Politicians, residents, farmers and developers were among the more than 200 people that showed up at the on April 12 for the meeting of the King County Council to voice their opinion on moving the Urban Growth Boundary to allow possible annexation of land into the City of Woodinville.
The meeting's purpose was for King County council members to hear public comments on the updating of the Comprehensive Plan, which rejects annexation of Sammamish Valley land into the city. More than 50 people spoke to county representatives, the majority against moving the boundary, at the meeting. King County council members Kathy Lambert (District 3, which includes unincorporated Woodinville), Larry Gossett (District 2), and Larry Phillips (District 4) listened to public testimony for two hours.
The controversy that prompted the crowd is a plan to move 17 parcels of land along 140th Place NE, many of which are developed (, , to name a few), into the city limits in direct opposition of the King County Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan designates the Sammamish Valley as rural. In order for the city to annex those properties, the county needs to move the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).
The King County 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.
Residents from the valley and Hollywood Hill, which sits just above the valley, were mostly against the annexation, viewing it as a piecemeal approach to development that threatens the rural nature of the area. Developers and property owners said the plots in question are already developed and are not rural.
Claire Thomas, whose is one of the original community supported agriculture farms in the state, wrote in a prepared statement that just the possibility of that land being rezoned has raised prices on farmland adjacent to hers. She and other farmers are concerned land speculators will drive up prices out of reach for farmers.
Alan Marsh, veterinarian and owner of and one of the property owners asking for the annexation, said he wanted to be in the city limits so he could hook up to the sewer system adding that his current system is old and failing.
Members of the city council spoke at the meeting with the exception of Art Preglor who was at the meeting but did not testify. At a 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 voting against, caused contorversay among the council members when Talmas refused to sign because he felt Resolution 414 had factual errors ().
Council members Liz Aspen, Les Rubstello and Scott Hageman spoke in favor of moving the growth boundary to allow annexation. Mayor Bernie Talmas and council member Susan Boundy-Sanders spoke against moving the boundary and gave the county a supporting document which they say shows why it would not be legal to do so (see PDF).
The next public hearing on the comprehensive plan is set for April 25 in Ravensdale at Tahoma Junior High Commons, 25600 Summit Landsburg Road.
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. The King County Council is expected to decide on the plan in September 2012.