Notes on the January 31, 2013 Wellington Hills Park, Master Planning Meeting held at the Brightwater Community Center.
Approximately 75 people were in attendance.
The principle Snohomish County representatives were Tom Tiegen, Director of Parks and Recreation, James Yap, Project Manager, Dept. of Parks and Recreation and Stephen Dickson, Special Projects Manager of the Public Works Department. Bruce Dees the architect for the proposed park plan detailed the latest master plan.
The main points of the updated park master plan related to changes on the north side of 240th SE.
• A SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) checklist will be completed in early March 2013.
• The park construction will be done in phases: Road improvement, terraforming, sports fields and parking lots would be done in phase 1 and the activities building and mountain bike building would be phase 2. No dates were given for phase 2.
• The County is actively looking for business partners for the construction of the large commercial buildings (i.e., the mountain bike building).
• The off-leash dog area has been moved westward, closer to the cliff.
• The north side paved parking lot has been moved from the cliff area eastward and is near and parallel to the proposed mountain bike building. This parking lot will be increased in size for an additional 20 (approximate) cars.
• The grassy area, central to the north side and edged by 71st Dr. SE, will have paved walking tracks, more or less, circling this area.
• Tom Tiegen said this new design means less bulldozer cut and fill and less tree cutting on the north side.
• There was considerable discussion about road improvements, specifically on 240th St. SE. A few changes: there will be speed bumps on 240th to “calm” or slow traffic and an electronic sign which tells traffic how fast (or) slow) it is moving.
• 240th will not be widen thus discouraging shoulder parking and also to minimize speeding.
• The traffic circle is moved slightly to the west.
• Dickson also stated 240th would be reconfigured into three lanes at the intersection with Route 9.
• Dickson said the County was considering buying property at the intersection of 240th and 75th in order to have a better line of sight for traffic at the intersection.
It was at this time, the audience began peppering Tiegan, Dees and Dickson with questions and concerns. Initially, people felt the speed issues on 240th were less relevant than the volume of traffic and overall safety on 240th and where it meets with both Route 9 and 75th St. SE (Bostian Road).
Dickson stated they were studying the safety issues on 75th but the existing road configuration; drainage ditches and the large trees next to the road make redesigning the road both expensive and complicated.
Again the audience spoke out: The point was made, Brightwater mitigation funds were meant for a community park intended to off-set whatever negative impact Brightwater has on the local community. Many in the audience felt the proposed sports complex was not a community park, it is a regional park – something built for the at-large population and specifically for special interests organizations.
Dickson said the definition of “community park” was more expansive than something simply for the community located near the Wellington Hills Park. He said, it also included the Maltby area and communities to north of the Brightwater plant.
Another point of contention was, many in the audience questioned, the necessity for seven sports fields. Tiegen defended the number by saying the soccer fields were always part of the plan even if such plans were verbal and not recorded.
At this point the audience erupted with comments, many speaking at the same moment:
• Many voiced loud concern the sports complex construction is being proposed for a residential area.
• Roads can’t support the volume of traffic generated by the park.
• There was concern about crowd noise, the use of field lights, traffic congestion during weekends and evening commuter time.
• The prospect of upwards of 10 large-scale tournaments per year (according to minutes from the ad hoc planning committee) generated intense feelings.
For detailed information, visit the Snohomish Parks and Rec. web page.
For a local perspective, visit The Neighbors to Save Wellington Park blog: