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AUGUST 18, 1997

Local News

Growth concerns pushing Maltby/Clearview to attempt incorporation

  But will it get that far?
   by Andrew Walgamott, Staff Reporter
   MALTBY--A move is afoot to incorporate a large section of southern Snohomish County, including Maltby, Clearview, and, pause, Grace, the industrial center expected to join the city of Woodinville soon.
   Supporters of cityhood for the approximately 12-square mile area have submitted a notice of intent to incorporate with the county. John Posthema, owner of Flower World in Maltby and incorporation backer, said the move was "an effort to manage growth in a responsible manner."
   "Now's the time to do it," instead of five or ten years in the future, he said. Boundaries of the proposed city extend roughly from the King/Snohomish County Line a mile west and east of Grace, north along State Route 9 to the Berry Bowl Restaurant north of Clearview, from the crest of 228th St. S.E. above Canyon Park to well east of the intersection of Paradise Lake Road and State Route 522.
   An estimated 8,000 residents live within the area.
   Support from County
   County officials support the move to cityhood, still in its infancy. "I would support their legal right to form a city," County Councilman R.C. Swede Johnson said. He represents Maltby, Monroe, Clearview and Snohomish. He did express concerns over size of the city and ability to provide police protection, though.
   Johnson said Snohomish County was expected to grow by 225,000 citizens between 1990 and 2012, the equivalent of three Everetts or 21 Marysvilles in his estimation.
   "Why can't we have a Maltby?" Johnson said. Why not indeed?
   Because most of the proposed city is outside of the urban growth line, the boundary between rural and urban. Incorporations can only occur inside urban-designated areas, according to Vivian Cernich, county BRB assistant clerk. Only a sliver of the proposed city is inside the line, that being the lightly populated industrial corridor alongside SR 522 from Grace to Maltby.
   Cernich added that only the BRB could adjust the boundary to include larger areas. Not so says Posthema. He believes the county council makes the final decision on the urban/rural line. He said a request was presented to the council to change the line in the future to surround the city in the urban area.
   Posthema, who describes himself as "a man who doesn't like cities" and has resided here since 1968, says incorporation will give local control over growth. "Managing growth is the only way to deal with the growth that this area is experiencing," he said. He points to development and roadway problems in Clearview.
   Incorporation is better than being absorbed by Bothell, Everett and Woodinville, Posthema adds. But will there be enough tax base to support a city?
   "Because of the industrial base and certain amount of area to be developed, we think there's a substantial tax base to support this," Posthema said.
   Still, professional planner Ray Sturtz wonders if incorporation backers know what it means to be a city under the Growth Management Act. Sturtz cited requirements of a minimum density of R-4, (four dwelling units per acre), need for urban services such as police and sewer, and shopping facilities.
   "Not many cities exist without them, not here in Puget Sound," Sturtz said. He is also Woodinville's planning director and has 25 years experience in the field.
   Allowing a Grace-ful exit
   Posthema downplays inclusion of 228-acre, $41 million Grace into his city, saying there was a good chance the area would annex to Woodinville. "I have no trouble with Grace going to Woodinville," Councilman Johnson echoes.
   Property owners in Grace are currently working with the Woodinville to hammer out zoning and roadway questions, and have been attempting to annex to Woodinville since the city incorporated in 1993.
   As it stands, the general area of incorporation is served by three school districts (Northshore, Monroe and Snohomish), two water purveyors (Cross Valley and Alderwood) and Snohomish County Fire District #7.
   Incorporation backers will hold two public meeting later this month: August 20 at 7 p.m. at the Maltby Community Club one block north of the Maltby Cafe; August 25 to present facts for representatives of the Snohomish County Boundary Review Board at Kokanee Elementary.
   The shaded area represents a proposed new city including Maltby, Clearview and Grace.