City council clarifies sewer regulations

  • Written by Don Mann
The Woodinville City Council made one vote of significance at its regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting, unanimously passing Ordinance No. 550, which amends the zoning code to clarify sanitary sewer regulations.

As background, Senior Planner Erin Martindale explained that under current code there were two sets of regulations, one for existing lots and one for new lots.

Regarding existing lots, she said, under current code new development was required to be served by an adequate public or private sewage disposal system, was “encouraged” to hook up to sewer, but was permitted to use a septic system as long as it met with Seattle-KingCounty Public Health approval.

Further, current code wording said sewer “may be required” for expansion of existing developments that are within 330 feet of the sewage system — another ambiguity that was problematic.

New lots, under current code, must be hooked up to either septic or sewer but subdivisions that create lots that are less than one acre in size must connect to sewer if it’s within 330 feet of the development.

The proposed changes in the ordinance, she said, remove the specific regulation from the subdivision code regarding hookup to sewer. Instead, the subdivision code provides a reference to sewer regulations in the zoning code.

The proposed zoning code amendment clarifies that hookup to sewer for expansion of existing developments is only required if the development cannot demonstrate that it has an approved and functioning septic system.

It further clarifies that hookup to sewer for subdivisions is required when lots are less than one acre and the sewer system is within 330 feet of the proposed development.

With little discussion, the council passed the ordinance 6-0, with Councilmember Paulette Bauman absent.

Following that, the council held a public hearing to take testimony for Ordinance No. 540, which established a moratorium on certain land uses within the General Business District (GB) and Central Business District (CBD) and was passed unanimously on January 8.

Under state law, however, a public hearing was required, even though the deal had been sealed.

Only one concerned citizen spoke, but the local small-business owner was vociferous, urging council to lift the moratorium immediately, arguing that the council’s prohibition of various types of businesses within the CBD causes economic harm to the city.

He argued that banning specific businesses “shows the council is disconnected from the reality of the downtown core,” which he said serves the needs of the “decidedly middle class citizens of the city” and not the wine tourists or those who drive from other towns to visit Molbaks.

He questioned the prohibition of automotive services and a gun range in the downtown core, saying the former was a fundamental need for the citizens and the latter would bring new visitors and additional revenue.

“Deciding who should be tenants on property should not be the purview of temporarily elected politicians,” he said, adding that recently signed downtown leases “clearly demonstrate the council’s personal desires for the city is out of touch with reality.”

The speaker was permitted to exceed the three-minute public comment limit and finished with this: “We need to think more about the basic needs of the citizens and stop placing so much emphasis on wine tourists and other upper scale visitors.”

On that note the public hearing was closed and Mayor Bernie Talmas said no further action was necessary.

Earlier in a “special meeting,” the council conducted an executive session to discuss “current or potential litigation with legal counsel regarding the appeal of Ordinance No. 532 (regarding amendments to the city’s density regulations) to the growth management hearing board, and the Wellington Hills Park development project in Snohomish County.”

Next week the council will discuss issues regarding the possible ballot measure for the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse, hold a discussion of the Eastside Rail Corridor and review a Parks & Recreation Commission’s recommendation regarding neighborhood parks and homeowner’s associations.

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