Clearview calls for focus on zoning
The Clearview community's annual meeting Thursday, Aug. 23 had panelists Ken Klein of Snohomish County, state Reps. Shelley Kloba and Derek Stanford, County Councilmen Terry Ryan and Sam Low, and Captain Scott Parker and Lieutenant Scott Robertson of the sheriff’s office.
CLEARVIEW — Growth was on most everyone’s mind at the annual Clearview community meeting where a panel of legislators also answered questions about roads and development.
State Reps. Shelley Kloba and Derek Stanford joined County Council members Sam Low and Terry Ryan in a group rounded out by county Executive Director Ken Klein and Snohomish County Sheriff Office’s Captain Scott Parker and Lt. Scott Robertson.
Longtime area resident Roy DeSoto kicked off a question-and-answer session straightforwardly: “Who gave you the right,” he asked the panel, “to tell us we can’t be a city?”
Stanford pinned the answer on the Growth Management Act (GMA) aimed at funneling growth toward cities and preserving rural lands. “Whether it’s working is up for debate,” he said.
“The GMA was a great idea, but the problem with it is it’s completely inflexible,” Ryan said, so the county drew a line excluding people on 43rd Avenue SE who are now surrounded by development, “they are getting all the negative impact of growth and no benefit whatsoever.”
He said the region needed tools from the state to make minor GMA changes, which is currently prohibited.
People wondered what the county might do with the Urban Growth Area. A forthcoming growth area study will wrap up in mid-2019. County planners will use the results to help direct boundary changes in 2022 and 2023 that could open Clearview to more density.
Klein encouraged attendees to get involved early. To get involved, residents can sign up for updates on the Southwest Urban Growth area study and contact their legislators.
Many community members asked about traffic at gridlocked intersections like the Paradise Lake Road interchange at state Route 522. Kloba shared about a $750,000 stipend for planning and outreach but construction several years off didn’t satisfy the crowd.
Low added that $250,000 of county funds were earmarked for lane widening and adding an extra lane in the mornings from the vicinity of The Maltby Cafe to 522, but working around $4 million per fish culvert sunk the plan.
Ryan put traffic woes in context with costs, noting that the county was already $200 million in arrears to meet infrastructure obligations for the next 20 years.
Ryan also said builders told him 50 to 70 percent of their clients worked for Microsoft or Amazon. Ryan said an available land report showed there was sufficient area for everyone expected to
populate the county plus another 20,000 or more, but that the capacity was in Everett or further north and those employees didn’t all want to commute so far to their jobs.
Amid the talk of increasing populations and traffic, a couple of attendees speculated about a future with less cars rather than more.
Kloba, a member of the state’s newly formed Autonomous Vehicle Work Group, suggested car sharing, self-driving cars and driverless public transit shuttles might actually reduce the need for some infrastructure. State Rep. Mark Harmsworth is also in the work group.
Until that day, Clearview residents are concerned roads aren’t keeping up with developments. One even suggested a moratorium on new permits and developments until roads did catch up.
But legislators dismissed that idea, saying even if there was a moratorium, growth would still happen, just further north, like Arlington.
“Well, good,” said attendee Morgan Davis, to the agreement and laughter of the crowd.
For more information on the Clearview Association, go to www.clearviewwa.us for more information on the Southwest Urban Growth Area Boundary Planning Study, visit www.snohomishcountywa.gov/4129/SWUGA-Boundary-Planning-Study
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