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Snohomish unlikely to approve smaller ‘apodments’

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By Alejandro Dominguez
Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH -- A new style of housing called "apodments" got a thumbs down last week.
The final decision won't happen until at least next month.
A Seattle-based real estate company wants to build the housing in a vacant building at 402 Ave. E near Snohomish High School. The idea is becoming popular in urban areas around the country and calls for adding several smaller apartments in a larger building with shared common rooms such as kitchens and laundry areas.
In this case, Coho Real Estate group hoped to carve out about 25 rooms of about 200 square feet in size to the building including a private bathroom in each apodment.
The planning commission rejected two draft ordinances last week on a 4-2 vote. The ordinances would allow rooming houses with shared kitchens, and allow the city council to decide if they are appropriate in areas zoned for single family homes.
Planning commissioner Christine Wakefield Nichols voted against the ordinances because rooming houses do not fit under the city's comprehensive plan and are strongly opposed by residents.
"We were changing overnight the zoning for one structure and possibly others in a single-family zone," she said. "Neighbors felt threatened by this, and it's a legitimate concern."
Between 140 and 180 people packed the George Gilbertson Boardroom at 1601 Ave. D. The commission heard two hours of public comment last Wednesday, most of it against the proposal.
The recommendation against allowing apodments is expected to be presented to the Snohomish City Council by early May. The council may accept it or ask for changes in the ordinances, planning manager Owen Dennison said.
At least one councilman, who is a liaison to the planning commission, said he felt his mind is made up.
"At this point, I don't see anything happening," Councilman Tom Hamilton said. "The issue is dead."
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422;
Story tags » SnohomishLand Use Planning

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