County not treating property owners fairly in negotiations

I’m writing to bring awareness to a Snohomish County road project, and how some are being threatened by Snohomish County Public Works to take us through the eminent domain process.

The project would remove the dead end at 43rd Avenue SE and 188th St SE, widen the road and open it up into an urban arterial that will act as a thoroughfare for commuters from 156th to Maltby Road. Most people will probably love this idea as it will create a much needed alternate route to the highway. For the people who live on the aurally zoned portion of 43rd, it’s a nightmare.

For decades we have lived on our quiet rural dead end road. Since 2005, when the county last changed the SW Urban Growth Area (SWUGA) boundary, our neighborhood has been surrounded by urban growth in the form of over 300 new homes and the North Creek High School with all the blinding field lights and noise from school activities and games that go on until the late hours of the evening.

Public Works is claiming that the new road will turn from an urban arterial into a rural arterial once it crosses the border at 188th. What this means is that the county plans to build part of the new road to urban arterial standards and part to rural arterial standards and somehow join them up at the SWUGA boundary. No one is able to explain how this is actually going to work.

About a year ago some of the residents of 43rd Ave SE began receiving offers for the land the county needs for the project. These offers are less than a third of the value of our land and the county refuses to show us how they came to these valuations. The county also demand that we pay for our own lawyers and appraisals and prove to them how we are coming up with our counter offers. This month they are threatening me and some of my neighbors with eminent domain while others have yet to receive their first offer.

This project is a disaster and Snohomish County Public Works policies are putting immense strain on me and my neighbors. We are asking for a fair valuation and compensation for our lawyers and appraisals as was awarded to the Sound Transit acquisitions in Snohomish County.

The tax-paying citizens of Snohomish County will, most likely, foot the bill for multiple eminent domain cases and the project will be delayed yet another year or more. Is this really how tax-paying citizens of Snohomish County should be treated?

Marta Baldwin


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