WINE TASTING ROOMS I love that Dan Berger, owner of a wine tasting room located on agriculture land, justified his use by saying, “it’s pretty meaningless given we’re a few hundred feet outside the city limits.” Is that zoning-law speak for being a little bit pregnant? The wine district is restricted to a very specific area to prevent the sort of “creep” that is apparently happening. Buying a few alpacas won’t change that unless you’re planning on converting your wine tasting room to a business that only sells Alpaca Fiber Wine Bottle Cozies. Denise Anderson Woodinville
As another Northshore School Board election looms, I’ve been trying to figure out how best to help my friends decide which candidate to support. In District 3, there are three candidates running in the primary: Berta Phillips, David Cogan and Isaac Parsons.
What have these candidates done in our district for students, and why are they running? Have the candidates been active in schools and PTAs? Do they understand there are legislative issues which impact district policies? Are they prepared to confront the conflicting demands of providing higher wages to district employees, raising levies and bonds on district residents and businesses, and the costs/benefits these decisions have on the quality of education for our students? Do they appreciate that a school board director requires a substantial time commitment to do a good job?
I encourage people to check out candidate endorsements. Personal endorsements are important because the candidates need to have great people skills – the community needs to feel comfortable talking to them about important issues. Organizational endorsements need to be transparent about how they selected their candidates – were all candidates given equal opportunity to present their views? Do these organizations provide access to the information they received from the candidates? What are the priorities of the organizations? PALS wants later high school start times; political party endorsements are for candidates whom they believe will further party priorities (local, state or national control of curriculum); and district employee unions (NSEA) want to ensure that a candidate is willing to support their agenda (e.g., whether the “surplus” of educational funds this year can be redirected toward higher wages for their membership.)
The position of a school board director has immediate and long-term consequences, with issues ranging from maintaining high academic standards for all students, while supporting struggling learners and implementing quality programs for highly capable students; to balancing the overcrowding in Bothell schools and the under-enrollment in Woodinville elementaries. In the next four years, NSD will open a fourth high school, and reconfigure grade bands. This is indeed a crucial election for School Board! Be informed!
Lying Wong Bothell
STADIUM MANAGER RESIGNS
In our local sporting world, the resignation of Mike Dale, stadium manager of Pop Keeney Stadium, was a total surprise to many of us who know him well and what he stands for. His standard has always been to do it right. His wise and far-reaching decision to change the face of Pop Keeney Stadium earns both the Northshore School District and City of Bothell highest praise. This sports facility has greatly benefited from his Midas touch.
I was fortunate to spend 18 seasons coaching Bothell High football on that field. It’s fair to say Pop Keeney Stadium is now the best planned and maintained first-class prep facility in the state. Mike’s trademark touch shows up everywhere from the locker rooms, press box, grandstands, field and concessions stands to handicapped viewing. Nothing was left to chance.
What we have in Mike Dale is a man who devoted his school district employment to give the community a piece of history. It is unthinkable that Mike is leaving, and now, he will no longer be on that field wearing his red jacket. My friend will be sadly missed by all those who know him. It’s hard to believe he’s gone. Dee Hawkes Retired BHS football coach
TOUR OF GARDENS
The Woodinville Garden Club Tour of Gardens 2015 was a huge success! Over 500 guests visited the five gardens that were featured on the Tour. We deeply appreciate all the support from our advertisers and community sponsors, which made possible this great event.
Molbak’s served as a major sponsor for the 16th year, providing a sales outlet for tickets and a beautiful venue for our after tour reception. The reception was enhanced by Icon Winery’s generous wine tasting and savory bites from Haggen Market. Molbak’s also contributed gift certificates for the drawing at the reception, which also included an overnight accommodation for two at Willows Lodge, mulch from de Jong Sawdust & Shavings, a landscape consultation from Garden Workz Design, the original signed artwork by Ben Mann used for the 2015 poster art and gift cards from Purple Cafe, The Commons and Teddy’s Bigger Burgers.
The Woodinville Weekly also served as a valuable sponsor, providing poster ads and articles throughout the weeks leading up to the event. Many thanks are also due to our other major sponsors, Butler & Butler Realtors and Brittany Park, along with community businesses who displayed our posters throughout Woodinville.
The Woodinville Garden Club provides civic beautification, scholarships, youth gardening programs and support for community charities with the proceeds from the Tour. We would like to express our gratitude to all of our guests and to the businesses that supported us. We look forward to another great season next year. The search for 2016 gardens began this week. Contact www.woodinvillegardenclub.org if you wish to suggest a garden. See you next year!
Ann Parrish Publicity Chair Woodinville Garden Club
SAMMAMISH VALLEY LAND USE
I can understand the frustration of the owners of several businesses who have located in the agricultural district in the Sammamish Valley who now are being informed that their businesses do not conform with King County zoning restrictions. They feel persecuted, some operating for years without any apparent complaints or code enforcement actions by the county. However, rules are rules, and these business owners need to follow them. There is no good reason for establishing a non-conforming use on one’s property when the zoning restrictions are readily available. Were they misled by their realtors? Did they not exercise due diligence in property research? Are they intentionally establishing non-conforming businesses in the hopes that no one will complain or no actions will be taken?
Admittedly, King County has played a part in the feelings of persecution, having taken literally years to begin to investigate code violations. But these business owners need to realize that the Sammamish Valley is an attractive place to be only because we have established rules to prevent inappropriate development of the land. At least King County is waking up to the fact that if we allow every use that even violates the zoning a little bit, it will be a death by a thousand cuts that will inexorably destroy our lovely valley.
And as far as winery owners feeling specifically targeted, this is not the case. There are other types of businesses that have complaints lodged against them, but there are so many wineries in the area that they dominate the business climate outside of the city limits.
John S. Snow Woodinville
I am glad to see steps being taken towards enforcing zoning laws in the Sammamish valley. Woodinville is a great place to visit wine country and enjoy the rural nature of the valley, but the community is losing out when the county does not enforce its zoning codes.
First I must commend the dozens of legally zoned tasting rooms and restaurants in the Hollywood, Industrial, and Wine districts that are fitting good city planning and occupying the festive retail spaces a successful development plan has provided. I value visiting the country roads with fresh air and scenic views of the valley floor.
As enthusiasm grows for more tasting rooms in the valley some prudent entrepreneurs are building their businesses on the coattails of the city’s hard work and good planning. These retail tasting rooms on county-zoned agricultural land aren’t paying city fees, but their business is dependent on city infrastructure. They’re getting an unfair edge over the compliant neighborhood companies and setting a bad precedent for the valley’s rural character. Congestion in town is bad enough; we don’t need more backups from traffic to businesses who aren’t participating in Woodinville’s master plan.
Erik Goheen Kenmore
IMPOSSIBLE TO SELL PROPERTY This is in response to the recent post by Nancy Snyder “Building Houses.” I too am a senior citizen and owner of 2.56 acres in the city of Woodinville, R1 zoning. I purchased my home in 1985 on the North End of Hollywood Hill. I have resigned myself to the fact that Woodinville has made it impossible to sell property or do business within the city limits. I feel sorry for my brother who is the beneficiary of my estate should I pass! Maybe the best revenge would be to leave my acreage to the City of Woodinville and designate that it be used for a park and then they would have to maintain it for life. Let them pay for sidewalks, widening of roads, ditches, lighting and anything else they require to short plat properties. Enough already. Lark Arend Woodinville
I wrote almost a year ago that you cannot leave Woodinville unless you are dead, and now I read that we need to build 2,300 houses in the next years. My experience has been — home developers keep dropping out of contracts with my husband and myself because Woodinville adds on more and more expenses as time moves on, so that yet again, for the fifth time, we are unable to sell our land. Thank you Woodinville for not meeting your house quota. I’m sure King County will start wondering after a while why no one can build a house here, or sell land. Obviously our Building Department is beset by the factors of turning rural land or country land immediately into gridded boredom. And why do we need sidewalks on both sides of the street? This isn’t a densely populated New York, it’s just Woodinville, where anyone can cross a street to use a sidewalk.
It burns me up because I’m ill and probably won’t be able to move after too much longer, anyway. But that is of no interest to anyone here in my community. No, the human factor obviously plays no part when concerted individuals are mad to cut down trees and lay sidewalks and playing fields. Or, perhaps D.R. Horton is the only builder recognized, all others be damned. I would like to know why I can’t sell 2.9 acres of beautiful landscaping and move on to retirement? Woodinville isn’t a community, it’s a vise grip.
Nancy Snyder, Woodinville
SHOPPERS OUTSIDE WOODINVILLE
Regarding the remarks Boundy-Sanders said, the people from outside the city, such as myself, it helps Woodinville’s tax base and the visitors as well.
This is the third time Boundy-Sanders has put her foot in her mouth that I recall. Twice she’s come back and apologized for remarks and I hope she does the same now.
Personally I don’t feel she’s an asset to the City Council.
I strictly shop Woodinville but there may be those that think, “to heck with it,” and drive to Redmond.
Pauline L. Thompson, Woodinville
BOWLING AND SPECIAL NEEDS
The syndicated “Ask Amy” column on July 1 elegantly put “Bowled-Over by PC-ness” who wished to exclude individuals with special needs from their bowling league, neatly in their place. As someone who has personal experience with this exact situation in our own city (Woodinville), I wanted to provide a much needed perspective.
In high school, my younger brother with special needs joined my bowling team and I observed the power of inclusion again, both for him, and for those who got to bowl next to him. I love watching him bowl, not just because he is a legitimately skilled and consistent bowler with a strong sense of justice and observance of the rules – but because he has fun and, as everyone knows, fun is infectious.
My brother is passionate about bowling. He is a better bowler than almost anyone I know because he has worked hard at it. He and his friends with special needs have continued to invest in bowling leagues, lessons and recreational bowling since they met on the bowling team in high school. These connections have led to a lot of personal growth: they are now roommates living independently in their own place (something we were not sure they would be able to do), they learned to take public transportation by taking the bus to get to bowling practice and games and they learned to be responsible by respecting their teammates and never missed a single game for transportation or scheduling conflicts. All of the moral implications and my personal experience aside, I know bowling to be a fun sport and a great equalizer; bowling has very few hard rules that preclude non-skilled bowlers from participating with skilled bowlers. In fact, bowling involves only a handful of basic rules and already allows its participants to take turns and participate as individuals. There is no logical reason to exclude individuals based on physical or cognitive limitations.
Interacting with peers regardless of cognitive or physical ability is important for the self-worth and social development of all people, and not just those with special needs.
Rachel Ullstrom, Woodinville
SAMMAMISH VALLEY AGRICULTURE
Mike Tanksley’s letter to the editor of July 13 outlines the challenge and consequence of growth here in the Sammamish Valley. The burgeoning wine and spirits industry in Washington state has created a mad dash to locate the perfect tasting room in the heart of Woodinville Wine Country. And in the rush, some business owners have sought shortcuts by locating their tasting rooms where not permitted by code, by lack of research or by sheer intent. And Mr. Tanksley is correct that King County has, until recently, turned a blind eye to the issue.
When tasting rooms attempt to locate in rural areas of King County they are often willing to pay a premium price for the location. Because King County has failed to monitor these business openings, no permit process has taken place. No traffic impact studies, no health department reviews, no building or fire permit reviews, no traffic impact mitigation fees. These tasting rooms want to be in close proximity to legitimate businesses but are not willing to participate in due process.
Another outcome of not restricting certain businesses from locating in rural areas is that their tenancy precludes a rural resident from occupying the property. When a much higher price is paid than for other similar rural properties, it eliminates the opportunity for a rural homeowner, farmer or home occupied business owner from purchasing it at fair market value and drives up the cost of rural lands.
The rural lands that abut our beautiful Sammamish Valley are key to the preservation of the agricultural lands. They provide a buffer in the form of parcels where people can live and operate a tractor business or open a fruit stand or a host of other permitted rural land uses. These rural parcels are a “softening” of land-use so that we don’t have non-rural businesses right up against the agriculture lands. If we are to enjoy the bounty of our ag lands, we must be diligent in adhering to zoning regulations in order to protect that which we all love about this place.
I appreciated the recent article highlighting the current working conditions of Northshore’s paraeducators. These conditions limit our ability to help our students be successful. This is my sixth year as a paraeducator in the Special Education Learning Center at Woodinville High School. Prior to this, I worked nine years as a paraeducator with Northshore’s Elementary Advanced Program. In my four-hour job I assist special ed students in their general education classes and Academic Lab classes. However, the needs of special education students do not end after four hours.
The Supreme Court’s ruling supporting the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) is a good decision. It will help thousands of Washingtonians and millions more across the nation; tax credits that now make health insurance affordable have been protected.
My brother, if he were still alive, would have qualified under the ACA for much needed medical attention and pain management. He dealt with failed back surgery pain for 20 years because he could not always afford to see a doctor and buy medicine.
The King v Burwell lawsuit should be considered a message to transform our healthcare system and create a system that would provide help to those like my brother who are faced with financial hardship in order to improve their health. I’m part of the Health Care is a Human Right campaign (healthcareisarightwa.org), a multi-year, grassroots effort to bring a truly universal health care system to Washington, and I encourage others to get involved in their communities. We’ve worked hard to move our health care system into the future, but we must push harder to realize the full promise of the ACA. Tamara Crane Woodinville
Thank you for your coverage and article about the concerns of Northshore Educational Service Professionals! Northshore’s paraeducators, school assistants and nurses have been unfairly underpaid for too long. It is time for the school district to more adequately compensate the dedicated and important work that we do for our students. We deserve better! Kathy Halleran Special Education Paraeducator at Hollywood Hill Elementary, Woodinville
Having lived in the Woodinville area for more than 20 years I have often wondered why nearby cities like Bothell, Redmond and Kirkland grow their business communities, yet Woodinville seems to stagnate. Now I understand. The Woodinville City Council is trying to limit the growth of business.
Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders made this apparent with her comments in rejecting a proposed ordinance to increase the size of allowable speciality food stores. Ms. Boundy-Sanders stated, “Trader Joe’s is a place where people come from some distance to buy large quantities of foods and wines and so on that they carry away in their cars.” Wow, what disaster might befall Woodinville if more people in cars came here to buy things! After stopping at a Trader Joe’s they might swing by Molbak’s and buy a plant or two. Or maybe have lunch at a local restaurant. Clearly in the view of Ms. Boundy-Sanders this would be the beginning of the end for downtown Woodinville.
So I will continue to drive to Totem Lake to shop at Trader Joe’s, and give my tax money to Kirkland. I will continue drive to both Kirkland and Redmond to frequent the many restaurants located there. And soon I will be driving to Bothell to support the many exciting new stores and restaurants opening there.
One a related note, whatever happened to the proposed development near the roundabouts at the base of Hollywood Hill? Is the City Council trying to delay or eliminate this project too? Because you never know, if that project were completed, people actually might come there in their cars to shop and spend money. According to Ms. Boundy-Sanders that would be a disaster. Reed West Woodinville
HOLLYWOOD HILL GRAVEL PIT
As a Hollywood Hill residents since ‘69, I have seen the “gravel pit “across from the Hollywood Elementary and its changes.
It was an empty gravel pit (mostly level), the school ground and horse arena came in and on the other side it became a dump site for a variety of stumps, and builders’ lumber. One could see steam rising from the surface in the winter.
All was not good, however, as there was sinking going on near the top of this hill. For two years now I have witnessed a constant stream of large dump trucks dropping in more soil. Some runs out at the bottom in rainy times, but my concern is that a strong earthquake could send the whole “mountain” down across the road. Dare I say more? I am not a geologist, but this is loose fill without a bedrock. D. Nelson Woodinville
SCHOOL SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS
It is time for the Northshore School District to begin to truly value the members of NESPA. Without these vital support professionals working in our schools, the Northshore School District would function far less effectively than it does now. Members of NESPA provide critical support for, and often work with, our most vulnerable students. NESPA members are the ones that use the Hoyer lifts, they are the ones who change the diapers and they are the ones who are asked to work one-on-one with students with severe cognitive and physical disabilities.
As our local economy improves, higher paying jobs are opening in our community. The NSD must remain competitive in pay and benefits if they wish to retain a qualified and vibrant workforce. NESPA members take their jobs and responsibilities very seriously and they deserve to be treated with dignity and compensated accordingly. John Harley Hammond Kenmore