Marysville blinks over Sunnyside zoning plans

Roads segment removed from master plan for newly annexed area

MARYSVILLE If the devil is in the details, new Marysville residents in the East Sunnyside and Whiskey Ridge areas got a postponement of their worst fears at the May 14 Marysville City Council meeting.
The City Council unanimously passed the new sub-area plan for the newly annexed neighborhoods, where many new citizens did not want to be part of the city and have complained about a planned road grid that would ruin many of their homes and take away valuable acreage.
But the Council removed the road plan from the package and remanded it back to the Marysville Planning Commission for further review after residents had their land-use attorney fire off a four-page letter to the city.
The master plan for the 1,500-acre annexation will set the tone for future development in the neighborhoods by spelling out when and where what types of buildings and activities will be allowed. Parks, roads, zoning and other uses are elaborated in the plan, which also prescribes internal and external transportation connections. Those new roads will be needed to keep traffic flowing smoothly, but several residents have spoken repeatedly to City Council and planning commission meetings that the new arterials planned would destroy their homesteads.
Tim and Rebecca Nixon, Jim and Jeri Short and Gerald McKinney had their attorneys do the talking. On May 11 David Bricklin and Jennifer Dold sent the city of Marysville a four-page letter stating that the road structure as delineated in the master plan was illegal under the states Growth Management Act for several reasons.
Foremost was the attorneys claim that the GMA requires roads to be funded and the new plan discounts impact fees for transportation impacts. Other concerns cited were the fact that major arterials were already located less than 500 feet from houses and properties that would be effectively ruined by the new road connectors. Those new connectors would only effect 2,000 new trips in the next two decades, out of 15,000 daily trips estimated to use the connector, the attorney wrote.
Spending millions of dollars and putting residents out of their life-long homes for a shift of 2,000 vehicles twenty years from now is grossly unfair and unnecessary, the letter said.
Marysville was also underestimating the impacts to adjacent wetlands and an eagles nest nearby, as well as ignoring the effects on grading and road construction to a steep slope that may be or contain a critical area. A slew of legal citations followed and may have fulfilled their purpose.
Council members asked for legal advice and options before removing the transportation segment from the plan before the final vote.
Community Development director Gloria Hirashima said her department and engineers from the Public Works Department are continuing to study the matter and stressed that the roads scheme in the master plan is vague as to the precise locations of future routes.
The exact alignments can certainly be researched further, Hirashima said.
It should take six weeks before the matter is back before the city council for an informal workshop, eight to 12 weeks to hold a public hearing, and then the city council will get to hear the matter again.
So us going to a lawyer probably made a difference, said Becky Nixon.
Her neighbor Jim Short said he was breathing easier, but husband Tim Nixon and Shorts wife Jeri said they werent. If anything, Jim Short said the move might give them more time to review their options.
Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall said the attorneys broadside might have had something to do with the councils action, adding that several members felt it wouldnt hurt for the city to take another look at the controversy.
We just want to make sure we were going in the right direction, Kendall said after the meeting.

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