Community association ensures Clearview area gets noticed by politicians

CLEARVIEW — Residents of this one-mile stretch along Highway 9 south of Snohomish a few years ago formed a community association to get their concerns in front of lawmakers. Now they’re seeing some success in getting their political issues on the table.

They’ll have the ear of seven state legislators and Snohomish County leaders at a town hall scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Clearview Community Center, 17826 Highway 9 SE.

State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, state Reps. Luis Moscoso and Derek Stanford, County Councilmen Terry Ryan and Dave Somers, County Executive John Lovick and Sheriff Ty Trenary have agreed to take part in the discussion.

In the year he’s been working with people from Clearview, Ryan said, he’s seen them get involved in the political process and make progress on issues.

“They’re good people, they care deeply about their community and they want to improve it,” he said.

People in Clearview started meeting in 2013. They decided to form a nonprofit, the Clearview Community Association, in 2014.

The group elected officers to represent it as an unofficial town council. The five members now hold public meetings at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.

“It’s a very contentious little community because we’re being moved in on,” said Karmel Ackerman of the Clearview Community Association.

Many of the struggles come from urban development moving into the rural area, combining commercial businesses with the residential neighborhood, she said.

Among the issues the association wants to take on are crime, public safety, marijuana shops and bikini barista stands, speeding on Highway 9 and county zoning issues that affect businesses.

The goal is to maintain Clearview’s rural character while allowing for some urban conveniences, such as restaurants and event spaces, said Ackerman, a retired marketer.

“We know we need to get a better face on Clearview before we’re overrun,” she said.

To further that goal, the association has posted signs around town, identifying the area as Clearview and published a map of town. The group also has a website and a Facebook page.

Because a number of people were worried about illegal activity, a resident started a Clearview crime watch on Facebook.

Many people from Clearview brought their concerns to lawmakers, including those about a number of marijuana businesses being allowed on Highway 9. The County Council in May took action to prohibit future medical marijuana dispensaries or growing collectives from concentrating in the Clearview area.

The ban also applies to new recreational marijuana businesses in so-called R-5 zones, rural areas where the county typically allows only one house per five acres. Many Clearview residents live in the R-5 zone.

The group has also taken a stand against bikini baristas on Highway 9 but it has made little progress on that front.

“I literally drive around the block so my child doesn’t have to see it,” Ackerman said.

The association wants the county to consider bikini barista stands as adult entertainment instead of coffee businesses.

Clearview Community Association President Jeff Thomas said he expects zoning changes that would affect business and neighbors, more police patrols and reducing the speed limit to no more than 45 miles per hour along Highway 9 through the area to be among the concerns brought up at Wednesday’s meeting.

“It’s amazing how effective you can be when people know how to work the system,” he said.

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

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