Where would you put 60,000 more people in Everett?

EVERETT — City leaders need your help to achieve the impossible: predict what this former mill town will look like two decades from now.

They’re asking people to share thoughts about zoning and service changes needed for Everett to accommodate an expected influx of new residents. People can participate by filling out an online survey or by calling the planning department to get more information.

The responses will be plugged into a state-mandated growth plan for 2035, which the city must complete by mid-2015.

“This is the time to be engaged and this is the time for people to let their thoughts be known,” City Councilman Paul Roberts said.

Planners expect Everett to absorb the equivalent of Marysville’s population over the next 20 years.

That would mean adding more than 60,000 people to the 103,000 who reside within city limits now. To make room, the city must rezone some neighborhoods for higher density. Transportation and utilities also need to keep pace, as does park space, libraries, fire protection and more.

Something else to think about: The city needs to pay for it all, too.

City staff plan to distribute survey responses to Planning Commission and City Council, who are responsible for drafting the comprehensive plan.

“We’d like to hear what parts of town they’d really like to be seeing more growth,” planning director Alan Giffen said.

Higher-density zoning for homes and businesses probably won’t go over well in neighborhoods of single-family homes. On the other hand, Giffen said people often tell him they wouldn’t mind seeing more development along Evergreen Way or in downtown.

“We’ve pretty much run out of undeveloped single-family-zoned land in our city,” Giffen said.

Given that reality, he said, the most attractive sites for future development are bound to be one- and two-story buildings surrounded by large parking lots.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

Take the survey

To take Everett’s 20-year planning survey, go to tinyurl.com/Everett2035. People can provide contact information to receive updates about the comprehensive plan process. To learn more about the comprehensive plan, go to tinyurl.com/EverettCompPlan.

For more information, call Mary Cunningham or Jim Hanson at 425-257-8731 or e-mail to mcunningham@everettwa.gov or jhanson@everettwa.gov.

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