Local News

Coalition fighting UPDs kicks off campaign

coalition by Jeff Switzer
The newly-formed Coalition for Public Trust (CPT) held its first meeting Nov. 21, giving an update on their collective efforts to fight the Urban Planned Developments northeast of Redmond: Blakely Ridge and Northridge.
   "We are very serious and determined to stop the UPDs," Coalition President Steve O'Donnell told the 200-member audience.
   "We will use every means and avenue available to us to accomplish this goal."
   O'Donnell believes involving the community is a critical aspect of their campaign.
   CPT has placed newspaper advertising, distributed flyers, posted professional signs, has a Web page on the internet (http://www.morsepr.com/C/Coalition.html), and will be on radio station KVI.
   The coalition currently has two appeals in motion:
   The first is before the county council appealing the hearing examiner's report and recommendation for approval of the Blakely Ridge UPD.
   The other is a request for reconsideration of the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board's October decision regarding the legality of the urban designation of the UPDs under the Growth Management Act (GMA).
   CPT has two attorneys on board: one to represent them at the county appeal on Dec. 4; and one to represent them at their request for reconsideration of the GMA ruling.
   Curt Smelser, with the law firm of Williams, Kastner and Gibbs, introduced himself and gave the audience a glimpse of the legal defense he is planning at the county level.
   "I sue government." Smelser said. "That makes me a very popular person."
   He said that at this point it is difficult to defeat the project, "but you can shake it to get what you want."
   Members of CPT encouraged the public to join Smelser at the Dec. 4 appeals hearing before the King County Council, providing directions to the courthouse and requesting that 200 or more people to attend.
   The county council may be prepared at that time to give their decision whether or not to approve Blakely Ridge.
   While this issue has proved to be the catalyst to unite these grassroots organizations, their larger aim is to create chapters in each of the 13 county council districts.
   These chapters will then evaluate the level at which the councilmembers represent their districts on issues such as property rights, the environment and public trust, acting in much the same fashion as the Municipal League, objectively rating them on a point scale.