Urban Horticulture Rezone
The Comprehensive Plan currently includes a land use designation of “Urban Horticulture”. Only 19.2 acres within the City have that designation while 22.1 acres are zoned Urban Horticulture outside of City limits but within in the city’s Urban Growth Area (UGA). Combined, they represent less than 1% of the land area in the City and its surrounding UGA.
The Urban Horticulture zoning designation was created years ago to address small-scale farming operations which used to exist in the city. However, few if any agricultural uses remain in the city or its UGA. Therefore, it’s now time to implement the current policy direction in the Comprehensive Plan which is to transition Urban Horticulture properties to another designation.
The current Urban Horticulture Comprehensive Plan goal and two related policies state:
GOAL LU 10: Provide for areas of commercial agriculture, nurseries, and related uses where they are compatible with an urban context.
UH 10.1: Change of use. Transition Urban Horticulture areas to other appropriate land use designations as agricultural uses are abandoned.
UH 10.2: Notice on plats. Plats adjacent to Urban Horticulture designations shall include notice that residents should be prepared to accept inconveniences or discomforts related to the impacts of normal, necessary agricultural operations.
The proposal is to eliminate the Urban Horticulture designation from the City’s Comprehensive Plan and from the zoning regulations of Title 14, Snohomish Municipal Code. To accomplish this, the Comprehensive Plan would be amended to repeal Goal LU 10 and its associated policies and to update the Land Use Designation Map. In addition, sections within Title 14 regulating Urban Horticulture areas would be repealed.
In doing this, the Urban Horticulture designation would become obsolete making it necessary to rezone all parcels that currently are zoned Urban Horticulture to something else. In most cases, those parcels have been developed with a detached single-family residence. Also, almost all of the pockets of Urban Horticulture zones are surrounded by the Single Family zone. Therefore, rezoning them to Single Family makes the most sense.
City staff has reached out to property owners of parcels zoned Urban Horticulture notifying them of the elimination of the Urban Horticulture zone and the need rezone their property. In reaching out, staff asked property owners for their preference on what their property should be rezoned to.
Staff considered the following factors in arriving at their rezone recommendations:
- Property owner’s preference.
- How the property is currently being used/developed.
- The uses/zoning of the immediate neighborhood.
- Ensuring the new zone does not create a new nonconforming use
- Avoiding spot zoning.
- Avoiding patchwork zoning by zoning entire blocks or at least the entire side of a street with the same zoning.
The maps below show the areas to be rezoned and the surrounding zoning. The areas to be rezoned are outlined in blue. One map shows what property owners have told staff their preferred zoning would be. If a parcel is not colored in that means either staff was unable to reach the property owner or the property owner did not state a preference. The other map shows what the staff’s recommendation to the Planning Commission will be after considering all of the factors listed above.
The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the new zoning designations for the current Mixed Use parcels. At the hearing, Commissioners will consider the property owners’ stated preferences, the staff recommendation, and any public comment or testimony provided.
This rezoning process will be part of a larger Comprehensive Plan amendment process. At the conclusion of their public hearing the Planning Commission will make a recommendation on the rezones and other amendments to the City Council which will then hold its own public hearing before making a decision.
The Planning Commission public hearing on the rezones is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
If you are interested in this project, whether or not you currently own property zoned Urban Horticulture, you are urged to participate in this process. To stay informed every step of the way, email Planning Director Glen Pickus so your name and email address can be added to a “Parties of Interest” list. By doing that you will receive email notices of all meetings and steps related to the elimination of the Urban Horticulture zoning designation.
You may offer your comments on this project at any time, or merely seek more information, either by emailing Glen or by mailing a comment letter to his attention at P.O. Box 1589, Snohomish, WA 98291.
Maps of Affected Areas
The five maps below show the areas of town (and the UGA) currently zoned Urban Horticulture. These maps are included to help understand the areas and inform zoning decisions. The Urban Horticulture areas are highlighted in each map, with the surrounding zoning designations shown for reference.
Scroll through the maps to see each area by clicking the left and right arrows, or allow the slideshow to play. Captions are included at the bottom of each map describing the affected parcels and surrounding area. Each image is a link that will take you to a larger version of the map.
Site addresses and street names are shown to help orient yourself.
Area 3: This area is at the south end of town on Lincoln Avenue, just north of the Pilchuck Julia park and boat launch. The existing use is agricultural, Surrounding uses are recreational (the park, and the soccer fields across the street) and multi-family residential to the north and east. The site is constrained for future development, as it is located in a Flood Hazard Area.
Area 4: This area is just north of the Snohomish River and part of the old railroad, currently State Avenue, or the Centennial Trail. It is owned by Snohomish County. Surrounding uses are recreational or undeveloped to either side, and residential to the north.
Area 5: This area is located outside City limits, but is in the Urban Growth Area, meaning it could be annexed in the future. It is at the southern end of the area zoned for Airport Industry, at the intersection of Airport Way and Marsh Road. Existing uses are residential and agricultural/undeveloped.
Area 1: This area is located on the south side of Fobes Road, across from the Bickford Motors dealership. Existing uses are primarily residential, particularly along the Fobes Road frontage. A large parcel is located on the south side, which is the site of the blueberry farm.
Area 2: This area is located on the east side of town, just before the City limits. The Centennial Trail is located at the western extent. It is developed with single-family residences with a couple vacant parcels. Neighboring properties are similarly residential; the surrounding zone is SFR.