Shoreline eyes a piece of Snohomish Co.


Herald Writer

SHORELINE – When Snohomish County officials went to the planning table to decide municipal growth boundaries, they left somebody out.

At least that’s the position of the city of Shoreline, which has half an eye on a 100-acre parcel immediately across the King-Snohomish County line and next to Woodway.

Shoreline has filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court asking for an order allowing the King County city to join the Snohomish County planning party.

A companion action also has been filed with the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board.

At issue is a policy established by the group Snohomish County Tomorrow, which in April adopted a policy excluding cities outside the county from carving out parts of county territory for future municipal growth, according to the suit.

Shoreline said that’s wrong under the state Growth Management Act.

Snohomish County Tomorrow is made up of elected officials from Snohomish County, its cities and towns and Tulalip tribes. It has an advisory role to the Snohomish County Council.

"We filed the suit to clarify the legal status of the decision by Snohomish County Tomorrow," Shoreline City Manager Bob Deis said. "We want to make sure we protect our legal options in this entire process."

Of concern is the unincorporated section known as Point Wells, a Chevron oil distribution point and marine terminal. There are only a handful of residences in the 100 acres, Deis said.

Shoreline Mayor Scott Jepsen is willing to talk to Snohomish County officials about the matter, possibly staving off a court fight, Deis said.

Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel had no comment about the lawsuit. But he said he is quite willing to sit down with Jepsen.

"There’s always room to meet," Drewel said. "We aren’t going to discuss the issues of the case, but at least I will honor his request for a meeting."

Although physically located in Snohomish County, the affected property has close ties to the Shoreline area, Deis said.

"Everybody who has driven down there has agreed that this is a unique circumstance and Shoreline has a vested interest in influencing what goes on the site," Deis said.

There’s only one road to the area, and it passes through Shoreline.

Shoreline hasn’t indicated it wants to annex Point Wells, only that there’s a possibility of that in the future.

"What happens on that piece of property impacts Shoreline immensely more so than any other jurisdiction," Deis said.

Point Wells is still under consideration as the site of a north King County sewage treatment plant. But more likely, the treatment plant would be located elsewhere, and Point Wells would be the place where treated effluent is piped for release into Puget Sound.

The Shoreline City Council has gone on record saying the sewer outfall idea would be OK if the city is compensated for the construction.

No trial date has been set in the lawsuit.

You can call Herald Writer Jim Haley at 425-339-3447 or send e-mail to

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