The Comprehensive Plan is central to land use and infrastructure planning under the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA). The Plan expresses a vision for the City in its goals and policies and serves as a guide for future development. It identifies those characteristics the community desires to retain, reinforce, and achieve as the City grows; it establishes the policies to realize the goals; and it identifies the resources necessary to provide services to the residents and businesses now and in the future. The vision contained in the policies is of a self-sufficient community where its citizens can live, work and play. Planning for the City's future extends outside the current city limits to include an Urban Growth Area (UGA) within which the City may expand.
State regulations require the City to periodically review the Comprehensive Plan for consistency with any new requirements in the GMA. The plan was last updated in 2015, as required by state regulations. The next required update must take place by June 30, 2023.
The Comprehensive Plan may be amended once per calendar year. Each year amendments can be proposed through a public “docketing” process. The Comprehensive Plan was last amended on Dec. 4, 2019 when the City Council adopted Ordinance 2364.
2021 Comprehensive Plan Amendments
Realignment of the Land Use Element of the Comprehensive plan with Title 14 SMC, the City's Land Use Development Code
The Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan establishes the community’s vision for how it will develop in the coming years. As such, it is a policy document containing goals and policies that serve as a framework for the Snohomish Municipal Code’s Title 14, the City’s Land Use Development Code. Title 14 contains specific development regulations and standards that implement the goals and policies of the Land Use Element.
Over time, the relationship between the Land Use Element and Title 14 has become weakened and disjointed to the extent where it may no longer comply with the requirements of the Washington State Growth Management Act (Chapter 36.70A RCW).
Title 14 now contains policy language that more appropriately should be in the Land Use Element. Similarly, the Land Use Element contains regulatory language that should be in Title 14. Also, the current Land Use Designation Map in the Land Use Element has evolved into a regulatory zoning map. It needs to be moved to Title 14 (and retitled “Zoning Map”) and a new, more generalized Future Land Use Map needs to be created and put into the Land Use Element.
One of the proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendments will correct these issues. To download draft versions of the amendment to both the Land Use Element and the related amendments to Title 14 click on the following links:
Comprehensive Plan Amendments
Title 14 Amendments
- SMC 14.05 - General Provisions
- 14.25 - Definitions
- SMC 14.30 - Establishment of Zoning Districts (new chapter)
- SMC 14.207.070 - Residential Land Use Table
- SMC 14.207.080 - General Services Land Use Table
- SMC 14.207.090 - Government and Business Services Land Use Table
- SMC 14.207.100 - Retail Land Use Table
- SMC 14.207.110 - Manufacturing Land Use Table
- SMC 14.207.120 - Regional Land Use Table
- SMC 14.207.130 - Recreational-Cultural Land Use Table
- SMC 14.207.140 - Resource Land Use Table
- SMC 14.207.150 - Essential Public Facility Land Use Table
- SMC 14.210.330 - Dimensional Requirements
Elimination of the Urban Horticulture and Mixed Use Land Use Designation Areas
Current Comprehensive Plan policies call for the re-designation of properties currently designated as Urban Horticulture or Mixed Use. One of the proposed 2021 Comprehensive Plan Amendments is a map amendment that will modify the current Land Use Designation Map to re-designate all of the over 100 affected parcels within the City and its Urban Growth Area. City staff started reaching out to property owners last June to discuss the issue with them and to get their input as to what new designation they would prefer for their property. For more information about, this visit the webpages established for these two projects.
The Planning Commission will hold its first public hearing on the 2021 Comprehensive Plan Amendments 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The meeting will be a remote meeting. Information about how you can join the meeting will on the Planning Commission agenda, which will be published about one week before the meeting.
Public involvement and input is welcomed and encouraged. To keep up to date on the process email Planning Director Glen Pickus and ask to be put on the Comprehensive Plan “parties of interest” list. You can also email him with any comments you have to offer.
Any individual, organization, business, or other group may propose a text or Land Use Designation Map amendment to the Comprehensive Plan or an amendment to Title 14, Snohomish Municipal Code, the City's Land Use Development Code, by submitting a "docket" application. Affected property owners must agree to site-specific map amendment requests.
The docket process can be used to propose three types of amendments:
- Map amendments (rezones) to change the land use designation for specific parcels or areas. Only property owners may propose a site-specific rezone.
- Text amendment to change an existing Comprehensive Plan policy or to propose a new policy.
- Land Use Development Code amendments to change an existing development regulation or to propose a new one.
All docket applications will be compiled and placed on a “Preliminary Docket” list. The City Council will consider all applications at a public hearing to determine which applications warrant further analysis and consideration. That hearing will take place in either October or November 2020. Those are then placed on the “Final Docket”.
Placement on the Final Docket does not mean the proposal will be adopted. Rather, it means the proposal will be analyzed by staff and brought to the Planning Commission for a recommendation to the City Council by the end of 2021.
The process to amend the Comprehensive Plan is codified in SMC 14.15.020.
For more information about the docket process, contact Planning Director Glen Pickus via email or by calling 360-282-3173.
The Planning Commission reviews proposed amendments and seeks public comment during the review process. Meetings are held the first Wednesday evening of every month and are open to the public. Interested parties can track proposals via the Agendas link on this website.