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Council sets priorities for 2014

  • Written by Briana Gerdeman

The City Council wrestled with issues like the “conflict between semi trucks and tutus in our industrial districts” in an effort to set priorities for the rest of the year at last week’s Council meeting.

The Council approved an amended 2014 docket list with 55 items — two urgent priority, 19 high priority, 18 medium priority and 16 low priority items. However, the Council usually can only complete 10 to 20 items per year, City Manager Richard Leahy said.

Both urgent items are ones that affect specific business owners. The prospective owners of Coastal Cycleworks bike shop are waiting on a proposal to allow on-street parking to count toward required parking in the Old Town area.

Tim Schriever, who’s involved with the Apple Farm Village development in the tourist district, asked the Council to change current standards that limit impervious surfaces to 50 percent of hotel sites in the tourist district. He’s planning a mixed-use development with retail and restaurants on the first floor and hotels above, but says the development isn’t feasible under the city’s regulations.

He cites the Woodinville Master Plan, which says restaurants and retail need a steady stream of customer to thrive.

“Dining and shopping activities depend on people being around long enough to dine and shop, in addition to visiting the prime tourist attraction,’ which is the wineries down there,” Schriever said. “Similarly, lodging tends to locate where there’s something to do and enough people to keep it overnight.”

The Council moved the docket item in question from medium priority to urgent. The Council also added a high priority item to implement low impact development standards, a state classification. The Council also added a medium priority item to update purpose statements for districts.

Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders, who made the motion, said that under the current purpose statements, for example, the city’s General Business District could become “one long line of car dealerships.”

The Council added another medium priority item to designate wildlife corridors. The city’s 2008 Comprehensive Plan update created “wildlife mobility lines,” said Boundy-Sanders, but she suggested formally defining them as wildlife corridors.

“This is all about preserving Northwest woodland character, preserving the wildlife corridors, and it has the side benefit of preserving trees on the landslide hazard areas that I’ve talked about so often, the erosion hazard areas and steep slope areas,” she said. “So it will keep people safe as well as wildlife.”

Councilmember Les Rubstello argued against creating wildlife corridors.

“I remember very clearly that the environmental consultant wasn’t able to find any wildlife corridors,” he said. “And they looked at all the mammals and the birds and the frogs and whatnot, and they just said there weren’t any out there that they could identify. That was the word we got from the scientists, so why we’d want to create them when the best available science says there aren’t any is kind of playing fast and loose with the results of that study.”
The Council added a low priority item to the docket to define “bikini barista stands” as sexually oriented businesses and restrict sexually oriented businesses to certain parts of town.
Boundy-Sanders proposed adding and removing several other docket items, which the Council didn’t approve. Those included several items to deal with non-industrial uses in the industrial district, eliminating the office zone, averaging stream buffers, increasing stores sizes in the heart of downtown to allow retailers like Trader Joe’s, clarifying parking rules, reviewing critical areas in the Comprehensive Plan and annexing the Sammamish River Valley.

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