Proposal would allow 18-story buildings in parts of south county

EVERETT — Buildings up to 18 stories could rise in dense, urban pockets throughout south Snohomish County with preliminary rules the County Council is scheduled to approve next month.

The new rules move the county closer to defining the future development of seven areas zoned as urban centers, including the Point Wells property near Woodway. Representatives of the property’s owners remained cautiously optimistic the rules would allow them to pursue building up to 3,500 condo units and shops on the current site of a petroleum-storage facility. The project would unfold over 15 to 20 years.

Woodway Mayor Carla Nichols said she thought a multi-layered approval process would give her town, and other neighbors, a say on projects.

“Initially, we’re feeling like the cities’ involvement is being recognized by the county,” Nichols said.

County councilmen tentatively approved the rules at a hearing Wednesday. A final vote is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. May 5.

There are six other urban centers in addition to Point Wells: Highway 99 at the Mukilteo Speedway; Highway 99 at 152nd Street SW; I-5 at 164th Street SW; I-5 at 128th Street SW; 44th Avenue W. near the Mountlake Terrace-Lynnwood city line; and the Bothell-Everett Highway at Maltby Road.

A maximum 180-foot height limit would allow for buildings in the urban centers that are slightly taller than any existing building in downtown Everett. Environmental studies and restrictions on buildings close to the edge of the centers would likely limit many buildings below the maximum.

Another key decision Wednesday was a requirement that mass transit routes be within a half-mile of each urban center development, instead of a quarter-mile.

Councilmen also outlined a process to give neighboring cities or towns input on urban centers they could one day annex. The municipalities would not have veto power.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465,

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