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Snohomish County Reveals Revised Plans for Former Wellington Hills Golf Course

The design for the former golf course shows seven sports fields, a community center, a mountain bike facility, dog parks, playgrounds and picnic shelters.

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Snohomish County officials released a revised concept design this week for the regional sports complex planned to replace the former Wellington Hills Golf & Country Club.

The design for the 100-acre area at 7026 240th St. SE. shows seven activity fields (four with synthetic material) a community center, two playgrounds and picnic shelters. There is a large parking area, maintenance building and an area for storage.

Across 240th Street SE, plans call for a mountain bike facility, two dog parks (one for shy dogs and one for large dogs), picnic tables, community open space and a parking area.

The site would be accessible from entrances from 240th Street SE with a roundabout. Pedestrians will also have access from 240th Street SE and via 156 Avenue NE (Bostian Road). 

The proposal includes adding a sidewalk between Snohomish-Woodinville Road and the top of the hill on 240th St SE, and adding a left turn lane on 240th St SE at the intersection of Snohomish-Woodinville Road. Snohomish County Public Works will provide the engineering and design for the roadway improvements along 240th St SE, which is located east of Snohomish-Woodinville Road and leads to the future park, according to information on the Snohomish County website.

The outer edges of the area will have a fence "with gates as requested by property owners," according to the revised concept design, created by Bruce Dees & Associates, a landscape architecture firm in Tacoma specializing in park design.

Earlier this year Snohomish County bought the Wellington Golf Course site from the University of Washington with $9.7 million of $70 million in Brightwater sewage treatment plant mitigation funds agreed to by King and Snohomish Counties. 

Part of the negotiations and settlement agreement conducted in 2003 mandated the acquisition of a property within a four-mile radius from Brightwater for:

·    Recreational facilities or improvements (any active recreation like a golf course, walking trails)

·    Community Resource Center

·    Public Safety Improvements

·    Habitat Mitigation

Neighbors in King and Snohomish Counties first heard of the Snohomish County Parks Department proposals for the golf course in a public meeting May 8, 2012. In the past few months there have been occasional public and numerous small-group meetings soliciting public input in the development of a master plan for the site.

A nearby group of residents opposed to the project has formed "Neighbors to Save Wellington Park," and hired an attorney to challenge the development.

What do you think of the proposed plan design? Is it workable in the area or does it seem like too much? Tell us in comments.

savingparks October 23, 2012 at 02:46 AM
I think if Snohomish County needs a Regional Sports Compound then it should be built in an area where it is used by the entire County, it should be Centrally Located within the County, and placed in an industrial zoned area where the infrastructure (Roads, Sewer, Power, non-residential) is already built. Plus there is no current plan to improve the roads to handle more traffic to and from the site. So please don’t scare people with false fear that something worse will come. We are trying to prevent anything worse from coming. We like the Golf Course and would like to see the County keep it a Golf Course. Which also promotes health and wellness. Also we live in a rural zoned area and live on a rural road and are outside the urban growth boundary so why would you want me to move out of an already zoned country area to move to another rural area? We have also come up with solutions; just build Neighborhood Parks in Neighborhoods and Industrial Parks in Industrial areas. I am sorry that you believe people should suffer for your own good. We would like to see no one have to suffer, even you Nancy!
Nancy Cunningham October 23, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Putting in a park will take zoning changes. That is what the council will do, make a change. It's for the good of the entire area. If you think the golf course will remain RA-5 forever with the Brightwater facility right down the road, you need a dose of reality. Calculating building size comparisons using current zoning is not being realistic. Take your pick, condos, residences, commercial development...or a park. Golf course...not on the menu. Neighborhood groups can serve a useful purpose, but they are nothing more than a special interest or lobby group serving the needs of a miniscule sliver of the area. The Snohomish County council represents the entire district. Don’t be a gorilla on the back. Be a concerned citizen willing to work with your neighbors, even the ones that live a couple miles away. Snohomish will do a better job of managing income from the fields than Woodinville did and Snohomish got the money for the park from King County, so the return on the "Investment" is much better right off the bat...no pun intended.
Nancy Cunningham October 23, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Snohomish could not afford to purchase enough land in the industrial or commercial zone, it would be cost prohibitive. Parks are a permitted use in rural areas. The main road to the park will be upgraded and will include a roundabout to slow traffic. Very few people used the golf course, and if it was a money maker, the sellers wouldn't have given it up. So there you have it. Enjoy the new park, spend some money on lawyers if you want, but the park will be built.
Sharon Peterson October 23, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Hi Bill, if folks cannot attend the October 31 meeting in person, is there a way to provide public comment in writing? If so, can you share the details on how to do so, please?
Saira V. October 23, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Nancy, my point is a park can mean many things--a park may be a multimillion dollar complex or be as simple as a nature preserve with trails (or golf course). Why is it necessary to spend all of our money--mitigation money is tax payer money--on a monstrosity that is out of character with the rural area? Earmarking the golf course as a park prevents it from being turned into something else later on. Please don't say that it must be a monster park or high-rise apartments will come--spooky and fear oriented arguments don't work!
Saira V. October 23, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Nancy, parks are not money makers, period. As mitigation to the impact of Brightwater, it is perfectly reasonable to establish a naturally open park to be enjoyed by many. Locking up the land through a county purchase with Brightwater mitigation funds is enough to prevent the residential uses you describe as alternatives. If a golf course is as much a loser as you say, then the excess funds could be sunk into the maintenance and repair funds to keep it in operation for generations.
Dale Knapinski October 23, 2012 at 05:23 PM
If the golf course location is developed, I think I'd agree with Nancy that a park would be much more desirable than houses or commercial development. I'm not a golfer so a golf course wouldn't be anything I would support. Golfing is a pretty narrow sport and although it's good exercise if you don't use a cart, it appeals to very few people. I don't play soccer, but maybe if the fields were available and very close, I might take that up. My grandkids love playing. The indoor bike trails sounds pretty nice, though, and I'd use that. Riding on the BG trail is downright dangerous at times, not to mention being crowded. Traffic? Yep, that will be a problem but it's something than be dealt with. I live right on 156th Avenue NE and I constantly complain about speeding vehicles...mostly my own neighbors. If any kind of development happens in this area, I want to see a comprehensive traffic plan.
Dale Knapinski October 23, 2012 at 06:19 PM
The mitigation needs to match the scope of the project. If the golf course stays, no road improvements or mitigation is needed. Bring in two fields, picnic areas, and a riding trail, then maybe minor road improvements might be appropriate. For 8 fields, an indoor riding arena, and national tournaments, I expect to see some significant neighborhood improvements to accommodate a facility that large. The plan for no road improvements on 156th Avenue NE with the big project that's planned doesn't make sense.
Bill Stankus October 23, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Costco's parking lot holds just over 700 cars & that’s the number of parking spots proposed for the sports complex. About 500+ cars will park on the south side of 240th & additional 200+ will be on the north side of 240th. Also, but the grassy area on the north side of 240th will we used for additional parking whenever there's an overflow of vehicles. And it's not accurate to call this proposal a “park”. Yes, they've included perimeter walking/biking trails & two off-leash dog areas & a few picnic tables - but the 60,000 sq. ft. commercial mountain bike building is not a free activity, you’ll have to pay to play-ride on the indoor trails. And for teams to plays sports they will need membership in sports clubs & there are fees for using the fields. The County also plans to rent several of the covered outdoor structures -- the sort of thing a group or club would use for a picnic/party. Parks & Rec expects to have food wagons as in-the-park food vendors - meaning, people using the sports complex won’t need to go to Woodinville for food. The mountain bike business will also be selling bike stuff and accessories. Again, no reason to go to Woodinville. Bottom line: Sno. County Parks & Rec has taken advantage of Brightwater mitigation money which was meant to soften the impact of Brightwater on nearby neighborhoods They bought the Golf Course & their plans are to turn into a money-making mega sports complex - which has virtually nothing to do with nearby homes.
Laurie Thompson October 23, 2012 at 11:22 PM
I live on 156th in Snohomish County and we already deal with a lot of traffic from people cutting over from Woodinville-Duvall Rd to get to Costco or onto 522. There's no shoulder and the visibility is poor, so pulling into and out of my driveway can be treacherous. I had a recent road rage incident involving someone speeding down the road, using it as a cutoff between 522 and Woodinville-Duvall, where he stopped at my driveway to yell at me for pulling out in front of him and going too slow. (I told him the speed limit is 35, not 55, and this is a country road, not a highway.) To have a big regional park with 2 large indoor facilities and 700 parking spaces located on the golf course road would be disastrous and so out of character for this rural area. Residents would have to deal with increased traffic on inadequate roads, lots of noise and lights. I moved here because of the rural nature of the area, but the proposed plan will change that. I'm all for parks, in fact, this little corner of Snohomish County could use a nice little park. We have none. Walking trails. Picnic area. Open space. Dog area. Children's play area. But not this big, regional money-making venture with a parking lot the size of Costco's.
Dale Knapinski October 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM
I believe the Brightwater mitigation funds need to be spent on a project within 4 miles of Brightwater. Is there another location for the Snohomish facility available for a reasonable price? If we do end up with the full blown regional park, are regional funds then available for road improvements from King County or other sources? How much traffic will this facility actually bring? How many trips per day, what roads are likely to be used, what times of the day will there be a traffic increase? Has Snohomish provided this information? Last I heard, there are no funds for road improvements east of the proposed park. I don't think that is fair to the Wellington area.
Saira V. October 24, 2012 at 06:26 AM
Dale, a barricade at the city limits will resolve a long standing problem that you describe. Woodinville can erect a barricade on 156th just as they have done on 168th in the hills and on 195th near the Street of Dreams. Instead of hiring lawyers just lobby your favorite council reps and city officials--that technique works well for others around our town.
Bill Stankus October 24, 2012 at 03:55 PM
At this moment I'm not aware of any King Co. intentions for roads in this area and I've heard nothing about funds related to road improvement near the sports complex area. Sno. Originally, Sno. County's Public Works (roads) had no plans to do anything with the roads in South Snohomish County UNTIL the sports complex was proposed... they are now in the process of assessing the situation and, hopefully will have detail maps of necessary improvements to the roads adjacent to the sports complex. As best as I can tell, that means the intersection of HWY 9 and 240th (across from COSTCO. 240th through the sports complex. And, the intersection of 240th and 156th (or 75th or Bostian Rd., whichever you prefer calling it). Since Public Works had no plans for the area before the proposed sports complex, in order to now do the new work, they will use some of the Brighwater mitigation funds for the job. Again, I haven't seen anything indicating road improvement beyond what I mentioned.
T. Schriever October 24, 2012 at 06:51 PM
A hundred acre public park would be an excellent amenity to the area. Traffic and toxic runoff from synthetic fields are problems that need to be addressed. Are more soccer field needed? The soccer association has taken a large amount of farmland in the Sammamish Valley. This might reduce the pressure for them to take more farm land. The baseball fields in the valley are used to full capacity and could use a few more fields outside of the valley. The proposed park layout looks to be fairly thoughtfully laid out to reduce impacts to the terrain. But I would prefer to lose a couple of the proposed soccer fields and replace them with something to enhance the culture, other than just sports. How many cultural center facilities are there in NE King or SE Snohomish County? Performing arts, visual arts, historical museums.
Bill W. October 24, 2012 at 07:06 PM
http://www.co.snohomish.wa.us/documents/Departments/Parks/wellingtonhillshistoryandupdatett10.23.pdf
Ronald Long October 24, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Bill - thanks for sharing this document. Now if I could just reconcile the "...75% of the site will remain in natural/open space or green spaces" with the graphics at the top of this page.
Dale Knapinski October 24, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Comments to Tom Teiger, Director of Snohomish Co. Parks and Recreation Department: I clicked on the link above and read the statement about the new park. It was stated that the vast majority of daily use will be by local citizens. If the fields in Woodinville are comparable with respect to who uses the fields, the non-local users will represent at least 80% of the players. It's hard to define who is a local person, though. Can you define local for us. How far away can a person live and still be a "Local"? Having the park close when play is completed, around 10:30 pm, would mean there could be a flood of traffic at nearly midnight! By the time a team packs up, showers, loads their cars, and leaves the park, who knows what time area residents will get to sleep. You need a park closing time, period. Lights off, game over, gates closed. I'm anxious to see the traffic study and SEPA....but I can tell you right now that I understand why the neighbors are not happy...
Bill Stankus October 24, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Gee, I have that very printed hand-out sitting on my desk. I will not argue or discuss the contents of that link but I will say this: It was written by Tom Teigen the Director of Sno. County's Parks and Rec Dept. - the person who has spearheaded the proposed sports complex.
Dale Knapinski October 25, 2012 at 12:01 AM
The "Wellington Hills County Park History and Update" reads like a marketing brochure, because that’s what it is. Factual content, supporting documents, verified statistics, and expert testimony, are totally absent from this advertising literature. As you read it, take note of words like “Potential, hope, may be, it could, this could mean, we believe” as these words speak volumes about the author and the validity of what is being said. Reference was made to “Stakeholder groups” and “Community organizations” that were making recommendations as to the amenities provided and scope of the facility. I’d like to identify those people, and I want to review exactly what they requested, and why. Snohomish officials made offers on multiple other locations suitable for a regional park. I’m curious to review the bidding documents. Granted, the Wellington Hills location was probably available at a very reasonable price, but I’d want to be assured that the county made serious offers on the other sites, especially if the park could have been built in a more suitable location. Even if the county had to pay more money for commercial property, that option should have been weighed against putting the facility in a residential neighborhood where the impact to the public would very high. If the county saved a lot of money by purchasing property in a residential neighborhood, they should have sufficient funds for making substantial mitigation measures.
Rob Courtney October 25, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Nancy, I don't live in the neighborhood. In fact I live quite far away. The problem with the development is it is unnecessary. There are ball fields and community parks that sit vacant because not enough of the community use them. Additionally when most of these residents purchased in this area it was the country. Now with Brightwater and Costco the area is much different than what they all purchased. This affects more than the people that live there but also the wildlife that used to inhabit that same land. Now the wildlife is dead and the residents who chose that area because of its location are being punished. Once again I repeat what someone else said...let's see if someone put a Costco and a waste water facility in your backyard would you still be singing the same tune. Probably not. Maybe nothing changes but maybe the people fighting can force enough change they can at least keep some of there quality of life.
Dale Knapinski October 25, 2012 at 03:43 PM
The Northshore Youth Soccer Association has been a driving force behind the sports fields in Wellington. This is a very vocal group with more than 5,000 players. The NYSA effectively pressured Woodinville into building synthetic fields in that city, by literally bombarding council meetings with demands for new fields. The fields are a financial drain for the city. All the promises about parks increasing property values, improving the quality of life, benefitting local residents, or creating a financial windfall for the area, did not materialize. Maybe the Snohomish Park will be a boon for the NYSA, but neighbors, taxpayers, and local businesses will not benefit in any real sense. What is really happening is that there is a trade going on. Trade peace and quiet for noisy games and loud cars. Trade flood light for starlight. Trade wildlife for dogs. Trade green grass for blacktop parking lots. Trade light poles for trees. Soccer is a great sport. But the more I think about it, a huge facility like this one really does belong in an area where development has already stripped away the niceties. Put this park in an industrial or commercial area. It doesn’t belong in a residential neighborhood.
Sharon Peterson October 25, 2012 at 04:40 PM
VERY well stated, Dale. Your points are right on!! I don't think the City of Woodinville has adequately considered the impact on cost to them of this proposed enormous Regional Sports Facility in an area that is so clearly lacking in the infrastructure and location appeal to support it. One can see this by examining where the other major sports parks are located in Snoho and King County -- all in industrial zones that are flat and already have multiple routes for ingress and egress. Wellington Park has none of this and given the steep slopes, landslide hazards, earthquake fault zones and UGB issues, it would be impossible to design a Regional Sports Park to fit into Wellington Park. It is incumbant upon concerned citizens to speak out at Snoho County meetings, such as the one coming up Nov 12 at 2:30pm at Willis Tucker Community Park and bring to light these issues. Keep up the fabulous education, Dale!! Thank you so much!
Nancy Cunningham October 25, 2012 at 04:51 PM
The Northshore Youth Soccer Association represents your kids! The NYSA didn't force Woodinville into anything. The Woodinville council agreed that parks are very important to a community. The city made road improvements near the ball fields that made traffic better for everybody. Don't blame the NYSA, thank them. Liz Aspen supported the ball fields because it was good for the city. The fields may not directly bring money to the city, but the fields give kids a place to go to keep them out of trouble while improving their health, and money isn't everything. Some local kids do use the fields, and the kids that come to town are here for good things, not to break into cars, join gangs, or smoke cigarettes. The Snohomish park will be good for the neighborhood, and Snohomish County councilmembers will vote for what is good for the majority of their citizens. Wellington Hills has to accept the fact that they don't run the county, things change, they live close to an expensive sewage facility that will be paid for by new construction, and that a park is better than condos, a jail, apartments, or R-24 residentail lots. Deal....or no deal?
Sharon Peterson October 25, 2012 at 05:12 PM
The facts are actually very different than what you've alluded to, Nancy. In fact, the Woodinville fields are under-utilized now and costing the City $. However, the issue with Wellington Park is not at all about liking or not liking sports. It's about what that parcel of land CAN or cannot accommodate and also about the specifics in the Mitigation Agreement. The facts are that the proposed improvements (none of which are final and ALL of which are subject to change) are not suitable for this location. The purpose of Snoho County buying a park was to help EASE THE BURDEN of Brightwater on the surrounding citizens -- not increase it. Also, the zoning and Urban Growth Boundary in this part of Snoho county prohibits R-24 residential lots, jails, apartments and condo's. So, none of these items are legally allowed to be built on this property. It is highly unlikely that zoning would be changed to accommodate any build-out like this as it would be absolutely contrary to the Snohomish County Master Plan, UGB, etc. To respond to your question -- NO DEAL. The legal process allows any citizen of Snohomish County to appeal to their government. In fact, this same legal process enabled NON-RESIDENTS of Woodinville to persuade the building of artificial turf fields--we can do the same. This is NOT DONE -- it is only beginning
Bill Stankus October 25, 2012 at 05:32 PM
"and Snohomish County councilmembers will vote for what is good for the majority of their citizens" Yep, sure, you bet ... and that's why PACs, lobbyists and special interest groups are doing so well ... they convince government bureaucrats and lawmakers their special interest niche products are the best deal to vote on. Meanwhile, average citizens think voting in an election is their only responsibility. Special interest groups usually present plans on the low-key, their plans are generally unknown to the general public so that when a vote comes up in a legislative or council session there's generally no opposition and the special interest group usually win. We've seen this happen at the Federal, State and local levels - over and over again. Do you really believe the decision for a mega commercial sports complex was not influenced (or created) by special interest groups? If you think the proposed sports complex popped up as a virginal idea then you're more worried about kids smoking cigarettes than how local politics is done.
Nancy Cunningham October 25, 2012 at 05:50 PM
The only 'Special interest" group involved in the Snohomish park issue is the 10 or 15 rich neighbors that are threatening to sue the county. Everybody else wants the sports facility.
Ronald Long October 25, 2012 at 06:18 PM
"... Everybody else wants the sports facility." Nancy - that is a stunningly inaccurate remark, which I strongly suspect you have no data to back up. I believe that there are more voices of opposition (who aren't all rich) just in this discussion. This blatant "invention" certainly casts a shadow of doubt on your agenda in the role you've taken on as defender of Snohomish Country's plan. What is your motivation? What do you get out of this park?
Nancy Cunningham October 25, 2012 at 07:05 PM
It will be a really nice park, what's to understand? It will affect the people that live really close to it the most, and the farther away you get, the less negative impact it will have. That's why a few close neighbors don't want it. They don't want anything in their neighborhood. No traffic, no construction, no noise, no parks, no change of any kind. Where were they to fight GMA, Brightwater, Costco, Boeing and Microsoft creating new jobs that bring people and income to the area? Things change. If a few people are disturbed, I'm sorry, I really I am. But this is for the good of the entire area and the hootie tooties in Wellington Hills got a lot of nerve trying to stop every new thing that comes to the neighborhood just because they are old and set in their ways. The only thing those people would support is a retirement community, on a septic system, with a wildlife preserve outside, and limit occupancy to one elderly person per 5 acres.
Teri Derr October 26, 2012 at 02:48 AM
I think you have a lot of nerve speaking for a group of people that your don't represent.
Karie Gordon April 17, 2013 at 05:36 AM
Exactly Teri! One has to wonder if Nancy is related to Tom Teiger!!

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