A move by property owners and the city to annex portions of unincorporated Woodinville in the Sammamish Valley into the city limits is not likely to succeed, according to county officials.
The plan to move 17 parcels of land along 140th Place NE, many of which are fully developed (, , ), is in opposition to King County’s Comprehensive Plan, which designates the Sammamish Valley as rural. If the city were to annex those properties, the county would need to move the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).
The Comprehensive Plan is currently undergoing a mandated review (). Under revisions proposed by County Executive Dow Constantine, areas in the Sammamish Valley that are unincorporated and designated in the county’s Agricultural Protected District (see map), will remain protected and will not be annexed by the city. Most public testimony so far has favored keeping the property designated as agricultural (read transcripts); more public hearings are planned in the coming month, including one in Woodinville on April 12.
At its March 6 meeting, the city council passed a controversial resolution to send to King County endorsing the annexation. The 5-2 vote, with Mayor Bernie Talmas and Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders opposing, became a hot button issue at this week’s council meeting when Talmas was called on the carpet for not signing the resolution (). Talmas said he did not sign because he felt the resolution had factual errors.
Paul Reitenbach, with the Department of Development and Environmental Services and manager of the comprehensive plan, agreed that the resolution seemed flawed, and said that annexation into a city would not be protecting the natural environment of the Sammamish Valley.
The properties in question are developed and were grandfathered in when the county implemented the state-mandate Growth Management Act. The fact that there are urban uses on many of the parcels is the argument used for annexation.
At a luncheon on March 15 hosted by the Greater Woodinville Chamber of Commerce, Lucy DeYoung, former mayor of Woodinville, spoke in favor of annexation while Mike Tanksley, president of the Hollywood Hill Association, spoke against it. DeYoung, who does not own any of the properties in question, said that because they are already developed with urban uses, it makes sense to annex them into the city. But Tanksley said it is exactly this kind of piecemeal approach to planning that facilitates urban sprawl and dilutes the concentration of development in the downtown core.
King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who represents unincorporated Woodinville along with other rural areas, said the UGB is not set in stone, but any changes must be carefully evaluated.
“The line has been moved very little overall since it was set,” Lambert wrote to Patch. “I think this needs a more careful evaluation as to how it would benefit the existing businesses and citizens of the area especially from the safety standpoint of safe drivers on the roads.”
Lambert encourages Woodinville residents to testify at the hearings being held around the county in the coming weeks.
The meeting will be at:
- FALL CITY –Thursday, March 22
Chief Kanim Middle School Commons
32627 SE Redmond Fall City Road
Fall City, Wa. 98024
- WOODINVILLE—Thursday, April 12
The Y at the Carol Edwards Center
17401 133rd Ave. NE
Woodinville, Wa. 98072
- RAVENSDALE—Wednesday, April 25
Tahoma Junior High Commons
25600 Summit Landsburg Road,
Ravensdale, Wa. 98051
People can also submit written testimony online at www.kingcounty.gov/council and following the link under Hot Topics to the “Comprehensive Plan.”
Public testimony will also be taken at regularly scheduled meetings of the Council's Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee throughout the spring and summer of 2012. These are daytime meetings held the first and third Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. in the Council chambers on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse in Seattle.