In 2014 Snohomish Mayor John Kartak along with a cousin and Snohomish City Council member Larry Countryman, also a relative, purchased a building at 618 Maple Avenue. Countryman purchased the 614 Maple building by himself.
At the Sept. 21 council meeting the mayor admitted the 614 building at the time of purchase contained two unpermitted apartments. Councilman Countryman took out a construction permit for a duplex. The city specifically advised Countryman in a formal written letter dated Dec. 19, 2014 that the lot size was too small for a legal duplex. The letter recommended Countryman complete a boundary line adjustment (BLA) to meet minimum lot size for a duplex.
The letter specifically warned Countryman that under Municipal Code, “The BLA must be completed before any occupancy of the building will be allowed.”
After citizens’ lengthy research, Countryman finally recorded the BLA this August. Yet, for years, he personally occupied duplex unit B, rented out unit A, and operated a 5-car storage garage business he labeled “Apt. C,” now recently changed to “Suite C.”
It appears to me, the Planning Department — to protect Countryman and Kartak from the penalty provisions of city code and to protect its own reputation — is trying to whitewash the violations.
This July, the director and code enforcer visited 618 Maple Avenue and reported no apartment residence there, but found four businesses operating. When a citizen asked for the four city business license numbers, the planning director in an email on Sept. 27 recanted and said he was wrong, there’s “one business, not four, at 618 Maple Ave.”
On Sept. 1, the building inspector reported Countryman doesn’t operate a garage business at 614 C Maple Ave, contradicting Countryman’s own admissions during the Aug. 17 council meeting. (The audio is posted in the City’s Agenda Center).
David L. Clay