Snohomish pulls plan to annex 22 acres

SNOHOMISH — The owners of about a dozen homes just west of here won’t be incorporated into the city, for now. That leaves a developer’s plan to build new houses in the area up in the air.

The city of Snohomish has withdrawn a proposal to annex an area south of 16th Street between Highway 9 and 89th Avenue SE. The state Boundary Review Board for Snohomish County gave the city the option to withdraw the proposal at a hearing last week. Otherwise, the board would have denied it, Snohomish Planning Director Owen Dennison said.

The proposal did not meet criteria for approval because it had irregular boundaries. It was drawn using lot lines instead of city streets for borders.

City Manager Larry Bauman said Snohomish has a few options moving forward. The City Council could consider changing policy to allow the developer to connect to Snohomish utilities without the area being annexed.

The city could hold an election among the affected property owners to determine support for incorporation. Those property owners also could start a petition for the city to make another proposal.

Westcott Homes initiated the annexation process last year. In January, the city requested to incorporate 17.4 acres. It later extended the proposal to 22 acres, including 11 homes, with an estimated 29 people affected.

Melanie Clark, a development manager for Westcott, said the company remains interested in building up to 20 new homes off 72nd Street SE. Whether city utilities are available is a deciding factor, she said.

The developer has not spoken to nearby property owners since the hearing to gauge interest in a new annexation proposal, Clark said, nor has it revisited plans for the Snohomish development.

Several people in the neighborhood wrote letters opposing the annexation. They cited concerns about rising water and sewer costs, because initially the annexation would have required homeowners to pay to connect to city utilities. That’s a cost of about $25,000, according to the city.

Earlier this month, the council changed the rules. Now, annexed homeowners would only have to connect to city utilities if their existing septic system fails or if they are expanding their home’s floor plan by more than 20 percent.

Mayor Karen Guzak said she wasn’t sure what steps the city would take next.

“We’d like, of course, to expand the city in a thoughtful and deliberative manner,” she said.

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; anile@heraldnet.com.

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