Cities lay out their priority lists for this year
SNOHOMISH COUNTY — Housing and economic development rank high on the 2020 priority lists for Snohomish, Monroe and Everett.
In Snohomish, the city is partnering with Snohomish County this year to develop a 150-acre Mid-Town Planning District.
The county owns a 9.5-acre vacant parcel in the middle of the district, off Avenue D between 10th and 13th streets.
“We plan to form a task force to figure out what’s the right way to plan zoning for that area for the middle part of the 21st century,” said city administrator Steve Schuller.
City priorities are for the area to provide strong, stable finances, as well as middle-class and affordable housing.
“The City of Snohomish is really proud of having a usable, walkable city,” Schuller said. “We want to find out how that development can add to what we already have.”
Another goal for 2020 is to finish the restoration of the Carnegie Building, aided by a pair of state grants totaling $1 million. The city has received “a really good bid” to begin construction at the building, Schuller said.
The City Council is proud, Schuller noted, of its decision not to increase rates for water use and wastewater through 2022.
“It was a big decision for us,” said Schuller, who is the city’s utility general manager. “We’re very excited about that.”
In Monroe, the city is beginning a two-phase study of its affordable housing code.
Council members will look at how other cities are modifying housing codes, but likely need to come up with their own regulations, said Ben Swanson, the city’s community development director.
“It’s pretty easy to just go plagiarize from another jurisdiction,” Swanson said. “But it’s so city-specific, it’s difficult to do.”
The city will also try again, after failing 10 years ago, to annex land within the northern borders of Monroe’s designated urban growth area.
Annexation could range from 78 to 400 acres, depending on feedback from residents.
“We’re trying to take a mindful approach,” Swanson said.
The potential annexation area is all residential and vacant land. Annexing would extend city services to people living there.
Monroe’s City Council is also mulling recommendations from its Homeless Policy Advisory Committee, the culmination of a two-year process, and continuing to work on the development of Tjerne Place in the North Kelsey area.
“Enhancing the vibrancy of Tjerne Place is one of the City of Monroe’s highest priorities,” according to its website. The city envisions a mixed-use development that is “casual and fun to visit” and includes a village green.
Like Monroe, Everett leaders are also focusing on housing this year.
Its multi-year “Rethink Zoning” effort, launched last year, is “to ensure that our development regulations support our efforts to recruit new businesses and secure a wide range of housing at all price points,” according to the city website.
The city wants to provide housing that is “decent, safe, accessible, attractive and affordable.”
Other 2020 priorities, said spokesman Julio Cortes, include finishing the Rucker Renewal project and completing construction of the Grand Avenue Park Bridge, which will carry storm drainage and sewer pipelines across a steep slope and provide pedestrian access from Grand Avenue Park to the waterfront.
“There are a lot of awesome things happening on the waterfront,” Cortes said.
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