Warehouse a sore spot for Snohomish neighbors

  • Wed Oct 7th, 2009 10:45pm
  • News

By Andy Rathbun Herald Writer

SNOHOMISH — One of these things is not like the other.

When you walk down the 300 block of Lincoln Avenue, you pass five homes, then a warehouse with its own parking lot, and then six more homes. Some have picket fences.

Homeowners on the block are upset about the new building sitting in the dead center of what they consider a residential street. They don’t want to see another one like it on the block.

“Can you imagine what that would be like?” said Kathy Sloan, an 18-year resident whose two-story home is next door to the three-story warehouse.

The building may end up playing a role in a citywide discussion about development. Officials will be asking residents to help create a vision for the neighborhood that, as it happens, surrounds Lincoln Avenue.

Officials said that the building, legal under current zoning rules, illustrates what can be built under the status quo.

“We need to ask, ‘Is this the vision? Do you want to see more of this or less of this?’ ” planning director Corbitt Loch said.

A series of public meetings to create a vision for the neighborhood will begin on Oct. 22, with a goal of drafting a development plan by the end of 2010.

That plan, which is being created using a $150,000 grant from the Cascade Land Conservancy, will focus on a jigsaw-piece-like chunk of land east of downtown. The area goes north to about Sixth Street, as far south as Willow Avenue, as far east as the Pilchuck River and as far west as Union Avenue.

The conservancy approached the city in 2008 with money that could be dedicated to support additional growth through infrastructure and land-use planning in a targeted area of the city.

Now, residents will help create that plan. Officials suspect residents may call for a higher density of homes and street-level shops. Then officials could pass stricter building guidelines to direct development.

“We’re very fortunate to have the historic district,” Loch said. “Now we want to steer that same heart and soul up into that area.”

The Lincoln Avenue building won’t itself be affected by the plan. Like other buildings in the area, it will be grandfathered in.

As a result, residents are learning to live with their new neighbor.

Construction on the building began in early spring. The block is zoned for mixed use, so a variety of structures are allowed, including single family homes, commercial buildings and some industrial facilities.

The building may be completed in November. Then, it will serve several purposes for its owner, McDaniel’s Do-It Center. The home improvement business plans to use the building as a storage facility, office and small retail center.

Brad McDaniel said the building may result in some forklift traffic a couple times a day. He said the residential setting was taken into consideration when the building was designed.

“It played huge,” he said. “The architect tried to keep it in line, I wouldn’t say necessarily to match the library (one block away), but to keep it in the spirit of the library.”

Some residents, while accustomed to the sight of the building, nonetheless worry about traffic and bristle at the building’s design.

At the very least, it has them thinking about development.

“I would like to keep it residential,” Sloan said of her block. “Even if somebody had built a duplex or a six-plex or some kind of housing like that, it wouldn’t have bothered us.”

Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455, arathbun@heraldnet.com

Open house

Officials will host a meeting to discuss development of an area east of downtown with residents from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 22, in the Snohomish Library multipurpose room, 311 Maple Ave.

More info: Call Owen Dennison with the city at 360-282-3173.