Lake Stevens needs more commercial base for a solid futureCitizens are asked to speak up and be heard BY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR For the City of Lake Stevens, bringing in more commercial land and future business is the key to keeping the City fiscally sound in a future that shows Lake Stevens ranking third in households and only 15th in jobs to households by 2025, according to a 2007 Snohomish County buildable lands report.
The Highway 9 corridor, especially where Highways 9 and 2 meet, can be the answer to the City’s problem as far as bringing more commercial, thus more sales tax and family wage jobs, to the expanding city.
To maintain a well-balanced city, 50 percent of the tax revenue should come from property tax while the other 50 percent should come from sales tax (or commercial business).
Currently, the City of Snohomish is asking for a 370 plus acre piece of land in this Rural Urban Transition Area or RUTA, which has been in the City of Lake Stevens’ Comprehensive Plan since 1994. The piece of land they are asking the county for sits right next to Highway 2 and along Highway 9, which includes a huge chunk of commercial land, leaving behind a greater amount of acreage which is mostly residential or environmentally protected.
If Lake Stevens loses that piece of land it will mean that in order for the City to take on the rest of the Urban Growth Area (UGA) it will incur a one million dollar loss in revenue each year, an expense the City is not willing or able to handle.
On June 9, the Snohomish County Council will hold a public hearing wherein the City of Lake Stevens is asking the County to remove both the Lake Stevens’ docket item LS1 and City of Sno
homish proposal SNO1, from the docket list and instead joint plan the entire RUTA with Lake Stevens, Snohomish City and the County in order to create greater economic benefits rather than piecemeal development.
Jan Berg, Lake Stevens City Administrator explains that the docket process isn’t the appropriate way to solve the issue with the RUTA.
“The docket process is mainly used for small proposals,” she said.
Berg, along with other City Staff, is asking the citizens of Lake Stevens to get involved with the public hearing process and let the County know that they too would like to see the area planned jointly with the County and City of Snohomish.
Joint planning can mean the difference between residents being able to work in Lake Stevens or leave the Lake Stevens area each day creating more traffic on the trestle, less sales tax dollars being spent in Lake Stevens and taking with it the opportunity for the City of Lake Stevens to adequately grow and prosper.
“We are currently exporters of sales tax dollars and cars,” Berg said. “For the last two years, the City has asked the County to plan the UGA together. We’re trying to make our commercial and residential areas viable. There is only so much vacant or redevelopable land remaining to create commercial property, it’s a finite amount.”
If you would like to attend or speak at the public hearings they will be held on Monday, June 9 at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Snohomish County Building in Everett. Emails can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is your opportunity to tell the County not to place either of the dockets on the final list until they plan the entire area, preferably together with both cities and the County.