Bothell annexation talks continue, new zoning codes almost ready
December 8, 2010 · Updated 8:34 AM
With what Mayor Mark Lamb described as only a few minor changes from the recommendations made by the city planning commission, Bothell City Council is poised to adopt new planning and zoning codes for its targeted annexation areas.
Heading up the city’s annexation efforts, Community Development Director Bill Wiselogle said one more public hearing on the potential zoning is slated to be held during the Dec. 7 council meeting. Council is expected to take action following that hearing.
Wiselogle also noted city officials are moving forward with other questions related to the potential annexation of unincorporated locations in King and Snohomish counties.
In terms of zoning for the annexation areas, Wiselogle said one of council’s chief concerns revolved around residential densities in certain locations.
“But none of the items they’ve talked about are really fundamental issues,” he said. For his part, Lamb agreed. He said he would be surprised if council did not formally adopt the zoning Dec. 7.
In the past, Wiselogle has said some key provisions of the planning commission proposal include installing Bothell’s codes for office and professional activities in areas east and west of the Interstate 405 interchange. He added the zoning best approximates what is already in place under King County rules while capitalizing on the neighborhood’s proximity to the freeway.
Building height is another issue that has attracted some discussion. Wiselogle said the planning commission recommendation allows structures of up to 65 feet along state routes 527 and 524 as long as certain conditions are met, such as the property not abutting any waterfront.
In talking about other aspects of the possible annexation, Wiselogle divides the effort into several tracks or categories. One such track is public outreach and Wiselogle noted the city has held 16 open houses along with numerous public hearings in front of both the planning commission and council. No additional open houses are scheduled for this year, but more might appear in 2011. What are some common questions being asked during the various public discussions?
According to Wiselogle, many in the annexation neighborhoods want to know about taxes, and Wiselogle said the good news for residents is taxes will go down.
Other residents wanted to know if they would be able to keep livestock, such as horses or goats, and the answer is, “Yes.” Those with Woodinville addresses will be able to keep those addresses. To the north of the city, Wiselogle said some residents in the annexation area have Lynnwood addresses. The public outcry regarding addresses there has not been as strong, so Wiselogle indicated those may change.
After the settling of most zoning issues, perhaps the biggest annexation news revolves around city talks with King and Snohomish county officials. In discussions with both, Wiselogle said only one real issue remains, that of who will collect waste from the Snohomish County portion of the annexation. At 5.6 square miles, that portion is by far the largest area possibly to be absorbed by the city.
As some may recall, Snohomish County wants waste from that area and, more importantly, the accompanying fees, to come to their facilities. King County argues it has a contract stipulating all trash and fees from within Bothell’s borders comes to their facilities. Wiselogle said the city disagrees with the King County contention. He said Bothell and Snohomish officials plan to present a proposal to King County leaders that would have that county continue to take in waste from the existing Snohomish County portions of the city, but from no new annexations. Wiselogle essentially said all the city can do is wait and see how King officials react.
On yet another front, Wiselogle said the city is continuing talks with the various fire districts affected by the annexations. Objections by Snohomish County districts essentially ended annexation efforts last year. Fire District 10 in Snohomish could be dissolved. Talks with officials in Districts 1 and 7 are ongoing.
Lastly, the city is awaiting completion of an outside study of the financial ramifications of the potential annexations. That should arrive in early January. As has been the intention for some time, Wiselogle said city staff will present their findings regarding potential annexations to council in the first quarter of 2011. At that point, legislators can decide to push forward or drop the entire effort.