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No-go for city’s Avenue D land plan as first contemplated

SNOHOMISH — The city’s request to be donated part of the county’s former yard on Avenue D to set it up for affordable housing appears to have gone up in smoke.
The reason? Red tape strapped to how the county owns the property.
The county is not allowed to gift any part of the former public works yard because long ago the county used its Road Fund account to buy the land, county officials told the city. The Road Fund gets its money from sources including the state gas tax; over half comes from county property taxes.
County officials instead gave pointers on how Snohomish can encourage affordable housing at a May 28 meeting between county and city officials. The City Council has a workshop scheduled for Tuesday, July 6 starting at 5 p.m. to brainstorm on affordable housing further.
The county recommended Snohomish create incentives and zoning modifications, to fast-track applications for affordable housing, to increase density and building heights and to use a tax exemption for multi-family development. An intensive county workgroup on affordable housing encourages them.
The county intends to sell the 9.4 acres at market value, and it could be up for sale as soon as this summer or fall, capping off years of site cleanup.
When it sells, the proceeds will go toward redeveloping the county’s road maintenance facility in Arlington, Public Works Director Kelly Snyder wrote in a May 20 letter transmitted to the city.
The May 28 meeting included County Executive Dave Somers, City Council President Linda Redmon, and public works officials, Redmon reported at the June 1 council meeting.
Snyder emphasized in her letter that the county supports affordable housing, including that the county wrote an action plan that calls for surplus land toward this goal. State law constricts giving away part of the Avenue D yard for this goal, though, Snyder reiterated.

Prior coverage:

City wants part of Avenue D land as way to help bring housing

SNOHOMISH — City leaders want to obtain part of the county’s barren yard on Avenue D and designate it for developing affordable housing with a pitch they hope county officials will embrace.
Statistics show how difficult finding a home in Snohomish is because of the hyper-hot market.

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