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Fear of overdevelopment in the air at council meeting

  • Written by Don Mann
Dozens of citizens filled the Woodinville City Council chambers and several spoke in favor of Ordinance No.532 during a public hearing on amending residential density regulations to eliminate the possibility of large subdivisions in the city’s neighborhoods.

“We need to support the spirit of R-1 zoning,” one citizen said.

Over a year ago the council approved a docket item to consider changes to Woodinville Municipal Code (WMC) 21.34 and 21.36 regarding the transfer of density credits in single family residential zones.

Transfer of credits, in current code as written, can allow developers to build more than one dwelling unit in the R-1 zones which typically permit one dwelling unit per acre.

Last May the council passed a moratorium on these code provisions while they were under review by the city’s planning commission.

In October of 2012 the moratorium was extended and is scheduled to expire on May 3.

The new ordinance will delete all code provisions that allow transfer of density credits or density bonuses as well as establish minimum lot sizes in single family residential zones.

Currently there is no regulation in place establishing minimum lot sizes.

Proposed minimum lot sizes include 35,000 square feet in R-1 zones,9,000 square feet in R-4 zones, 6,000 square feet in R-6 zones and5,000 square feet in R-8 zones.

One developer spoke against the ordinance, calling it “penalizing” to developers.

Under existing code, density is calculated based on the area of the lot minus areas dedicated for public right of way, access easements, storm and water easements, recreation space and critical areas.

City staff has recommended density calculated based on area of the lot minus area that is submerged by water. Citing a need for additional study time, council will continue the public hearing at its regularly scheduled April 3 meeting.

Later, council addressed a late-added item expressing concern of Resolution No. 414 regarding annexation that went unsigned by Mayor Bernie Talmas, as well as the mayor’s refusal to read a proclamation from Evergreen Hospital Medical Center declaring March 9 as “Evergreen Healthcare Day.”

At its March 6 meeting, council passed by 5-2 vote a resolution supporting expansion of King County’s urban growth boundaries which could lead to potential Woodinville annexation areas. Talmas and Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders voted against it, and the mayor refused to sign it citing his objection to the county’s “factual inaccuracies” made in its written representation.

“My not signing was not a veto,” he reminded his colleagues, and the resolution stands and is on record, despite his betrayal of council standard procedure.

“Yet your signature confirms city council consensus,” Councilmember Paulette Bauman said.

The mayor was also rebuked for his failure to read the Evergreen proclamation, citing it would be supporting a business.

The mayors of Bothell, Duvall, Kenmore, Kirkland and Redmond encouraged their citizens to recognize Evergreen’s 40th anniversary of service as a public hospital.

Councilmembers Liz Aspen and Les Rubstello each said they were “embarrassed” by the mayor’s omission.

Later the council approved the eight-point Parks and Recreation Commission 2012 work plan which will assist staff to update its parks, recreation and open space plan within existing staff and financial resources; assist staff to create a new trail master aplan to guide future development of recreational trails in the city; review plans to include concessions at the Sports Fields; review first-year Sports Fields operations, maintenance, usage and rates; review the 2013-18 Capital Improvement Project (CIP) list; review first-year operations of the YMCA at the Carol Edwards Center; review opportunities for city events including a reformatted Woodinville Summer Concerts series; and review the Civic Center Master plan as it relates to the renovation of the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse.

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