Get ready for more neighbors

EVERETT – Bids to allow more housing to be built across Snohomish County won initial approval on Monday from the County Council.

In all, the council considered more than 100 requests to change the county’s growth management plans.

Officials approved a list of 45 proposals, mostly by developers and landowners.

Don’t expect to hear bulldozers or pounding hammers right away. The council’s approval launches months of special studies on the proposals. A final vote is scheduled in spring 2008.

One of the most contentious approved by the council would allow an estimated 1,200 homes on 2,797 rural acres north of Lake Goodwin, a plan opposed by mayors of nearby cities.

The council voted 4-1 to study the idea further. County Councilman John Koster voted “no,” saying he doesn’t want to see typical clusters of rural housing built there.

County Councilman Dave Somers agreed, but said he supports the proposal so long as Edmonds-based developers The McNaughton Group pursue a creative rural village idea.

“This is one of those projects that takes time and analysis,” Somers said.

Among the ideas winning support was a proposal to allow as many as 1,400 luxury waterfront condos at Point Wells on Puget Sound near Woodway. The project also would tear out the oil tank farm there and build public boardwalks.

In a split vote along party lines, the Democrat majority approved further study of 1,100 rural acres of land between the cities of Lake Stevens and Snohomish.

Lake Stevens officials want to allow urban development on the land. The caveat: Builders would have to preserve farmland elsewhere to win permission to build in that area.

The city of Snohomish wants a piece of the area, too, but doesn’t propose such requirements.

“This will take some time to sort out,” Somers said. He encouraged the two cities and the state Department of Transportation to discuss planning for the area.

Absent from the council’s approved list of changes, again, is a bid to take a 43-square-mile area and create a new city, which proponents want to name Maltby. It would be the biggest city by area in the county.

“It’s very hard to figure out how that can be justified,” County Council Chairman Dave Gossett said. “I haven’t seen a lot of support from the people to justify a city of 43 square miles. And I’d have to see an awful lot.”

Reporter Jeff Switzer: 425-339-3452 or jswitzer@heraldnet.com.

See the growth

For a list of all Snohomish County’s growth proposals, go to www.snoco.org and search “docket.”

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