Smokey Point, Washington

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Smokey Point is a residential, commercial, and industrial community located in Snohomish County, Washington, USA. Formerly a census-designated place (CDP) prior to the annexation of the territory inside its urban growth boundary, the northeast portion of the Smokey Point community now lies within the City of Arlington, whereas the western and southern portions lie within the City of Marysville.



Smokey Point got its name from a 1950s outdoor-barbecue restaurant started by Eric and Pearl Shurstad, who called their place the Smokey Point Café after the plume of smoke it generated. The restaurant, which was on the northwest corner of Smokey Point Boulevard and Lakewood Road (now 172nd Street NE; also SR 531), is no longer there, but the community has lasted ever since.

Annexation controversy

In the early 1990s, after a controversial land-use was proposed for the area, several property owners began an effort to petition the City of Arlington to annex a large portion of the Smokey Point community. Around the same time, another group of property owners began an effort to annex much of the same territory into the City of Marysville. The group working on annexing into Arlington was able to reach the required 60% assessed value threshold first, enabling their annexation to move forward.

The City of Marysville, having a vested interest by being the sewer and water utility provider for the area and having an interest in annexing Smokey Point, challenged the annexation, along with the residential community whose property was added to the annexation boundaries by the state Boundary Review Board for Snohomish County.

At that time, there was a single Arlington-Smokey Point-Marysville Urban Growth Boundary, causing confusion as to what city could potentially annex which area of Smokey Point. After many meetings with Snohomish County officials, the two cities ended up with separate urban growth boundaries for future annexation. Arlington was given the northeast portion of Smokey Point; Marysville was given the western and southern portions. However, when this proposal was presented to the local community, there was overwhelming opposition, as the community desired to have their entire community be annexed into one city, not split between two. The County Council had the final say, however, and approved the territory divisions.

To further complicate things, there was a little-known state law on the books that would have transitioned the annexed territory from the Lakewood School District that served Smokey Point to the school district of the annexing city. Being that nearly all of the commercial area of Smokey Point was petitioned to be annexed into Arlington, the loss of such a tax base would have been devastating to the Lakewood School District.

Because of these issues, local residents in the area formed a group called Save Our Community and Schools (SOCS). SOCS worked tirelessly with their local state representatives to change the law to protect the Lakewood School District. Those efforts were successful, and the Lakewood School District remains intact today.

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