Local News

King County Council finishing UPD ordinances

City of Redmond drafts letter against UPDs

UPDs sign

Opponents to the Bear Creek UPDs have posted several signs urging residents to fight the developments.
Photo by Lisa Allen/Woodinville Weekly.

UPD ordinances by Jeff Switzer, staff reporter
BEAR CREEK--In an effort to bring the two Bear Creek urban planned developments (UPDs) into compliance with state law, two ordinances received a "do pass" recommendation from King County's Growth Management, Housing and Environment committee last week.
   Both ordinances, one amending the Comprehensive Plan, the other bringing the zoning into compliance with the amendments, designate the Blakely Ridge and Northridge UPDs as a "fully contained community" (FCC) comprised of two sites.
   The ordinances passed by a vote of 6-1. Councilmember Brian Derdowski voted against the measures.
   Public hearings on the ordinances are scheduled for Feb. 26 (after press time) in front of the County Council at 9:30 a.m. at the King County Courthouse. The ordinances address the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board decision handed down Dec. 2.
   The decision instructs the county to delete the Bear Creek urban growth "island" where Blakely Ridge and Northridge are located, make it a fully contained community as defined by state law, or justify why it should remain intact.
   Council discussions were brief, though Derdowski said he voted against the measures because they "did not comply with the spirit of the Growth Management Hearings board decision."

Redmond Mayor breaks tie in favor of sending anti-UPD letter
   The Redmond City Council voted 3-3 Feb. 20 to send a letter to Jane Hague, chair of the King County Council, indicating their desire to keep Blakely Ridge and Northridge zoned rural rather than an FCC because of the projected impacts of the mini-cities. Mayor Rosemary Ives broke the tie, voting in favor of sending the letter.
   The letter also relates the council's concern that the FCC will not be fully contained, as they "require utilities not available on site, but must be extended through a rural area, thereby threatening the long-term preservation of that area."
   The council's vote was split 3-3, with Council President Richard Grubb and Councilmembers Misenar and Denton voting in favor of sending the letter; voting against were Councilmembers Cole, McCormick, and Dorning. Councilmember Jim Robinson was excused.
   Ives says she has consistently opposed the UPDs since the late 1980s, when she was on the council, always believing they were inconsistent with the Growth Management Act. "Over the past eight years, we have learned so much more about the impacts of growth and support growth management," said Ives. "We would like the people on the King County Council to truly be thoughtful about this. All of the suburban cities have stepped up to the mark in accepting increased density. It's time for King County to live by the same rules."
   The three-page letter covers several issues. One contends that the urban designation would undermine the purpose of growth management.
   The letter also states the designation would threaten the surrounding rural areas and, while the Blakely Ridge site is vested at one-acre plats, there is no assurance a certain number of lots can be achieved.
   The letter also argues that the county's staff memo implies the UPDs are appropriately urban because they are close to Redmond's city limits, even though there is a three-mile area between the two "through which urban services must be extended if the UPDs are to develop."
   Blakely Ridge and Northridge plan to develop only portions of their urban designated sites, combining for 3,750 units, 8,203 people, and 5,441 jobs. The Bear Creek Community Plan allows for future development up to 7,812 units, 17,734 people, and 6,879 jobs.
   Council action is required by Mar. 15. Several grass-roots organizations, however, have lawsuits pending.