Construction rules will give Maltby residents quieter nights

EVERETT — The Snohomish County Council took action Wednesday to restrict operations by companies that handle construction waste and have drawn numerous complaints from Maltby homeowners.

The changes were part of a wider effort to revamp rules for the unincorporated county’s commercial and industrial areas. They passed on a 4-1 vote.

One of the new regulations that drew the most attention was to prohibit major operations between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. for businesses that handle construction waste. That applies if they border a residential area. Any new businesses of that sort also will be required to leave a 50-foot-wide landscaping buffer wherever they abut a residential zone. A portion of heavy industrial area in Maltby also will have the same buffer requirement.

Homeowners were pleased with the outcome, even if they didn’t get everything they wanted.

“It will close loopholes in the current code that these businesses take advantage of,” said Bill Carberry, from the Highland Park Estates neighborhood in Maltby.

Carberry has lived in the community near Kokanee Elementary School for more than 30 years. He said the problem is not with most businesses, only with “a few bad actors,” and that things started getting worse about five years ago.

Other locals testified about being woken up at all hours of the night and on weekends by heavy equipment and truck traffic.

The dozens of code changes approved at Wednesday’s hearing included allowing antique shops in a business zone where they weren’t allowed before, reducing parking requirements for some facilities, including libraries, and removing single-family houses as a use in some commercial zones. Auto repair is now allowed in rural industrial zones.

Only Councilman Nate Nehring, of Stanwood, voted against the changes, saying they would put an extra burden on business.

The council denied a request from attorneys for some Maltby-area businesses who asked to continue the hearing until March 29 to provide more time to prepare.

The changes have been under consideration by the council for a year. The hearing was continued five times prior to Wednesday.

The two largest industrial areas in unincorporated Snohomish County are in Maltby and around Paine Field.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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