compile the comment sheets into a report for each department at the public meeting and report on the input in a county newsletter at a later date.
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