Maltby-area zoning. The purple and blue areas are industrial. Green areas are residential. (Snohomish County)

Maltby-area zoning. The purple and blue areas are industrial. Green areas are residential. (Snohomish County)

County moves to address the Maltby area’s crazy-quilt zoning

There will be a committee and a study for an area where residential and commercial worlds collide.

MALTBY — Home and business owners in this poorly zoned part of south Snohomish County might learn to coexist a little better by opening up new channels of communication.

That’s the thinking behind a new committee that county leaders announced Monday.

“This is about bringing people together and having some meaningful dialogue about the Maltby area,” said County Councilman Sam Low, whose district takes in the patch of south county around highways 9 and 522. “They’re just struggling with industrial and residential (zones) right next to each other. I think this will help people have a say in their community and to work with some businesses to find some common ground. I think that’s what we need most of all is some common ground, because neither one of them is going away.”

The announcement about the seven-person committee, in a joint statement with Executive Dave Somers, came the same day the council met for a special evening meeting in Maltby.

Zoning in Maltby’s industrial areas is a legacy of poor planning from decades ago. As demand for housing and industrial property has grown, limited buffers and abrupt transitions between neighborhoods and business zones have made for awkward living and working arrangements.

The Maltby Area Advisory Board, as the new ad hoc group has been dubbed, will provide advice on development and planning.

The efforts will tie into a study set to stretch over much of this year to better plan for growth in the county’s southwest urban growth area, which also includes rapidly changing unincorporated areas around Bothell and Mill Creek.

“We have heard the concerns of our neighbors from Maltby and want to ensure we establish structures to give them an appropriate voice in the development of their community,” Somers said in a statement. “Since Snohomish County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state, we need to ensure we are listening to our local communities.”

The board will include three people who live in Maltby and three people from the local business community. Jim Langston, the chairman of the county Planning Commission, also has been designated as the chairman of the new committee. The executive will have the authority to appoint board members to two-year terms.

County leaders also announced Monday that they intend to avoid changing any land-use standards for Maltby’s commercial and industrial zones, for now at least. Planning staff have been discussing ways to tweak rules governing building heights, setbacks and landscape perimeters, among others.

Last year, the County Council altered a different set of land-use standards for commercial and industrial zones. That included late-night and early-morning noise restrictions for businesses that handle construction waste.

Noah Haglund: nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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