Canyon Park Subarea Plan approved unanimously

The plan predicts continued growth for the Bothell area, concerning some business owners

A subarea plan around the Canyon Park area of Bothell was approved unanimously Tuesday, Dec. 15, despite the Canyon Park Business Center Owners Association repeated concerns about increasing congestion.

The Canyon Park plan includes Centennial Park, and several areas with potential growth. It also includes a portion of Interstate 405. The city hopes with its subarea plan to control the expected growth in the area, including an increase in tech workers living in the area influenced the subarea plan, trying to take into account what a tech worker desires in an area they both live and work. The city hopes the plan directs more mixed use development with living amenities along Bothell Highway and alternatives to traditional transportation.

The plan has been under work for four years, according to staff, as part of the regional growth efforts with Canyon Park as a targeted area for increased growth. The area is also an economic driver for Bothell, staff said.

The Canyon Park Business Center Owners Association says the increased density in Canyon Park will only hurt the businesses in the area— it can already take over a half hour just to leave the business center which sits next to the State Route 527 corridor.

Community Development Director Michael Kattermann said at the Dec. 15 public hearing that no matter the plan, growth in Canyon Park is inevitable, and with that, traffic. He also emphasized that the subarea plan does not create the increase in growth, and added a few road improvements planned to help ease some of that increased congestion.

“Growth has been occurring in this area, and will continue to occur. And with growth you have additional traffic, there’s no way around that. That’s the reality we’re dealing with,” Kattermann said.

He also added that the city has changed several portions of the plan in response to long time concerns shared from the community, including protecting employment, natural features, and shrinking the regional growth center land area to allow for more natural areas.

Canyon Park Business Center affiliates also claimed that some parts of the Subarea Plan were released just days before the council vote, and that there’s not enough traffic mitigation for over doubling the area’s current density. They state the plan leaves some open questions and conflicts with other development regulations.

Still, councilmembers discussion emphasized that maintaining Canyon Park as a regional growth center is essential to getting grant dollars for transportation projects, including ones that would mitigate traffic in that area. Despite what some members of the business center stated during public comment, the councilmembers said doing nothing would be worse for the area than creating this longterm plan.

“No plan is perfect, but this is a 20 year plan. Who knows what transportation is going to look like 10 years from now?” Councilmember James McNeal said before the vote. “Depending on this pandemic things could turn out completely different.”

Read the full plan here.