By Barb Tolbert
The Arlington Comprehensive Plan expresses community priorities that guide the city’s vision and what we want our city to become. The plan touches on issues ranging from what type of development should go where and road improvements to protection of our natural resources and critical areas and park space. The plan also acts as our community vision over a long period of time.
The priorities that guide this vision change, and our policies for how we plan to grow need to change as well. Arlington citizens, the city or a local government agency with property within our city limits may propose amendments to the Comprehensive Plan at any time. Those proposals may only be considered by the city at specific times.
Called docketing, it allows for receiving and evaluating proposals to amend the Comprehensive Plan, zoning map and development regulations. The intent of the Washington State Growth Management Act of 1990 is to concentrate growth into cities and stop urban sprawl. GMA requires cities like Arlington to maintain procedures for residents interested in suggesting changes to their GMA-based comprehensive plans, zoning maps and development regulations. The GMA limits cities to amend their comprehensive plans to once per year with a few exceptions. Arlington has posted its docketing procedures at www.arlingtonwa.gov/288/Comprehensive-Plan-Amendments. While the city’s Community and Economic Development Department accepts such applications year-round, staff can only review them on an annual basis. In reviewing applications, staff needs to consider the GMA and our own growth policies, not just public opinion.
Once the applications are reviewed they are forwarded to the Planning Commission for review. That commission forwards its recommendations to the City Council for final decisions. In 2019, the city received 11 applications for changes to the Comprehensive Plan. They include:
•Rezone of Property at 3209 180th St. NE (city property adjacent to York Park) from Public/Semi-Public zoning to Residential High Density
•Annexation of the Old Town Stormwater Wetland property
•Inclusion of the City’s Complete Streets Policy in the Comprehensive Plan
•Inclusion of the Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center Subarea Plan
•Amendment to Arlington Municipal Code 20.44 to update Unit Lot Subdivision regulations
•Inclusion of the Arlington Public Schools Capital Facilities Plan
•Inclusion of the Lakewood School District Capital Facilities Plan
•Rezone of three private properties at 7103, 7115, and 7127 172nd St NE to high-density residential from low-moderate-density residential •Rezone of a private property at 606 E. Highland Drive to high-density residential from medium-density residential
Information on each is available at www.arlingtonwa.gov/596/2019-Comprehensive-Plan-Amendment-Docket.
The public is invited and encouraged to participate in the process. Sign up to receive Planning Commission and City Council agendas to keep up to date. Go to www.arlingtonwa.gov and click on “Notify Me”.
Barb Tolbert is mayor of Arlington, which runs a monthly column in this newspaper.