by Jeff Switzer
As ordered by the Growth Management Hearings Board, Snohomish County has amended its comprehensive plan in a number of areas, in the process designating the Grace and Maltby Employment area north of Woodinville as urban growth areas.
The county's actions have been forwarded to the Hearings Board to see if they comply with the remand order earlier this year. If validated, the City of Woodinville is one step closer to being able to annex the industrial area adjacent to the city limits.
"We're very pleased, and we feel that's the correct designation for that area," said Stephanie Cleveland, planner with the City of Woodinville. "It now brings consistency between our comprehensive plans."
Cleveland, who was project planner for the comp plan, said the issue of the Wellington Hills site will "require some more discussion, as the comprehensive plan shows it as urban."
Visibly absent from the amendments was the University of Washington-owned Wellington Hills Golf Course site, which retained its rural designation in spite of requests by the university and Woodinville to redesignate it as urban growth.
The Snohomish County Council also recently adopted an ordinance which requires an annexation interlocal agreement prior to Woodinville's accepting any annexation petitions.
The policy applies only to annexations across county lines and to a "city or special district situated predominantly outside of Snohomish County." Woodinville testified that the policy may not stand up to a court challenge.
As for the Wellington Hills Golf Course site owned by the UW, it was downzoned to one unit per five acres and designated rural residential (R-5), allowing higher density through rural lot clustering. An educational institution would be allowed as a conditional use.
Snohomish County also designated Rural/Urban transition areas adjacent to the urban growth areas (UGAs), intended to reserve a supply of land for future incorporation into the UGA by encouraging the use of rural cluster subdivisions and future redevelopment of open-space tracts created by such subdivisions.
The Wellington Hills site is included in the Rural/Urban Transition Area, a designation similar to the term "urban reserve" remanded to the county by the Hearings Board.