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Snohomish County may allow more uses for tiny pieces of land

The County Council is considering new regulations for pieces of land that don't meet minimum zoning dimensions.

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Herald Staff
EVERETT -- People could have more freedom to use undersized land parcels if the Snohomish County Council makes code changes this week.
The new regulations have the support of some local environmental groups, though many builders and farm advocates remain uneasy about them.
Currently, single-family residential houses are the only allowed use on pieces of land that don't meet minimum zoning dimensions. The changes would allow people in certain areas to use their land for other purposes including farming, greenhouses, day cares, kennels or other home-based businesses.
The proposed rules for substandard lots also would allow many accessory buildings, such as barns and garages. The changes would not allow duplexes or apartments.
The hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in the council chambers, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., Everett.
Another aim of the proposed changes is to remove loopholes that allow landowners to cobble together land parcels, using boundary-line adjustments, to build in areas never intended for development. County officials have pointed to examples of this occurring in rural areas to sidestep building regulations.
The hearing is continued from Oct. 19. In July, the advisory Snohomish County Planning Commission objected 5-4 to the proposed changes, saying the ordinance was confusing.

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