I remember when Snohomish County first updated our Comprehensive Plan — our blueprint for where and how we were going to grow over the next 20 years. There were lots of opportunities for our neighbors to weigh in, scattered throughout the county, even before the official public hearings held by the planning commission and Snohomish County Council.
By reaching out to the public ahead of the hearings, residents were able to first learn about the changes being proposed, find out if their neighborhood would be affected, voice concerns, ask questions and become educated. The county empowered our neighbors to have a more effective voice.
Now, 10 years later, the county is preparing to again update our 20-year vision. Unfortunately, our neighbors won’t be empowered — and many probably don’t even know it’s underway.
Disturbingly, since May, the only opportunity for the public to really understand the changes being proposed for the next update to the Comprehensive Plan were done in planning commission study sessions — with no opportunity for public input or questions.
Moving forward there are limited opportunities to be engaged. The only planned public outreach and education opportunities are an open house briefing on Sept. 9, a public hearing on Oct. 7, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement 30-day comment period starting at its release on Sept. 8.
This update plans for more growth and development through the year 2035! So much is changing in our communities — and we have tremendous opportunities to make sure we grow jobs and affordable housing near transit. But we can only seize this opportunity if the public knows what’s up for consideration. To learn more visit the county’s webpage at http://2015update-snoco.org/.
Snohomish Program Director, Futurewise
Smart Growth director, Pilchuck Audubon Society