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Letters to the Editor - July 9, 2012

  • Written by Readers

POLITICAL SIGNS

Open letter to the thieves and vandals attacking campaign signs in the 1st Legislative District:

It is election season once again and sadly, as in past elections, someone is targeting the campaign signs of Dawn McCravey, candidate for state Senate in the 1st Legislative District.

Perhaps the thieves and vandals do not realize that their actions are illegal. RCW 29A.84.040 states that “a person who removes or defaces lawfully placed political advertising including yard signs or billboards without authorization is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable to the same extent as a misdemeanor that is punishable under RCW 9A.20.021.

The defacement or removal of each item constitutes a separate violation.”

The sentence for stealing or vandalizing campaign signs is up to 90 days in jail, or a fine of up to a thousand dollars, or both imprisonment and a fine for each violation.

Beyond just the legal ramifications from these unlawful acts is the fact that by attacking the campaign signs of a candidate you don’t support you only succeed in making the other candidates look bad.

You see, when you steal or vandalize Dawn McCravey’s signs, it gives the appearance that one of her opponents is behind your actions.

Your sleazy behavior in regard to Dawn’s signs reflects badly on Guy Palumbo and Rosemary McAuliffe.

It makes them look guilty. It’s just bad politics no matter how you look at it.

Berta Phillips, Bothell


Could someone remind me again: in the upcoming election, are we suppose to vote for the person with the most signs, or the one with the best design?

Karen Holt, Woodinville

Guest Editorial - Neighbors to Save Wellington Park

  • Written by Ted Pankowski and Todd Bailey, members of “Neighbors to Save Wellington Park”

Frustrated by master planning for Wellington Park near Woodinville, community leaders are forming “Neighbors to Save Wellington Park.”

The group has hired an attorney to counter plans by the Snohomish County Parks Department  to convert the 100-acre Wellington Golf Course site into a regional sports complex.

The attorney is Richard Aramburu of Aramburu & Eustis,LLP  practicing  administrative, environmental and land use law, including litigation and appeals under Washington state’s Growth Management Act (GMA) and the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

Aramburu also represents Concerned Neighbors of Wellington (CNW), a  King  County based group fighting the nearby proposed Wood Trails development.

Earlier in the year, Snohomish County bought the Wellington Golf Course site from the University of Washington with $9 million of the $70 million in Brightwater mitigation funds agreed to by King and Snohomish counties as far back as 2005.

Neighbors in King and Snohomish counties first heard of the Snohomish County Parks Department proposals for the golf course in a public meeting called by Parks at the Brightwater Education Center, May 8, 2012.

In the last two months there have been occasional public and numerous small-group meetings soliciting public input in the development of a master plan to be presented to Snohomish County Council on July 10.

Representatives of “Neighbors to Save Wellington Park” say that the process is way too fast and that the proposed master plan for a  regional sports complex at this specific site raises fundamental  questions about the process:

1) What was the public site selection process that identified the site as the most  suitable location for the proposed use?

A regional sports complex at Wellington or anywhere in south Snohomish County, is not included In Snohomish County’s Comprehensive Parks Plan or as part of any publicly-identified “needs study.” No acquisition of park property nor approval of a master plan [can] occur unless preceded by a public site selection process.

2) How can a regional sports complex, to include commercial buildings and paved parking with a footprint as large as the adjacent Costco development, be located outside of an Urban    Growth Boundary required by the Growth Management Act?

The Wellington Golf Course site and adjacent neighborhoods are designated as   “rural” lands on county land use maps.

3) Have adjacent communities, such as the Woodinville, been formally notified that a major development is planned at a location affecting city transportation and other infrastructure?

If not, why has this necessary requirement taken almost eight years to be realized?

4) Why were transportation, drainage, community disruption, environmental and other limitations not accounted for in a feasibility plan before the development of a Master Plan for the site? It appears that related work by Snohomish County’s Public Works and other departments have to now “catch up” to what many consider a “done deal.”

5) What will be the process for reviews under the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA) and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)?

Word in the community is that the any additional reviews of a regional sports complex may be  “SEPA Light” to avoid complete environmental analysis and skirt “concurrency” requirements of the GMA that may otherwise torpedo the development of the park.

This course of action does not seem in the best interest of south Snohomish County and Woodinville communities!!

“Neighbors to Save Wellington Park” believes that the Wellington Golf Course site offers a wonderful potential for both active and passive park uses without the destructive impacts raised during the current master planning process and its emphasis on a regional sports complex.

For more information on how to get involved, contact Todd Bailey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To contribute or [make a] pledge to a Wellington Park Defense Fund, send your check to “Neighbors to Save Wellington Park”  Margaret Philip, treasurer, 15110 NE 204th St. Woodinville, WA  98072.

Letters to the Editor - June 25, 2012

  • Written by Readers

HIGH SCHOOL PARKING


It has been brought to my attention that the soccer field that the contractors turned into a “temporary” parking lot for the students during construction [at Woodinville High School] is now going to be turned back into a soccer field, which by the school’s own admission does not use.It is more for the community.

With the lack of parking for the students and the cost of returning that area to a field, I would think that we could spend our school money on better projects.

The parking has been an issue for many years and it keeps getting worse.

The school says they encourage the students to ride the bus and limit parking passes, so the parking extends to the very end of 136th.

If you are at the school when it lets out, look at the amount of students who are riding in those diesel-guzzling buses — not very many.

We need to stop the unnecessary spending of our tax dollars and try to come up with a solution.

We can start by leaving the “temporary” parking as it is and allow more students to park there. You can not force these students to take the bus by limiting parking. It just causes your neighbors to have to deal with their mailboxes and driveways being blocked — not to mention dealing with the tons of trash the kids toss out of their cars daily on 136th.

Sindi Giancoli, Woodinville


HATS OFF TO GRADUATES


As 396 Woodinville High School seniors turned their tassels at Comcast Arena June 13th, our young Falcon men and women moved into the reality of being high school graduates ready for their futures.

It is with pleasure that the administration and staff of Woodinville High School extend their thanks to the families and community for partnering with us and for their contributions that led to the success of the graduating class of 2012.

These graduates represented us very well, displaying respect and Falcon spirit that will lay a foundation of excellence and leadership for future Woodinville graduates.

Repeatedly we heard from Comcast Event Center staff about how great the behavior of our students was and as one person said, “They are just great kids!”

All the kudos, accomplishments and pride shown couldn’t have happened without this partnership.

Special thanks are also owed to our business partners, Flower World, Inc., for their contribution of stage plant decorations; Woodinville Florist for donating the podium arrangement; Jostens for caps, gowns, diplomas and program covers; Flowers By George for student flowers; and to our dedicated staff and volunteers for the numerous contributions of time and energy whenever and wherever efforts were needed.

It is a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of the Woodinville community working with you to help shape our future generations.  Hats off to you graduates, parents, guardians and supporters of the class of 2012!

Kurt S. Criscione, WHS principal


APPALLED, WORRIED, CONCERNED


As a resident of the Wellington area for over 18 years, I have seen substantial growth in the area.

To date, I have attended all the meetings that were public knowledge to understand the development of the golf course.

We are being told by the officials of Snohomish everything is a done deal, but our input is being considered and appreciated. Really??

When Brightwater was being developed and we were told we had a voice, we looked over Brightwater’s plans. We were shown soccer fields right on Brightwater’s property. There are none today.

We are now being told that with the purchase of Brightwater, there was a contingency written that there be rec fields allocated by the development in the area — all put together in 2006 without knowledge of the community.

Now we are looking at plans put together by the Snohomish planning department that are showing the golf course development as a huge [complex with] eight soccer fields with lights, parking lots for 800 cars, a BMX building, and an indoor soccer arena — all pay for play.

Is this a way to get around the technical commercial use of the land?

WHO is thinking of the traffic and community??

We already have unsafe conditions off of 156th to the elementary school and junior high school.

There are signs at the beginning of the street [stating]  local traffic only, and a crosswalk was put in at the insistence of the community to slow cars down for kids crossing the street.

Are you seriously thinking of how 800 parking stalls are going to manage into a neighborhood?

We already have issues with the grade on 240th  for sight and weather conditions, but the roads pouring into this area are filled with children and school traffic, and you are going to raise the traffic to a higher volume?

Where and who is doing the traffic analysis? I would like to see that document. When we ask for these items from Snohomish officials, we get the run-around.

What about the noise ordinance? They are making these lighted fields, dusk to 10 at night with cars coming in and out.

Of course we have all heard the news from our local real estate brokers on how property values will go down a minimum of 15 percent.

Is this our taxpayer money at work or some political move for Snohomish to find a way to make money?

I might mention these are all PAY FOR PLAY fields and buildings.

Is this seriously the best use of this land?

That is the best you can do for the community?

I am very very concerned about the studies being done on behalf of this development and the understanding of how this is being treated.

Whose interests are being served?

Why are they not putting this type of commercial development in an industrial area set up for this — not a neighborhood with current traffic issues.

I will raise another point: Does everyone know there are great horned owls, coyotes, deer, bobcats, pileated woodpeckers, to name a few of the wild life, that exist on this golf course today?

Does this matter? Where are the environmentalists? Are these studies being done?

Teri Derr, Woodinville

Letters to the Editor - June 18, 2012

  • Written by Readers

There was an agenda item on the calendar for the June 12 meeting, but Liz Aspen moved to have the discussion item regarding the UGB removed from the agenda.  Aspen stated that she didn’t want Woodinville staff spending time and resources on an issue brought by private citizens that was now in the hands of King County. I guess Liz doesn’t have any idea how many countless hours of Woodinville staff time have been spent on meetings, consultation, editing reports, phone calls and emails between the representatives of the non-resident property owners and Woodinville staff. This was all to benefit non-residents in their push to King County for UGB adjustments. This is really a tragedy and a rip-off for Woodinville taxpayers. Woodinville tax dollars are being spent to further the financial gain of a few non-residents, but when it came time for Woodinville residents to voice their opinion, Liz Aspen, Paulette Bauman, Scott Hageman and Les Rubstello slapped Woodinville voters in the face and shut out the very people they are supposed to represent. My tax dollars that were spent to assist Talasaea Consultanting Inc. with their documents for presentation to King County all on behalf of non-resident property owners. This sucks. Voting time will be here sooner than you think, and I will be voting to remove the council members who voted to shut out the taxpayers

Dale Knapinski, Woodinville


Ever wonder what it feels like to be dead-center of a bureaucratic blitzkrieg? May 8, 2012, was the first time we were told that Snohomish County was replacing the Wellington Hills Golf Course with a “regional sports complex.”

Since then we’ve been attempting to come to grips with this radical proposal.  According to Snohomish County’s representatives, the proposed sports complex is a slam-dunk deal and they want  plans in place by the end of July 2012 so they can proceed with construction. This is definitely a fast-tracked project.

Unfortunately, I and most of my neighbors didn’t know, back in 2006 that we needed to get politically organized. That’s when mitigation funds were made available to Snohomish County from King County because of the Brightwater sewage plant.

But special interest groups know how mitigation funds are dispersed and they’ve been lobbying since 2006 to make the Wellington Hills Golf Course a place for their needs.

Here’s what I’ve witnessed since May 2012: Two public meetings sponsored by Snohomish Parks and Recreation (held at Brightwater) and about a half-dozen informal meetings, held in people’s homes.

As far as I can tell, none of these meetings were recorded or documented in any official manner. What I’ve gleaned from the various neighborhood meetings:

• The proposed regional sports complex is primarily for organized sports and it is meant to make money for the county.

• There will be several commercially operated indoor sports facilities. A 50,000- square-foot building for soccer and a 60,000-square-foot building for indoor bicycling (the county’s reps say this building is for “mountain bikes”?)  I emphasize, these are commercial “Pay to Play” businesses.

• There will be an array of outdoor poled lights mainly surrounding the 6 or 8 artificial turf fields.

• There will be two paved parking lots for approximately 750 cars and perhaps additional parking in the now grassy area on the north side of 240th.

• 240th Street (the uphill street opposite of Costco) will be modified to accommodate one or two traffic circles.

• I’ve heard no plans (other than generalities) concerning traffic issues and congestion at 240th and Highway 9 or at 240th and 156th Ave. (also known as 75th Ave SE or Bostian Road).

• Apparently there are no plans to extend the 156th bike path now existing in King County and which ends at the King/Sno line.

• There appear to be plans to widen 240th from Rt. 9 to the top of the hill, including a sidewalk. I’ve gotten no answer about the widening project — does it mean the removal of the tall, bowed concrete wall at the railroad tracks?

• 240th was build for local access use and it’s a steep winding narrow road with plenty of blind spots. When it snows this is a very dangerous road. Will the steep grade be changed? How safe will this road be when family cars queue up waiting to enter the complex area?

• The county (and the sports complex architect) aren’t certain how many of the 90-year-old Doug fir and western red cedar trees, which dot the golf course, will be saved.

• The county (and the sports complex architect) expect to grade and fill the current hilly, sloping terrain.

• Some time ago, the county set up an ad-hoc planning committee for the proposed complex. This committee is composed, in the main, of people selected by the county and associated with various organized sports groups. This ad-hoc committee meets 10 a.m. Fridays, making it difficult for working people to attend.

What do I want? For starters, the idea behind the Brightwater mitigation funds was to create a regional park near the Brightwater facility. There’s no specific mitigation requirement for a sports complex. The county Parks and Recreation Dept. may be gung ho to slam-dunk this deal, but they’re moving too fast and furious.  There are too many unanswered questions regarding the purpose, the design, the environmental impact, safety issues and the negative impact to both the local neighborhood and surrounding areas.

That includes traffic and safety in areas beyond the proposed sports complex, for example, increased traffic on 156th, congestion at the intersection of 156th and the Woodinville-Duvall Road and Hwy. 9 from Woodinville to Costco.

The neighborhood would love to have a park — a picturesque, natural looking park which invites one and all to enjoy grassy fields, trees, the view and the calm of a traditional styled park.

And, regarding sports activities  — they’re fine, just keep them reasonable and in scale with a residential neighborhood.

We don’t want an overly-developed, sports-centric complex with large parking lots, excessive noise, huge commercial buildings, the nightly glow of ball field lights and the frustration and unsafe conditions caused by constant traffic snarl.

A final note: The Wellington Hill Golf Course is one of the older landmarks in Woodinville. It has been here for nearly 90 years and for this area, that’s almost heritage status.

Bill Stankus, Woodinville

Letters to the Editor - June 11, 2012

  • Written by Readers

I wanted to thank Woodinville City Council and city officials for hosting the first professional meeting I have attended on the Wellington Sports Compound. It was nice to finally see that false promises could not be made and some questions were finally answered.  Tom Teigen (Snohomish County Parks director) was finally asked direct questions and not allowed to dance around or divert to a different subject.  Unfortunately many of his answers were I don’t know or you would have to talk to a different department for the answer. Council meeting was a true public form and one which was professionally documented.  Up to this point meetings [have been] in neighbor’s homes or public have not been recorded and could not be called open legal meetings. Anything could be promised and no documentation was recorded to be able to prove the facts.

The public meetings so far have been one-sided and the internet forms have required a person to join a special group to be able to post a comment. Tom Teigen has referred to the great public response on the internet sites at several meetings but has never referred to what great things are being said or where to find this information posted by the public.  It seems the parks department knows better then the neighbors what we want in our neighborhood.

“We know what you want and you are going to like it,” said Tom Teigen.

It seems people in residential neighborhoods with a lot of green open space want a pay-to-play sports compound with commercial operated for-profit industrial sports facilities.

What ever happened to asking us what we want in our neighborhood with the money given by Brightwater to help mitigate any negative effects that the sewage plant had on its neighbors?

What we want in our residential neighborhood is natural green space designed for all ages to enjoy the beauty of the wildlife and serene quiet calm of the area.

Why destroy this last piece of natural Wellington Forest and force the Wellington wildlife out by cutting the old growth trees down, bulldozing the area flat, putting in paved parking lots, artificial turf and lighting.

Unfortunately  it seems that many questions are still unanswered.

The good thing is that the concerns of the neighborhood and a voice for the environment are finally recorded correctly on public record thanks to the City of Woodinville.

Todd Bailey, Woodinville