Hundreds Turnout for County Meeting on Sammamish Valley Annexation

At a public hearing for the King County Comprehensive Plan, hundreds of people jammed into the Y at the Carol Edwards Center in Woodinville to voice their opinion on moving the Urban Growth Boundary.


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.

Ron Olson July 26, 2012 at 07:06 PM
The whole annexation issue is nothing more than a political favor bucket. Woodinville has no business annexing agricultural land to expand the tourist district. Woodinville has 20 vacant acres of tourist space at the Woodinville Village site. Woodinville has the Canterbury acreage in the CBD that would be a perfect mix of wine tasting rooms and residences where wine tasters could walk safely from one business to the next while they shop at existing Woodinville businesses. Woodinville has tons of vacant businesses. Why not fill those up FIRST? The annexation of valley land serves only one purpose, to line the pockets of a local realtor at the expense of the environment and current Woodinville property owners. I say send the non-resident realtor on his way and return his political contributions. Woodinville taxpaying citizens are not going to accept back door deals where only political contributors get the luxury of city assistance.
Ron Olson July 28, 2012 at 04:03 PM
The annexation/UGB issue in Woodinville is far from over.
Dan Lewis August 29, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I live in the neighborhood you're discussing and have been following rezoning of this intersection for a while. The goal is to rezone it to CBD so that it can be developed into a retirement center facility on the west side of 140th (that was the impetus for the rezoning request) and likely apartments/condos on the east side, just south of the medical center. It is already part of the city of woodinville, but is zoned office for the most part. If they don't rezone it as CBD they can't build apartments (on office zoning). I talked to the city and they said that it is related to hitting their quota for adding x thousand new residences in the city by (I think) 2020 (I don't remember the exact amount).
Jodi Getz August 29, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Dear Dan - Take what the City Staff tells you with a grain of salt. They have misled the public and council on this so far. Don't assume what they tell you is true. That particular intersection is very dangerous and there is NO MONEY for a redesign or rebuild. Also only the parcel on the corner is in the city. The lot to the west of that along 171st is also needed and the UGB will need to be moved to accomodate that. That would urbanize that section from the Medical Center all the way to Zante's Farm. At that point Mrs. Zante has made it clear to the county that she should be included. That would urbanize the entire south side of 171st. Why do that when there is already 20+ acres ready to be developed at Canterbury. The issue is the city has lots of developable land before you go moving the UGB. #1 criteria for moving the UGB is need and this city has NO NEED. Check into the State Growth Management Board decision for Sumner. They shot down a viable project there. The Woodinville project is a sham and will only cast doubt with the state on any future viable requests.
Ron Olson August 30, 2012 at 03:28 AM
The original citizen rezone request was for ONE lot north of the Kentucky Fried Chicken on the west side of the street. City manager Rich Leahy apparantly saw this as an opportunity to rezone the whole city and eliminate all Office zoning. He convinced the Planning Commission that rezoning from Office to CBD was no big deal. It is a big deal for the valley because zoning the area right next to the potential annexation area will set the stage for destruction of the valley ambience, the view, and the 17 new CBD lots will destroy any chance for the Woodinville Wine Village to be developed. After Woodinville taxpayers spent 6 million dollars on infrastructure for the Wine Village, adding tons of competing CBD property is a sin.


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