Moratorium OK’d for 400 acres in Snohomish

SNOHOMISH — The City Council approved stopping any new development on 400 acres northeast of the city.

On Tuesday, the council approved with a 4-3 vote a six-month development moratorium on land north of Blackmans Lake and east of Highway 9.

Council members Greg Guedel, Lynn Schilaty and Paul Kaftanski voted against.

A public hearing has been set for July 17 to talk about the issue.

City staff asked for the moratorium because it would cost Snohomish too much money to build a sewer pipeline to the area.

“To incur more debt now, without means to pay it, would put the city in a financial risk,” Councilman Dean Randall said.

The city currently owes $6.5 million on three different loans to pay for three miles of trunk line from the wastewater treatment plant to west of Highway 9 built in 2007. The city still needs to build less than a mile towards Blackmans Lake, but this project is expected to cost $5.6 million.

Councilman Greg Guedel said establishing a moratorium was not needed and it could chase away development.

“A moratorium is an extreme response that is completely out of proportion with the risks we are addressing on this situation,” he said.

The moratorium was needed to let landowners and developers know that the city does not have sewer capacity on that area. The moratorium will not affect landowners who have already a permit, city manager Larry Bauman said.

The moratorium goes into effect Thursday.

With the moratorium, city staff is set to look for ways to encourage development in areas of the city that have access to the sewer system, Bauman said.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

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