STANWOOD — Like many cities in Snohomish County, Stanwood is feeling the impacts of a growing region. With four positions on the City Council up for election Nov. 5, candidates are prioritizing preserving Stanwood’s small-town charm and making sure residents’ voices are heard by elected officials.
City council members serve four-year terms.
Councilmember Larry Sather is up against Stanwood Planning Commission vice chairman Steve Shepro for Position 5 on the council. Both candidates have ideas on how Stanwood can prepare for the growth coming its way.
Stanwood’s population exceeds 7,000 people, and has grown by nearly 13% since 2010, according to state estimates.
With a background in urban planning, Shepro said he wants to focus on improving traffic flow and pedestrian safety while attracting businesses to the city.
“I think we have to be a little careful on where we locate new home construction,” he said. “I’m focusing more on transit corridors for home locations. Right now, overwhelmingly, the growth in Stanwood is happening in urban fringes.”
Shepro said he would address this by encouraging the council to look into development code and land-use policies. He also suggested the city should post larger signage on potential land-use changes so residents feel like they know what’s going on.
Shepro highlighted maintaining Stanwood’s character as a priority.
“I really have devoted enormous amounts of energy into making Stanwood a better place,” he said.
Sather said he’s hoping to continue some of the work the council has been doing, such as contracting with the sheriff’s office for police services.
As Stanwood develops, Sather said he would prioritize getting important structures like City Hall and the police station out of the flood plain.
“It’s really important those structures be built above the flood plain,” he said.
Sather said he’d like to look into increasing Stanwood’s walkability by building more sidewalks in town. But the city would have to find funding for that, he said.
In his seven years on the council, Sather said he believes he’s done a good job listening to city residents.
“I’ve listened to what they have to say and voted my conscience on issues both controversial or not,” he said.
Shepro would like to see more engagement from City Hall.
“City leaders really need to respond to letters, voice mails, emails,” he said. “That has not been happening.”
Sid Roberts, a former Lynnwood City Council and Stanwood Planning Commission member, is vying for Position 6 on the council against planning commissioner and Realtor Marcus Metz.
For Metz, running for council is another way to give back. He volunteers with myriad groups, including the YMCA, Stanwood Senior Center and the Community Resource Center.
“I am a loyal, native Stanwoodian,” Metz said. “The community’s priorities are my priorities. I’ve lived many places in Stanwood, worked many places in Stanwood and I do business in many places in Stanwood. Stanwood is my family.”
If elected, Metz said he wants to build a better connection between residents and City Hall.
“People feel like they’re disconnected from government,” he said.
Metz also highlighted creating a better line of communication between Stanwood and Camano as a priority.
Like other candidates, Metz values Stanwood’s small-town feel and wants to see it maintained. He would also like to promote investment in the city’s parks.
Roberts has a professional background in real estate. His public service experience includes the Community Transit board of directors, the Snohomish County Board of Health and the Snohomish County Public Health Advisory Council.
Roberts has spent time in Snohomish County, living in Stanwood for a decade in the ’90s and again since 2017. He was elected to the Lynnwood City Council in 2011.
“I know it’s different here, but I think I can add value and help,” he said.
If elected, Roberts said he’d like to see the council doing more to engage citizens and encourage public input at meetings.
Roberts also called for a park to be built in east Stanwood.
“Most city parks are down in the flood plain,” he said.
In response to the growth headed Stanwood’s way, Roberts said he would advocate for a balance between “the right to build or buy housing and the right to have some maintenance of the town you grew up in and love.”
Elizabeth Callaghan is running unopposed. She has served on the council from 2012 to 2013 and again from 2016 to 2019.
She has served on the Public Safety and Community Development committees and has said she is passionate about strategic growth that preserves what people love most about Stanwood.
Timothy Pearce is running unopposed. He served on the council from 2009 to 2013 and again from 2016 to the present.
He also has served on the Planning Commission.
In a statement prepared for the voter’s pamphlet, Pearce said his roots in Stanwood trace back to 1909. He said he’s dedicated to preserving Stanwood’s character while working to stimulate the economy.
Ballots must be postmarked or deposited in a designated ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on election day, Nov. 5. There’s a ballot drop-box near the Stanwood Library at 9701 271st St. NW.
Meet the Candidates — Stanwood City Council
Name: Lawrence (Larry) A. Sather
Experience: Served seven years in Position 5, Stanwood City Council
Name: Steve Shepro
Experience: Vice chair of the Stanwood Planning Commission and member of Stanwood Parks & Trails Committee
Name: Sid Roberts
Experience: Real estate broker in Snohomish County since 1984; elected to the Lynnwood City Council in 2011 and served a term before moving back to Stanwood.
Name: Marcus Metz
Experience: Serving second year on the Planning Commission
Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.