Lake Stevens growth targeted


Herald Writer

LAKE STEVENS — Snohomish County is proposing a new plan for handling growth around Lake Stevens.

The newest urban growth area recommendation, which will be open to public discussion Monday, is just the latest in a decadelong effort to plan for population growth in the area.

The county council approved a general plan for the area in 1995. Since then, efforts have focused on developing a more detailed plan.

The county planning commission came up with six possible plans, which it presented to the county council last year. In response, County Executive Bob Drewel asked county planning staff to come up with this most recent plan, which combines ideas from the six alternatives.

Changes in the newly proposed plan include a smaller urban growth area, a relatively small commercial center in the Cavalero Hill area, and, perhaps the most innovative idea, a system called development phasing overlay that would limit growth in areas that don’t have adequate public services to support it.

The recommended plan would move part of the western boundary of the urban growth area farther east, removing parts of the Sunnyside neighborhood from the growth area. This is largely due to environmental concerns that make it unlikely Sunnyside will ever reach urban densities, according to the recommended plan.

The proposed neighborhood-scale commercial center in the Cavalero Hill neighborhood would be up to 25 acres, said Kamuron Gurol, interim planning manager with Snohomish County Planning and Development Services.

"It would be one of the smaller centers we have" in the county, Gurol said.

The other part of the plan, development phasing overlays, is useful in situations like Lake Stevens’, where there’s not enough money available to develop all the public services a land-use plan requires, Gurol said.

In short, the overlay allows growth to occur in areas that have adequate infrastructure to support such growth. In turn, growth is limited in areas without adequate infrastructure until adequate services can be developed.

New commercial development would be directed to those areas that already are most developed: Frontier Village, the city of Lake Stevens and the Tom Thumb area, as well as the newly proposed commercial center on Cavalero Hill.

For growth to occur in the limited-growth zones, services must first be brought up to snuff. Those services would be paid for by developers or through the formation of local improvement or road improvement districts among the residents of that area.

Gurol described it as a "pay as you grow" system.

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