Snohomish evaluating adding density,
maybe annexing, in north and west
City of Snohomish graphic
The three subareas being studied and how much land they encompass.
SNOHOMISH — Growing the city by annexing its urban growth areas could be a real possibility coming in the next few years.
Letting in slightly denser residential to areas in-town is another.
The city is studying three regions being named as “subareas”: a wide section due north of Blackman Lake, the vicinity of U.S. 2 and state Route 9 and an area of Snohomish’s westside between Weaver Road and Tenth Street west of state Route 9. Unincorporated areas north of city limits which the city could annex were part of the study.
A detailed map of the three areas is at www.snohomishwa.gov/726/Subarea-Studies
The city’s southern urban growth area across the Snohomish River, which is more commercial, wasn’t in this study.
The city hired a consultant to produce a study on future development for the three areas. One part looked at whether to allow denser housing, such as duplexes, to be mixed into these largely single-family residential areas.
The consultant concluded that the single-family home sale prices in these areas are unaffordable to most residents today, “indicating a demand for more diverse housing options,” the consultant wrote in the most recent draft version of the report published in the June 7 City Council packet on the city website.
The city will conduct public meetings this year about what people want for these areas.
Recently, City Council members gave favorable comments on moving ahead, including in favor of studying annexation. Some council members believe some adjustments could lead to more affordable housing being developed.
The city’s volunteer Planning Commission will be discussing plans for these areas in August and into the fall.
City planning director Glen Pickus said he predicts no annexation would happen in 2023 because of how many steps are involved in the process.
The unincorporated areas are to the southwest of the U.S. 2 / state Route 9 intersection (region of South Tom Marks Road / 52nd Street SE), and a section of unincorporated land along Weaver Road, and an area between 22nd Street SE and a bit north of 56th Street SE (Johnny Jump Road).
Annexing these areas would bring property tax revenue into the city, but also add infrastructure costs to the city. The consultants found the revenue would be greater than the cost; annexing all three areas without rezoning would generate an estimated $3.8 million in new city revenue, the consultants wrote. The two biggest revenue sources would come from city property taxes and also through real estate excise taxes, a transaction tax collected when properties change hands.
The study calculated the housing yields that could be created by rezoning these subareas under different levels of density. In two of the five scenarios, single-family houses could still be built. In three other scenarios, multi-family zoning would be painted over the area.
All three subareas have had little development since 2010, the study found.
One of the study’s main purposes is to look at ways to address what affordable housing proponents call “the missing middle” in housing: allowing duplexes, triplexes and small townhouse and small condominium developments.
— Includes material from Tribune archives
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