Livable City Year

Snohomish 2023 – 2024

Sno-01: 2024 Comprehensive Plan Update – Economic Development Element

City Project Lead: Brady Begin

Faculty: Margo Bergman
UW Department: Milgard School of Business
Quarter: Fall 2023

Faculty: Joaquín Herranz, Jr.
UW Department: Evans School of Public Policy and Governance
Quarter: Winter and Spring 2024

Faculty: Branden Born, Joaquín Herranz, Jr., Rachel Berney
UW Department: Urban Design and Planning
Quarter: Winter and Spring 2024

The purpose of this project is to support the economic development element of the 2024 comprehensive plan update, starting with the design and implementation of a business survey. This scientific survey should seek to understand who Snohomish’s business owners are, what challenges and/or opportunities they face, and how the City of Snohomish can be of assistance. Special care will be taken to address the issues of redundant broadband access, childcare and mental health services, parking and downtown transportation, and commercial affordability – which are some of the priorities of the Snohomish City Council and City staff. The survey results will then be used to conduct a SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of the Snohomish economy, leveraging other information as necessary (e.g., the economic data profile already compiled by the City, zoning and land use regulations, regional industry clusters) to best inform goals and policies for the economic development element.

Several programs have worked on this project to help the City of Snohomish update the economic development of their comprehensive plan. Master of Business Administration students at UW Tacoma conducted a survey of small businesses and a SWOT analysis in the Fall 2023 quarter. Master of Urban Planning (MUP) and Master of Public Administration (MPA) students at UW Seattle continued this project in the Winter and Spring 2024 for their program capstones. The MUP students provided policy options for the City’s Economic Development Element, and the MPA students explored Tax-
Increment Financing as a supplemental financing tool for the City.

Read the survey report

Read the SWOT analysis

Read the report on Tax-Increment Financing

Sno-03: Lodging Feasibility Study

City Project Lead: Brady Begin
Faculty: Margo Bergman
UW Department: Milgard School of Business
Quarter: Fall 2023

The purpose of this project is to study the feasibility of attracting additional lodging within Snohomish city limits. The city is currently only served by one hotel and approximately 20-25 short-term rentals. Tourism is generally considered to be an important part of the Snohomish economy, and lodging taxes allow the City to fund projects or events that draw visitors to Snohomish. However, limited lodging undermines the positive feedback loop that the lodging tax is intended to create: lodging stays fund tourism promotion, leading to more lodging stays. This feasibility study should seek to understand the market demand for lodging within Snohomish city limits. Could the city support another hotel? Would it compete with the Snohomish Inn or have its own niche? Where is the optimal location? What about alternative lodging types? If the City should pursue additional lodging, how should it market itself?

Read the report

Sno-05: First Street Master Plan

City Project Lead: Nova Heaton

Faculty: Jess Blanch and Jess Zimbabwe
UW Department: Community, Environment, and Planning 
Quarter: Fall 2023

Faculty: Dylan Stevenson and Jeff Arango
UW Department: Urban Design and Planning 
Quarter: Winter and Spring 2024

The purpose of this project is to analyze current conditions and make recommendations for a long-term plan for First Street. Goals for the plan are to maximize parking, pedestrian accessibility, gathering places, and urban low-maintenance landscaping. Challenges include aging infrastructure, voids beneath sidewalks, impacts to businesses during construction, limited right of way, and costs. A sequence of classes also contributed to this project, beginning with CEP 460 students analyzing existing conditions through a transportation survey and history mapping project.

Read the transportation report

Read the history mapping report

Sno-06: Comprehensive Plan Update – Climate Change

City Project Lead: Brooke Eidem
Faculty: Branden Born (Wi) and Arlyn Purcell (Sp)
UW Department: Urban Design and Planning
Quarter: Winter and Spring 2023

The purpose of this project is to expand and update the City Comprehensive Plan’s Environmental Protection Element to include climate change. For this scope, climate change considerations include reduction of greenhouse gas (carbon) emissions and adaptation/resiliency for anticipated future climate impacts. The work will be done within the context of the City’s Comprehensive Plan update, which will be completed by the end of 2024. there is flexibility to modify the Environmental Protection Element as needed/appropriate. In addition, this project will assist with the Climate Change Task Force comprised of community members to review data and develop strategies for integration into the Comprehensive Plan.

Read the report