Snohomish Dispatch

December 20, 2023

Sunrise on the Skykomish River

In 2024, all the Central Puget Sound counties (King, Pierce, Kitsap and Snohomish) have a deadline to produce an updated comprehensive plans. The work on these plans starts long before the final approval, and we’re pulling back the curtain on how Futurewise works with folks like you to shape those plans, featuring our work in Snohomish County! Check out our dispatch from Kristin Kelly, working with you on the Snohomish County comp plan update:

Snohomish Dispatch:

Snohomish County Planners and Planning Commissioners were very busy throughout 2023 on their 10-year update to their Comprehensive Plan. And Futurewise was busy too keeping track of all the planning, meetings, comment opportunities and public hearings; educating and activating our Snohomish County membership on the vast amount of proposed changes; and advocating from strong policies to ensure livable urban communities and protection of our farms, forests, rural areas, and ways to mitigate the impacts from climate change.

The update itself was quite an undertaking. There were 14 Chapters of the General Policy Plan, which now have been incorporated as part of the Comprehensive Plan, some of which are brand new policies and the rest which had extensive proposed changes.

In addition to the Plan Elements, Futurewise was involved and commented on other aspects of the Comprehensive Plan Update that included the Draft Environmental Impacts Statement for the No-Action (Alternative 1), Medium Growth (Alternative 2), and High-Growth (Alternative 3) proposed plans, and the proposed Docket proposals to change Urban Growth Area Boundaries and Zoning, and the subsequent Council-Initiated Amendments. Futurewise is supporting Alternative 2, and opposing any proposed Urban Growth Area expansions.

Snohomish County Planning and Development Services (PDS) went through public input on all this information during the fall of 2022 into early winter of 2023, and made changes that had to be reviewed again. PDS then began briefing the Planning Commissioners from January to September 2023. The Planning Commission hearings were in October and their deliberations were in November. Their final report and recommendations should be out for public review in March. You can view all the past meeting agendas, hearings, minutes and audio on their website at https://www.snohomishcountywa.gov/164/Planning-Commission.

We are pleased to report that Futurewise agreed with many of the Planning Commissioners’ decisions which will go to the County Council in March, when they will begin their process and public hearings! We agreed with the Commissioners that the County Council needs to adopt Alternative 2, as well as most of the changes proposed by PDS on the Element additions and changes.

Yet, there were some decisions that we did not agree with, including their inclusion of Urban Growth Areas (UGA) expansions into more of our rural lands. We also believe better protections are needed to protect our farms and forests. Futurewise was also involved from the beginning with the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County on our proposal for new Urban Tree Canopy Policies, which we were very pleased the Commissioners recommended for adoption.

Mostly recently, in December, Futurewise met with the County Executive and all five County Council members in December to start discussions of what we would like to see adopted as the 2024 Comprehensive Plan Update.

This work is made possible with the support of our Snohomish County supporters! We will need your continued advocacy and activism in 2024 to ensure that the Snohomish County Council will adopt a Comprehensive Plan Update that will ensure Snohomish County will continue to be a great place to live, work and play for the next 20 years. We do not have a set timetable yet for the meetings and hearings for 2024 with the County Council, but you will be updated frequently and there will be action alerts and calls for our Snohomish County membership to be involved.

If you need more specifics about any of the positions of Futurewise or want to get more involved, please contact Kristin Kelly at edpas2016@gmail.com.

Wishing you Happy Holidays!