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Density request shot down by planning commission
Sign code amendments go before City Council
SNOHOMISH - The planning commission decided last week to recommend that the City Council take no further action in changing the residential density in downtown Snohomish.
A developer wanted to increase the residential density in the historic business district in order to build a condominium building with small one-bedroom units. The commission was asked to review the request and decided the density shouldn’t be changed at this time.
In the same Sept. 4 meeting, the commission also approved a series of sign code amendments following a public hearing. The most highly watched amendments involved the prohibition of electronic signs and the increase in sign size allowance for private schools and churches in residential areas.
Public schools in residential areas get to have signs such as reader boards and a private school in a residential area wanted the same allowances.
The commission’s recommendations go to the City Council. The council is tentatively scheduled to be briefed on the recommendations at its Sept. 17 meeting, senior planner Owen Dennison said.
The amended sign code will come back to the council for adoption in October.
With regards to the density issue, the commission believes the issue could be addressed in a different way in the future.
“They recommended to do nothing with this current request but perhaps to take a longer term study of whether there are other ways to look at density given what appear to be changing demographics and changing housing demands,” Dennison said.
Downtown preservationist Mitch Cornelison spoke at the meeting and voiced disappointment with the sign size that the planning commission decided to allow. While he was pleased the commission recommended a ban on electronic signs (except for the one already in use at Snohomish High School), he remained concerned with the extra allowance for sign size.
Only two members of the public attended the meeting.
Both topics regarding density and sign code amendments had been continued from previous planning commission meetings three or four times.
The request to change the density in the historic business district came from Snohomish real estate developer Bob Hart.
Hart had his eye on a vacant lot at 502 First Street for his condominium project.
In order to accommodate his building plan, he wanted the density allowance for the area increased. Hart requested the city allow an increase from 18 dwelling units per acre to 40 units per acre.
The request was met with intense opposition from downtown residents. Several members of the community showed up to meetings over the summer to voice their opposition.


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