Lake Stevens’ growing pains


Herald Writer

LAKE STEVENS — About 200 people packed a public hearing Monday on another proposed new plan for the city’s urban growth area.

And most who spoke said the plan still is not good enough.

They said it does not adequately address needs for more roads, parks and schools, and slower growth. And a long-debated proposal for a new commercial center on Cavalero Hill received few words of praise.

However some said parts of it were an improvement over past proposals.

The newest comprehensive plan is for a 10-square-acre area around the city known as its urban growth area. It is designated as the area where the city’s population may expand by 2012.

It is the latest product of five years of planning by the county and residents.

The newest plan calls for, among other things, a slightly smaller urban growth area, a small commercial center on Cavalero Hill, and an innovative planning system, called development phasing overlay, that limits growth to areas that have the infrastructure to handle development.

Testimony was taken on the overall plan and then on the overlay proposal.

The most often mentioned concern was that the area already lacks adequate facilities, particularly roads, to deal with the growth its seen in recent years.

Steve Cottle said it already takes him 35 minutes to get from his home to I-5, a trip of only a few miles.

Residents of the Cavalero Hill area, who said traffic already backs up daily on their main drag for miles at rush hour, were particularly concerned about how proposed increased densities in their area might worsen congestion. And many expressed concerns about traffic if the proposed commercial center were to be built.

Another common concern was parking. The plan allots 2.7 acres of public-use land per 1,000 residents, which is what the area presently has.

"We go to local schools to walk in the evenings," Andrea Taylor said. "We don’t have sidewalks, safe roads for adults.

"I can’t imagine where I would have my kids play if we had youngsters," she said.

Kristin Kelly, representing Cavalero Residents for Responsible Growth, said they have several concerns about the proposed commercial center. She said members of her group favor further developing Frontier Village as a commercial center instead.

Of the few people who did address the development phasing overlay, about half supported it. The overlay would be the first of its kind in the county.

The idea is that the planning department has designated areas with sufficient infrastructure for growth as green zones, meaning development can continue. These are at Frontier Village, within city limits, and around the Tom Thumb area.

Most of the rest of the urban growth area would be designated red zones, meaning growth can’t happen until the infrastructure can be brought up to snuff. This could be done by developers or by taxes collected from local or road improvement districts.

"It’s only fair to say to developers pay your fair share," Taylor said.

Other speakers worried that such districts would only increase what they see as already hefty property taxes.

Several people said the system would throw up so many barriers that development would be discouraged and, in effect, it would lead to a growth moratorium.

Bill Binford, who owns property within the proposed commercial center on Cavalero Hill, said, "This is an economic train wreck."

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cat killed, 9 people displaced after duplex fire in Everett

None of the people were injured in the fire reported around 1:15 a.m. in the 11500 block of Meridian Avenue S.

Brian Henrichs, left, and Emily Howe, right, begin sifting out the bugs from their bug trap along Port Susan on Monday, May 22, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘A delta for the future’: Scientists try to save salmon at Stilly’s mouth

The Stillaguamish River’s south fork once supported 20,000 salmon. In 2019, fewer than 500 fish returned to spawn.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

A few weeks before what could be her final professional UFC fight, Miranda Granger grimaces as she pushes a 45-pound plate up her driveway on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Her daughter Austin, age 11 months, is strapped to her back. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Daily Herald staff wins 5 honors at annual journalism competition

The Herald got one first-place win and four runner-up spots in SPJ’s Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

Panelists from different areas of mental health care speak at the Herald Forum about mental health care on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At panel, mental health experts brainstorm answers to staff shortages

Workforce shortages, insurance coverage and crisis response were in focus at the Snohomish forum hosted by The Daily Herald.

Kamiak High School is pictured Friday, July 8, 2022, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kamiak football coach fired amid sexual misconduct investigation

Police believe Julian Willis, 34, sexually abused the student in portable classrooms on Kamiak High School’s campus.

Compass Health’s building on Broadway in Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Compass class teaches first aid — for mental health

A one-day course hosted in Snohomish County is designed to triage behavioral health challenges: “This gave me many more tools.”

The Wilderness Land Trust transferred a 354-acre property straddling the Wild Sky and Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Areas to public ownership, adding it to the designated wilderness areas. (The Wilderness Land Trust)
Wild Sky Wilderness grows 345 acres, as transfer chips at private land

The Wilderness Land Trust announced it had completed a transfer near Silvertip Peak to the U.S. Forest Service.

Most Read