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.

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