North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Council nixes high density on Highland Drive


Last Monday, Arlington City Council listened to members of the community around Highland Drive and voted against an increase to density on 2 acres along Highland Drive near Stillaguamish Avenue. The surrounding property is already zoned high density.

An increase in density on land north of the Stillaguamish Senior Center on Smokey Point Boulevard was approved without fanfare.

Another application to change a density is scheduled for review at this week’s Planning Commission meeting on June 13. Supinder Gill has applied to rezone a combined 7.23 acres on three parcels at 7103, 7115, and 7127 on 172nd St. NE.

Council is considering this week a recommendation from Arlington’s Park, Arts and Recreation Commission that the city accept the dedication of property for a city park in the heart of Smokey Point. Property owners from the Smokey Point (Drive) Business Association expressed interest in dedicating a 1.2 acre forest of 60 or 70 year old Doug fir trees, where undergrowth has provided a private haven for drug users through the years. Representatives from Village Community Services, which is located adjacent to the woodlands, and Community Transit, with a transit station on the northeast corner of the property, have led discussions with several property owners and managers about creating a park there. Before voting on the dedication, the association is asking if the city would accept the property as a city park. One vision is to create connector trails that clients from VCS, the Stillaguamish Tribe’s social services and visitors to the business district could use to access the Transit Station. Another idea is to have a recreation area that is suitable for all ages and abilities. In preliminary discussions, the group offered to provide on-going funds for maintenance and help apply for grants to build the amenities.

At this week’s workshop meeting, council was scheduled to learn about a North Sound Accountable Communities of Health (North Sound ACH) community resource paramedic (CRP) program that helps care for “high-utilizers” of the system, such as people with dementia and mental health issues as well as diabetics, drug addiction and other weaknesses.

The Arlington Fire Department partners with 18 agencies within the five counties served by the NSACH to establish a community paramedic program. The agencies also partner with Aero Skagit, Skilled Nursing Facilities, Clinics & Hospitals, Case Management, APS, CPS, DSHS, Adult & Aging Service, Local Public Health Department, Private Practitioners/Partners, Public Hospital Districts, Charitable Organizations, Medic One, Tacoma Community College, Everett Community College, and Central Washington University.

In order to accommodate changes in Medicare, this partnership of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is learning from Snohomish County Fire District 1 about a pilot program funded by Verdant Health that has shown great success over the past three years. Now the organization of agencies says its the best time to expand upon this model and bring it to all of the Advanced Life Support (ALS) agencies within the five counties of the NSACH, which has been tasked by the Health Care Authority (HCA) with accommodating Medicaid transformation and various funding opportunities. According to the council documents, there are no options to this program and changing performance standards to be in alignment with the Medicaid transformation is required for funding opportunities.

Council was scheduled to discuss a $170,000 request for financial management software. The city’s finance department has been on a search for a comprehensive, enhanced financial management system that would incorporate the city’s many independent departments. After receiving four responses to a call for proposals in March, staff is recommending Caselle, a system that “will dramatically enhance our current capabilities,” Finance Director Kristin Garcia said in council documents. The $170,000 covers the Castle estimate of $140,580 along with $20,000 anticipated hardware needs and $9,420 contingency for unexpected costs related to training and data conversion. The annual service fee which includes all future updates, training and unlimited technical support will increase from what the city is currently paying and will increase slightly the following year.


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