City of Monroe seeks to develop 100 acres

By Christopher Schwarzen
Seattle Times Snohomish County bureau

Monroe, WA - 1/3/03 - Monroe officials are preparing a 100-acre site on the city's northern edge that they hope will be used for commercial development.

Officials say they will prepare an environmental assessment beginning early this year that will allow the city to market the North Kelsey property better, said Hiller West, the city's planning and community-development director. A completed environmental assessment allows potential developers a chance to learn what type of mitigation might be needed at the site before they invest money.

"This gets the property ready faster and hopefully a developer interested in the property faster," West said.

The city will need to work with Snohomish County officials because the county owns about 24 acres of the parcel.

"We're not looking to use the property we own directly," said Steve Dickson, an assistant to the county's public-works director. "But the (County) Council will need to approve us being part of Monroe's process."

County officials say they'd like to be rid of their portion of the property by the end of the new year. The county's 24 acres had been used for gravel mining, Dickson said. County officials have said they anticipate the county's land being developed and eventually being annexed by Monroe.

"So we want to make sure that our property is used in a manner compatible with the city's plan," Dickson said. "We've been working closely with them to determine that."

Neighboring land near Highway 2 already has been developed commercially, said Roger Carruthers of Welcome Four, which has developed land near the North Kelsey parcel and owns vacant land there that is ready for development.

"Development is very likely to happen there," Carruthers said. "These are some of the last areas in Monroe that have commercial zoning toward them."

The city would like to see a mix of commercial development and professional office space, West said. Plans for public open space or community space are being considered, he said.

A few developers already have expressed an interest in the property, and one could make a proposal to the city soon, West said.

"One developer has said they're interested in using a majority of the entire property," West said. "But that's only been verbal and is still very speculative."

The city will hire a consultant to conduct the environmental assessment and hopes to have it completed by May or June. No cost estimate for that study has been completed.

Christopher Schwarzen: 425-745


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