Mixed Use Development
Growth Management Act
The State of Washington adopted the Growth Management Act (GMA) in 1990; this approach to growth management is unique among states. GMA sets goals for every city, and non-compliance will result in loss of state and federal funding for infrastructure projects. The state projects the population increases, handing down through the Counties the amount of population we in Arlington are required to plan for. In Arlington we must plan for an additional 7,000 residents in the next 20 years. This requires the need for an additional 3,000 more living places. Since Snohomish County does not allow for Arlington’s urban growth boundary to expand, this means we need to plan for higher density housing.
What’s happening should not be surprising. Snohomish County is now the 2nd fastest growing county in the nation, right behind Pierce County. North Snohomish County is simply one of the few large areas left for residential, commercial, industrial and population growth and Arlington is one of the prime spots. The key in managing this new growth will be through proper zoning, land-use planning and careful development, including being prepared to serve the growth of our existing businesses.
Changes to Zoning & Land Use Designations
Recently, the City has been approached by developers and property owners requesting changes in the land use designation and zoning classification from residential moderate density to residential high density. To obtain a re-designation of property, the applicant must go through a process and meet certain criteria set out by city and state law, as well as the City’s Future Land Use Map. The City is required to process these applications, regardless of the City’s position on the proposal. This is a public process where residents are encouraged to give us feedback on the requests and become part of the public record.
About Mixed Use Development
How can we accommodate growth and not change the character of our city? Our staff and council believe the solution lies in mixed use development. These developments are communities with a mix of multifamily dwellings and retail uses, which provide pedestrian connections with a sense of place and culture. It will be much like neighborhoods used to be built, with interspersed green areas, wide sidewalks and space for walkers, bikers and vehicles that would include attractive living areas less dependent on motor vehicles.
As Councilmember Mike Hopson describes the concept, “Mixed use development will focus on building shapes and appearances. In applying the principles of human scale for the look and feel, Arlington becomes a city where people enjoy walking, bicycling, shopping, gathering and living rather than a city oriented around cars and trucks. Our plan will coordinate compete street design with new “city centers” in selected areas to ensure the best future mobility and sense of place.”
Your input on how to best apply mixed use development in Arlington is essential to the process. There are upcoming opportunities to share your thoughts with City staff and the Planning Commission. Our goal is to encourage developers to have these shared spaces that will promote the culture of Arlington.