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Manufacturing Industrial Center makes progress in County Council

Snohomish County Council member Ken Klein speaks out in favor of the proposed ordinance to designate 4,091 acres of properties between the cities of Arlington and Marysville as a Manufacturing Industrial Center. - Kirk Boxleitner
Snohomish County Council member Ken Klein speaks out in favor of the proposed ordinance to designate 4,091 acres of properties between the cities of Arlington and Marysville as a Manufacturing Industrial Center.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

EVERETT — The cities of Arlington and Marysville made a significant step in the progress of their work to designate 4,091 acres of industrial and highway commercial properties between them as a Manufacturing Industrial Center with the help of the Snohomish County Council on Tuesday, May 6.

The Planning and Community Development Committee of the County Council met that morning to approve a public hearing on the subject for Wednesday, June 4, at 10:30 a.m., after which the Council itself is slated to vote on the ordinance introduced by County Council member Ken Klein, which would amend countywide planing policies to identify the Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center as a candidate for designation by the Puget Sound Regional Council.

“That would put the county’s stamp of approval on it, which is a crucial step,” Klein said. “The cities can love this idea all day long, but without the county’s approval, it can’t be brought up before the Puget Sound Regional Council.”

Klein, a former Arlington City Council member, was credited by representatives of both the cities of Arlington and Marysville with being an outspoken supporter of the Manufacturing Industrial Center, which would have the potential to become Snohomish County’s second largest manufacturing and industrial employment center, after Paine Field, with a current capacity of 5,315 jobs and a future capacity for 77,800 jobs.

“There’s a lot of good evidence that this site should be designated as a Manufacturing Industrial Center,” Klein said. “Manufacturing provides good jobs, with technical skills that are in demand in the modern workplace. This Manufacturing Industrial Center would be near other manufacturing and industrial employment centers, in Everett and Seattle. It’s a large area of flat land that can be developed quickly. One of the best benefits is that it would allow our manufacturing and industrial employees who live in this area to work closer to home, thereby decreasing their commutes. From economic development to traffic, it’s the right move.”

Paul Ellis, community and economic development director for the city of Arlington, touted the May 6 meeting as “short but monumental” for the two cities, and elaborated on the value of the Manufacturing Industrial Center designation.

“It would be a status symbol for the businesses that were part of the Manufacturing Industrial Center, and it would inspire other businesses to look at this area,” Ellis said.

Ellis reported that one of the questions that citizens have most frequently asked him is how the Manufacturing Industrial Center designation would affect the existing zoning of the site.

“The short answer is that it wouldn’t,” Ellis said. “It fits within all the existing zoning. It wouldn’t affect the airport, or the flight line, or any of the surrounding residences. We already have a utility plan in place. The cities of Arlington and Marysville have worked together for several years to streamline our permitting processes and align our roadwork to make sure we’re all on the same page.”

“It’s a long process that’s nowhere near complete, but this is one more step,” said Gloria Hirashima, community development director and chief administrative officer for the city of Marysville. “Through Snohomish County Tomorrow, we’ve seen virtually uniform support for this Manufacturing Industrial Center from the cities in this county, because they recognize that this will benefit not only Marysville and Arlington, but the county and the region as a whole.”

If the Snohomish County Council approves the Manufacturing Industrial Center designation, Hirashima expects that the Puget Sound Regional Council will deliberate on the matter for six months to a year, enough time that such a designation would likely coincide with the county’s revisions to its comprehensive plan.

“The Puget Sound Regional Council is also conducting an industrial land review which I expect would affect this,” Hirashima said. “If this goes through, it’s just one of a number of steps that we plan to help strengthen this area’s economy and infrastructure.”

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