King County Unlikely to Allow Woodinville Annexation in Sammamish Valley

Despite the desire of city council and landowners to annex property in the north end of the Sammamish Valley, county officials say the Urban Growth Boundary will not be moved.


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.

Randy Koetje March 31, 2012 at 05:43 AM
To Sue and Dale, With all due respect, the loudest voice in the room doesn't always have the best idea. I wish we as a city would pursue alternatives to just multifamily downtown to provide new homes for future residents. Using Sue's numbers above I calculate we are about 1000 homes short. Seems that the theme of no growth in Woodinville is the prevailing thought. Nothing is being built, either downtown or in the neighborhoods. I'd be real interested to hear how our city council would respond to that. I never considered no growth as a part of the "country style" motto. My understanding of country style is how we treat one another.
Sue R March 31, 2012 at 06:27 AM
Randy, I never said "no growth", but did say that we have enough land zoned to accept more growth that we were allotted in all areas of the city. If you have 2 acres in the R1 then you may request the city to consider adding another house to be built on the acre adjacent to your home. It is very simple. The city is not maxed out at its current zoning and has ample room to grow in all areas. Look at the downtown vacancies left behind by QFC and the open storefronts for commercial. Look at the master plan for Canterbury to add high density, much needed affordable housing. Look at the Western area stables for already approved R4 housing. We do not need to grow the limits in any area and we certainly do not need to proliferate construction in the agricultural areas. I am not an expert, but I am a person who understands reality of supply and demand. Woodinville has plenty of supply and the demand for construction is weak at this time, but it is not the city's job to create demand at the cost and demise of existing area businesses and residents. My voice will grow louder if people expect to trample over a well planned community and trample over the very designs that make this a unique city.
Dale Knapinski March 31, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Paulette: Woodinville residents have not been opposed to increasing residential density downtown in order to protect the R-1. Our GMA requirements don't need to be filled for many, many, years. There is no rush to fill the temporary demand for cheap housing created by the economy. Replacing the mobile home park with a mix of affordable and higher end housing to accommodate SOME of our GMA requirements makes perfect sense. Why do we need an increase in residential density in the downtown now? Most of our mandated units will be accomplished with one development, and we have many years to add appropriate housing as our city developes over the years during a "Normal" economy. Cheap rental units may be popular now, but 5 years from now we may be sorry we have them. People in the R-1 have a legitimate fear of forced sewer connections costing a significant amount of money. ANY development in the Wellington area could set residents up for the Woodinville Water District moving forward with provisions in Resolution 3725 that allowes forced sewer connections for essentially any reason. It isn't just a matter of residents wanting to keep their large lots and country atmosphere, you know. Annexation of properties outside of the UGB will have no effect on residential housing because the affected properties will not be zoned residential, and if they WERE, I may support the annexation effort.
Dale Knapinski March 31, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Development brings SEWERS. In the R-1, even a 35,000 sq. ft. lot will support an on-site septic system so I'm OK with that. Short subdivisions of more than 4 lots and lots smaller than 35,000 sq. ft. will bring sewers to within 300 feet of adjacent lots where the owner does NOT want to be forced to connect. Last summer, the Woodinville Water District adopted Resolution #3725 which gives the District the sole authority and right to FORCE connection if they feel it's in the public interest. Increased density in Wellington would bring more traffic, noise, and change to the character of the neighborhood. Some people don't want to see this happen. My personal objection to messing with the R-1 is the fear of being forced to abandon my septic system in favor of supporting Brightwater. I'm dead set on keeping my house as far away from sewers as possible, and if that means fighting against any increase in residential units in Wellington, so be it.
Ron Olson April 03, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Do we need to adjust the UGB in order to provide medical buildings in Woodinville? Don't we have plenty of available space in the CBD already? Why couldn't we annex a different area for medical buildings if there is a shortage of space? I can see why the city might want to annex the 3 properties near the Woodinville schoolhouse, but I don't really see a need for that, either. There is plenty of vacant space available for tourist activities.


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