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City Council looks at density downtown
Topic on council’s June 4 meeting agenda
SNOHOMISH - The City Council is being asked to look at increasing the residential density within the historic business section of the city’s historic district.
The proposal would more than double the maximum residential units allowed from 18 dwelling units per acre to 40 per acre. The city says this request has nothing to do with rooming houses.
The request will be discussed at the June 4 council meeting and council members will decide then whether to direct the planning commission to study the idea.
The request to amend the land-use designation in this part of town came from Snohomish developer Bob Hart in May, city planner Owen Dennison said. Hart built the Riverstreet Plaza condos on First Street and Patrick Plaza condos on Cedar Avenue, both within the historic district.
Dennison said Hart wants to build a multifamily project at the intersection of First Street and Willow Avenue. Dennison didn’t have any further details about the project.
Many factors that constrain the actual residential units that can be built include building height limits, open space requirements and on-site parking requirements, according to the city.
City Manager Larry Bauman said one of the biggest issues will be figuring out if the city has enough resources to study the request. The planning department is small, Bauman said, and many of the projects land on Dennison’s desk.
Bauman said if the City Council decides the idea warrants further research from the planning commission, outside help may need to be hired to look into the potential impacts.
The land-use amendment request is in the earliest stages of preliminary talks, according to city documents. But Dennison said putting it on the council’s agenda will provide the transparency that many thought was lacking in the recently put-to-bed rooming house debate.
“It’s being done as an agenda item so that people are aware that this in an issue that something may be a work program for the planning commission and so that people can comment on it,” Dennison said.
Opponents of the rooming house proposal, also known as apodments, that was shot down by the council in April can rest easy: This request has nothing to do with the rooming house issue, Dennison said.
“That was completely put to bed; that was buried,” Dennison said. “It was not a permitted land use when it was originally proposed, and it’s not a permitted land use now. Rooming houses will not happen.”


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