Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Plan is central to land use and infrastructure planning under the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA). The Plan expresses a vision for the City in its goals and policies and serves as a guide for future development. It identifies those characteristics the community desires to retain, reinforce, and achieve as the City grows; it establishes the policies to realize the goals; and it identifies the resources necessary to provide services to the residents and businesses now and in the future. The vision contained in the policies is of a self-sufficient community where its citizens can live, work and play.  Planning for the City's future extends outside the current city limits to include an Urban Growth Area (UGA) within which the City may expand.

Comprehensive Plan Opens in new window

State regulations require the City to periodically review the Comprehensive Plan for consistency with any new requirements in the GMA. The plan was last updated in 2015, as required by state regulations.  The next required update must take place by December 31, 2024.  Scroll down for more information about the update.

The Comprehensive Plan may be amended once per calendar year.  Each year amendments can be proposed through a public “docketing” process. The Comprehensive Plan was last amended on November 16, 2021 when the City Council adopted Ordinance 2428.

2022 Amendments

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider several amendments to policies in the Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan in response to 2022 Final Docket items DK2022-02, DK2022-03, and DK2022-04.  All three docket items, one each for the North Corner, North Lake and Central West subarea, propose:

  • Adoption of policies to promote diversity of the City’s tax base;
  • Adoption of policies to increase housing opportunities;
  • Redesignating/rezoning some of the parcels to multi-family or small-scale commercial; and
  • Adoption of policies to provide for the creation of a new zone that allows neighborhood-scale commercial activities in areas that are primarily residential.

The Planning Commission’s public hearing on these proposals will be 6 p.m. Wednesday, October 5, at the Carnegie Building (lower level), 105 Cedar Ave.  It will be followed by a City Council public hearing on the same topic tentatively scheduled for November 1, also at the Carnegie Building.

All of the proposed amendments are high-level policies to guide Planning Commission work in 2023 to craft new development and zoning regulations for the three subareas and in 2024 when rezoning portions of each subarea will be up for consideration.

The draft amendments the Planning Commission will be considering are:

For more information about the proposed 2022 Comprehensive Plan Amendments contact Planning Director Glen Pickus and/or download the agenda packet for the October 5 Planning Commission meeting which will include his staff report.  The agenda packet will be available on Friday, September 30, in the Agenda Center.

Click here for more information about the Subareas project.


Any individual, organization, business, or other group may propose a text or Land Use Designation Map amendment to the Comprehensive Plan or an amendment to Title 14, Snohomish Municipal Code, the City's Land Use Development Code, by submitting a "docket" application. Affected property owners must agree to site-specific map amendment requests.  

The docket application period for 2023 amendments opened August 1, 2022.  The deadline to submit applications is September 30, 2022.

To download an application click here.

For answers to frequently asked questions click here.

The docket process can be used to propose three types of amendments:

  1. Map amendments to change the Future Land Use designation for specific parcels or areas.  Only property owners may propose a site-specific re-designation.
  2. Text amendment to change an existing Comprehensive Plan policy or to propose a new policy.
  3. Land Use Development Code amendments to change an existing development regulation or to propose a new one.

All docket applications will be compiled and placed on a “Preliminary Docket” list.  The City Council will consider all applications at a public hearing on November 1, 2022, to determine which applications warrant further analysis and consideration.  Those are then placed on the “Final Docket”. 

Placement on the Final Docket does not mean the proposal will be adopted.  Rather, it means the proposal will be analyzed by staff and brought to the Planning Commission for a recommendation to the City Council.

On November 2, 2021, the City Council approved the 2022 Final Docket.  Four new applications, all proposed by the City, were placed on the Final Docket and three more were carried over from previous years’ dockets (all of which have now been completed).  Click here to download the 2022 Final Docket.

The process to amend the Comprehensive Plan is codified in SMC 14.15.020.

For more information about the docket process, contact Planning Director Glen Pickus via email or by calling 360-282-3173.

2024 Periodic Update

While amendments to the Comprehensive Plan may be made each year, the document is required to be fully updated every 8-10 years.  The next update must be completed by December 2024.  The planning horizon is to the year 2044.

Comp Plan logo 2024

What's In the Plan?

There are some required elements of the Comprehensive Plan.  Each element includes an inventory or assessment of the current situation as well as policies to direct growth in a way that supports the community’s vision.  Additionally, there is new legislation and changes to PSRC’s MPPs that need to be included in the update that were not previously required.

Required Plan elements:

  • Land use
  • Housing
  • Capital Facilities Plan
  • Utilities
  • Transportation
  • Economic Development
  • Parks & Recreation

Additional elements in Snohomish’s existing Comprehensive Plan:

  • Environmental Protection
  • Shoreline

New considerations for the 2024 update

  • Social Equity
  • Climate Change
  • Increased requirements for Housing needs

How Can I Participate?

A lengthy public participation plan will be kicking off in the coming months, so be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming announcements.  

Kids Design Snohomish program

The children of Snohomish will be in charge by the year 2044, so we believe they should have a say in what their town will be like.  Kids attending public events have been asked to design their “ideal Snohomish” using wooden blocks.  They have very specific ideas about what they want to see in their town when they grow up, and staff is listening!

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Stay Informed

The Planning Commission reviews proposed amendments and seeks public comment during the review process. Meetings are held the first Wednesday evening of every month and are open to the public. Interested parties can track proposals via the Agendas link on this website.