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Wellington neighbors continue to push back

  • Written by Don Mann
Wellington pic
Photo by Bill Stankus On Tuesday a Snohomish County bulldozer made a pile of rubbish of the Wellington golf course clubhouse.
About 50 concerned Wellington locals with a common interest gathered at the Woodinville Church of Christ last Monday night for an update by the spokespeople of Neighbors to Save Wellington Park, the non-profit group assembled to push back against Snohomish County’s plan to build a mega-sports complex on the 100 acres of rural land where Wellington Hills Golf Course used to be.

There was little new news to report by NSWP — other than the startling revelation that a bulldozer had been parked that morning, poised to knock down the old clubhouse and other out-buildings, unsettling to the group since the county’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist had yet to be delivered, and the County Council had yet to approve the project. (See Letters to the Editor on page 4)

Otherwise the mission of the meeting was threefold: to remind the neighbors to keep the faith as the county’s proposed project was not a “done deal,” to ask them to keep badgering County Council members of their disapproval of the project and to push for monetary donations in order to fund a legal challenge if the council’s vote ultimately did not go their way.

“I want to emphasize we are not opposed to a sports park,” NSWP spokesman Todd Bailey reiterated. “We just feel that the industrial-style sports facility proposed by Snohomish County currently in their master plan does not meet the need and the intent of the Wellington area nor does it meet the need of the Brightwater mitigation monies.”

Background: In 2011 Snohomish County bought the golf course site from the University of Washington with $9 million of the $70 million in Brightwater mitigation funds legally bound for parks in an agreement with King and Snohomish counties.

Bailey said it was the wrong location for such a park, and that the county by its own studies in its comprehensive plan had shown a greater need for a regional sports facility much farther north, maybe in Marysville.

The proposed park in the northern Wellington section of unincorporated Woodinville, as currently designed, would feature, among other amenities, seven athletic fields, four lighted, and over 700 paved parking spots to accommodate major regional and even national youth soccer tournaments.

The traffic impact in the rural area, Bailey stated once again, would be a “nightmare” to the locals, despite the county’s proposed mitigation which involves widening some local country roads, adding a turning lane at its main conjunction at 240th with current thoroughfare and adding some speed bumps.

“We can still influence (county) council on what we have and what we want,” he said. “We still have an opportunity to reshape this park,” noting the group already had an effect in slowing down the county’s fast-track process, which originally sought to break ground in December 2012.

Bailey said prior to the Brightwater mitigation funds were distributed way back, private interest groups were already in cahoots with the county. That may or not be true.

He added, in terms of traffic impacts: “Before Costco was built it was determined that the traffic on 240th would be insignificant. We had approximately 300 cars traveling through there on 240th.  After Costco was built that went up to 3,000 cars day.

“With this (proposed) park we’re expecting on (proposed) tournament weekends to have between 6,000 and 10,000 cars traveling on the rural roads here.”

Those who wish to contribute to the cause can do so at http://neighborstosavewellingtonpark.blogspot.com.

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