Heavy day at city council meeting

  • Written by Don Mann
The democratic process was at work as the Woodinville City Council continued the public hearing for proposed Ordinance No. 532 regarding residential density regulations and minimum lot sizes for land developers.

It was the third public hearing on the ordinance which will be continued at the June 5 meeting, without approval of first-reading in sight.

Woodinville’s Development Services Director Hal Hart began the proceedings with some history of the item and spoke on city staff’s proposed amendments to current regulations.

Hart recommended the repeal of three sections of current code: (1) density incentives in subdivision code; (2) residential density incentives and (3) the transfer of residential density credits.

He said he believes the proposed ordinance eliminates current loopholes developers may use to manipulate overbuilding, particularly in R-1 areas.

Hart said protection for critical areas — non-buildable areas containing land slopes and water hazards — are still in place, and that there would be no impacts to the production of affordable housing in proposed central business district zones.

He talked about reducing the calculations of mathematical fractions in current code set in place for developers to eliminate net density.

The public, however, did not appear to buy into what the development specialist was selling.

A half-dozen concerned citizens — all of them with Wellington neighborhood addresses for the record — spoke in lockstep in opposition to the ordinance, citing a litany of anti-Ordinance No. 532 grievances: preservation of septic tanks and protection from sewer hookups; the perceived punishment of R-1 neighborhoods more than others; further manipulation of critical areas to benefit developers that will produce “cluster” in the neighborhood; and the lack of the city’s attention paid to the nearly $700,000 lawsuit versus Phoenix Development the Concerned Neighbors of Wellington (CNW) massively contributed to and won in the June 2010 Supreme Court decision which provided Woodinville self-determination in its growth.

Clearly, the CNW people are opposed to the ordinance.

Earlier in the meeting Councilmember Art Pregler requested the council revisit its earlier decision to support Ordinance No. 414, which supports annexation of unincorporated areas.

He said, as a new council member, he was under the impression based on staff-provided information the process was fully vetted in public, but came to the conclusion it was not so — via a series of public comments.

It was then offered by Mayor Bernie Talmas — and agreed upon by the council group — that the item would be reconsidered at the next available time.

Also, without fanfare, the council unanimously agreed alcohol might be brought in — and could be sold  — at the new summer concert series proposed and accepted for Wilmot Park.

Stay tuned for that.

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