An artist’s rendering of housing with ground-floor businesses in the proposed 51st Avenue Urban Village project on 20 acres south of Arlington Municipal Airport, and within the Cascade Industrial Center.

An artist’s rendering of housing with ground-floor businesses in the proposed 51st Avenue Urban Village project on 20 acres south of Arlington Municipal Airport, and within the Cascade Industrial Center.

Marysville sues Arlington over plan for 500 apartments

Marysville worries the major project on 51st Avenue NE will gum up traffic at a nearby intersection.

ARLINGTON — The adjoining cities of Marysville and Arlington are tangled in a legal battle over a new 500-unit housing project in north Snohomish County.

A Skagit County developer hopes to break ground this summer on the residential and commercial project along what is now a rural Arlington road, with about 30 buildings on 20 acres at 16612 51st Ave. NE.

It’s called the 51st Avenue Urban Village.

The City of Marysville sued over concerns the development could negatively affect traffic at a nearby intersection.

In the court case, City of Marysville v. City of Arlington et al, a deputy city attorney for Marysville argued the new project will snarl traffic at the intersection of 152nd Street NE and 51st Avenue NE, near the Strawberry Fields Athletic Complex.

Because of that, Marysville had asked Arlington to either find a way to improve the intersection or to pay $414,075 for renovations. When the northern city refused, Marysville filed a lawsuit against Arlington and the company that has applied to build the development, Arlington 51st Street LLC.

Attorneys for Arlington argue the city has no inter-local agreement with Marysville, so it doesn’t owe anything. Arlington had already considered Marysville’s future plans to renovate the intersection when making decisions about construction.

“The Applicant did not consider or address impacts the Proposed Development would have to the Marysville Intersection, and instead assumed without evidence that the Marysville Intersection would be improved by other means,” the Marysville attorney alleges in documents filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.

The company had offered to pay a smaller amount than the figure requested by Marysville.

The site at 16612 51st Ave. NE, where a developer hopes to build about 30 buildings with around 500 apartment units. (Stephanie Davey / The Herald)

The site at 16612 51st Ave. NE, where a developer hopes to build about 30 buildings with around 500 apartment units. (Stephanie Davey / The Herald)

“Although the Applicant was not required to pay traffic mitigation fees to Marysville in the absence of an interlocal agreement between it and the City (Arlington), the Applicant would pay Marysville $67,625 for intersection improvements in the interest of moving the project forward, believing this amount to represent its ‘share’ of impacts to this extra-jurisdictional intersection,” court papers say.

Marysville responded the same day, asking instead for $83,862 and 12 cents.

Then, Arlington said the company didn’t have to pay anything.

“The Applicant subsequently stopped communicating with Marysville regarding the voluntary payment for intersection improvements,” the lawsuit says.

The developer began applying for permits in 2019.

For now, the land is a grassy field with a gravel driveway, an empty white single-story house and smaller buildings around it. Those would be torn down. The land was once used for farming, court papers say.

Neighbors include a chicken and egg farm to the north, and an automobile auction business and storage yard to the east. Land to the south and west is vacant. Those areas and the proposed development are all zoned for “general commercial.”

Arlington Municipal Airport is less than a mile north.

Plans for the complex include about 30 buildings to serve as multi-family housing, commercial space and a mix of the two, along with a few outdoor courtyards. In all, there would be about 500 apartment units and 744 parking spaces.

The tallest building would be four stories, or about 50 feet tall. Lights would be down-shielded to lessen light pollution.

It’s located in the Cascade Industrial Center. Proponents point out this would be the first mixed-use development in the area and that it would provide housing with access to public transit, restaurants and a grocery store.

The industrial center is a growing hub split between the two cities, with 57% of the land in Arlington and 43% in Marysville.

A map of the proposed 51st Avenue Urban Village.

A map of the proposed 51st Avenue Urban Village.

If the developer’s plan moves forward, 51st Avenue NE would be upgraded during construction of the proposed project, and two other roads would be built around the property.

Late last year, Marysville shared concerns about traffic at the nearby intersection with 152nd Street NE.

In June, the Marysville City Council approved a transportation improvement plan that addresses the intersection. It shows a third lane would be added to 152nd Street NE, as well as a traffic light and sidewalks. That work is expected to begin in four to six years.

The developer was aware of those long-term plans and took them into consideration when planning the proposed development.

In the meantime, hearing Examiner Andrew Reeves held an open meeting May 6, at which people were allowed to testify.

Besides the city of Marysville, one neighbor, who runs the egg farm, shared concerns. He worried there may not be enough of a shield between the proposed complex and the business. Arlington’s director of community and economic development, Marc Hayes, said trees would be planted as a buffer.

Another neighbor, who owns 20 acres, said she had no concerns with the project, court records show.

Reeves approved permits for construction. Marysville requested the Arlington hearing examiner to reconsider because the proposed project would cause environmental impacts and increased traffic.

“It is a truism that increased congestion impacts public health and safety,” the hearing examiner wrote in response. “Marysville has failed to explain, however, how this particular proposal will cause impacts to public health and safety that are significant enough to warrant reconsideration of the Hearing Examiner’s decision under SEPA, the municipal code, or established caselaw.”

The request to reconsider was denied.

Marysville filed the lawsuit July 17.

An initial court hearing is set for Aug. 25.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The sign at Swedish Edmonds. (Herald file)
New deal gives Swedish nurses, health care workers a big boost in pay

The health care provider and SEIU 1199NW agreed to raises totaling at least 21.5% in the next three years

Ahadi family arriving in Washington on Oct. 22, 2021. (photo courtesy of Lutheran Community Services Northwest)
A year later, Afghan refugees in Lynnwood see brighter future ahead

Ziaurahman Ahadi served as a trauma medic on battlefields in Afghanistan. Now he builds fireplaces to support a family of eight.

Lynnwood
4th defendant pleads guilty in white supremacist attack

Jason Stanley, of Boise, Idaho is one of four men prosecuted for attacking a Black DJ in Lynnwood.

A business on Highway 99 sustained heavy damage in a fire Wednesday morning north of Lynnwood. (South County Fire)
Arson damages building on Highway 99 north of Lynnwood

The fire in the 15800 block caused the highway to close between 156th and 164th streets SW on Wednesday morning.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Snohomish man suffers life-threatening injuries in police shootout

The Valley Independent Investigative Team reported state troopers returned fire when a driver shot at them near Clearview.

An EA-18G Growler taxis down the airstrip on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island during the squadron’s welcome home ceremony in August 2017. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Wood/U.S. Navy)
Talks break down over ‘remedy’ in Whidbey Island Growler lawsuit

“From the get-go, everyone recognized that it was probably going to end up in the court’s hands.”

Logo for news use featuring Camano Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Island County settles sexual harassment lawsuit with deputy

The county will pay Deputy Mike Adrian a total of $105,000.

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney in a video decries an erosion of public safety and increase in brazen criminal behavior. (Screenshot)
Snohomish County sheriff, chorus of local leaders decry policing reforms

Criminals are getting more brazen, they said. In a video, they called for easing vehicle pursuit rules and stiffening drug laws.

Attorney Michael Andrews, left, and Kyle Brown listen to the judge's address Wednesday afternoon at the Snohomish County Superior Courthouse in Everett, Washington on September 21, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Marysville ex-youth minister gets community service for sexual assault

Kyle Brown, of Marysville, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault with a sexual motivation last month. In 2019, he was charged with molestation.

Most Read