Letters to the Editor - 4/23/18

  • Written by Readers
Thank you for your thoughtful and accurate reporting addressing land use code violations on the Mathews Winery property on 140th PL NE in the April 16th edition.
This property is one of six properties that currently have land use code violation notices from King County.  All are located in unincorporated King County and all of are aware of their code violations.  As is the case with the Mathews property, all of the violators have signed settlement agreements whereby they agreed not to expand their business operation during the period where King County would study the issue.
Mathews is one of the more flagrant violators in-so-much as they have added more structures in the form of permanent tent structures, outbuildings, additional lawn and seating areas, and additional parking.  They now have a B & B facility, have scheduled more frequent events and have greatly expanded their web presence in advertising as a venue for corporate parties, weddings and the such.
Because the County has not enforced their own zoning code regulations, all of this added activity has developed without permit review.  No traffic impact studies or traffic safety mitigation.
The core challenge is that King County has failed to enforce their own zoning and land use codes.  There is little doubt that people enjoy drinking wine and partaking in the open-air experience and beauty of the Sammamish Valley.  The challenge is that the property is not zoned for such activities.  The larger challenge is that if King County fails to enforce local land use codes on rural zoned property, how are we to expect them to enforce land use violations on agricultural properties, which everyone seems to agree should be protected.
The local wine community reports that there are more than 120 wineries, distilleries, and tasting rooms in the greater Woodinville area, with nearly all of them located within the City limits.  Only six are violator properties.  There are plenty of legitimate wine related businesses that are providing “an experience we can all be proud of.”
Thomas Quigley
Sammamish Valley Alliance

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