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Sunnyside residents miffed at Mville zoning delay

MARYSVILLE Thats it?
That was the crowds angry reaction to a short hearing at the Marysville City Council on Feb. 26 when the zoning plan for the Sunnyside and Whiskey Ridge areas was abruptly put off until April 23.
The newly-annexed territory on the citys south-eastern flank came into Marysvilles jurisdiction in December and planners have been working on a master plan for the 1,500-acre area for months before then. Mondays meeting was set to be the final stop when the Council was to vote on the recommendations of the city planning commission. The master plan would layout a grid of roads, parks and land uses for the East Sunnyside and Whiskey Ridge neighborhoods north of Soper Hill Road and east of SR 9.
The Council unanimously voted to schedule a public hearing on the matter for late April, saying they needed more time to study the matter. Councilman Jeff Vaughan motioned for the delay; he said his phone and email has been running hot and heavy with concern over how the road package will be funded.
The current recommendation from the planning commission calls for a secondary impact fee to be paid by property owners who develop their land. Since this is on top of the same taxes paid by properties in other parts of town, some property owners say they are being hit up twice for funds. About 30 residents left the meeting in disgust after the quick vote and vented in the hallways.
I thought they would take some opinions, said Tim Nixon, who has lived on his 2-1/2-acre spread for 17 years. They obviously havent asked the people that live right there.
Like many of the other attendees, Nixon wants well-enough left alone and was ready to give the Council a piece of his mind about the roads Marysville planners have routed through his and his neighbors properties.
Ask the mayor how he would feel if someone came to his house to take his property and put a road through it, Nixon said. How would he feel? We bought that place 17 years ago. We bought it for the view and the acreage for my kids to play on and the last thing I want to do is have some road going right through my backyard.
Bill Evenson has lived on 40th Street near the water tower for 51 years with his 94-year-old mother Mae. The citys plan for the transportation grid is his main beef.
The way the road will go through, it leaves a lot to be desired, Evenson said.
Jim Short is a neighbor who claimed the city will be eating up too much of his four-acre spread. There will be four three-lane roads within 1,000 feet of his house and they will cut through at an angle, wiping out the value of the land by creating unbuildable pie-shaped wedges.
There going to take a whole bunch out of both ends of my property, Short said.
Marysvilles chief administrative officer Mary Swenson said she knew how disappointed the newly-annexed citizens were to not get a chance to speak to the Council, but by law the Council could not have responded to their comments by changing the planning commissions recommendations.
City Attorney Grant Weed started the meeting by outlining the four legal options available to the Council; besides accepting or rejecting the commission report, the Council could hold a hearing of its own or remand the issue back to the planning commission. Holding a public hearing that night was not possible under the law because all parties of record and the public would have to be notified so they can participate in the hearing.
They couldnt have taken testimony and made changes, Swenson said after the meeting. They couldnt have moved that forward.
Swenson acknowledged the two main concerns staff and Council have heard from residents in the area: the secondary impact fees for developments and the planned road grid. The Council wanted to study the legality of the fees, hence the long lead time for the April hearing. As for the roads, both Swenson and city community development director Gloria Hirashima said planners have tried to take as small a bite from property owners as possible.
We felt it was best to straddle parcels, Hirashima said before the meeting. We actually laid out the lines so it was straddling parcels.
Many of the resident quoted above live on or near 40th Street NE, and Hirashima said that will be a major connector to SR 9 to the east, and for good reason.
We thought that the planning commission recommendation is solid, Hirashima said about the road connections.
Swenson echoed her comments, underscoring the gravity of matter.
We have one opportunity to get the connectivity right, and if we dont well be dealing with some of the same issues were dealing with in the other parts of the city, Swenson said.
She described the intersection at the citys southern limits at Soper Hill Road and SR 9, where there are two left-turn lanes from the northbound state route to the westbound Soper Hill Road. The state didnt build that by accident, and that was before all the future growth due for the area in Marysville, Lake Stevens and up and down SR 9, Swenson added.
You look at everything, said Swenson. All of that has to be taken into account.

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