Local News

City's appeal of Snohomish County Comp Plan to be heard Jan. 16

Grace and Maltby 'Urban Reserve' designation challenged

comp plan by Jeff Switzer
Since last fall, Woodinville city staff have been working to protect the potential annexation of Grace, as it could be effectively blocked by the "Urban Reserve" designation in Snohomish County's Comprehensive Plan.
   The hearing regarding the appeal is scheduled for Jan. 16, when Snohomish County is expected to concede portions of Woodinville's argument.
   On the one hand, the county may be required to change its language regarding the area, though it may declare it rural, preventing Woodinville's annexation plans.
   Snohomish County may also declare the area urban, which would not result in the annexation of Grace, as annexation is a separate process requiring the city council to adopt or accept an application for annexation.
   The appeal requested a review of the adopted Snohomish County Comprehensive Plan General Policy Plan and adopted urban growth area boundaries.
   The appeal challenged:

   The General Policy Plan is designed to identify land-use goals, identify UGAs, and guide the county's land-use decisions for the next 20 years. Under the General Policy Plan, the area north of Woodinville in Snohomish county known as the Maltby Industrial Area, which includes the Grace Urban Area, is given a new designation of "Urban Reserve." The plan also creates and applies the designation "Maltby Employment Area" to this area.
   According to city staff, neither of these designations is defined by the GMA, and as applied by the county to the Maltby Industrial Area, they are contrary to the GMA's prohibitions against urban development and urban levels of public services in rural areas. In addition, the Revised Code of Washington states that any designation other than urban prevents a city from annexing that area.
   In the past, the City of Woodinville has attempted to work with Snohomish County towards including the Maltby Industrial Area and the Grace Urban Area within the county's UGA boundaries, pointing out that Grace is an urban area as defined by the GMA, has physical, social, and commercial ties to Woodinville, and that Snohomish County's urban growth area boundary should logically include the Grace area.
   The Grace urban area comprises approximately 490 acres located generally along SR-9 and SR-522, some of which is zoned for and developed with industrial uses. It also includes the Wellington Hills Golf Course.
   City staff will continue its dialogue with the county planning staff, Planning Commission, and County Council in the hope of persuading the county to revise its UGA boundaries in June 1996, the earliest allowed under the GMA.