Agricultural land use issue raised over proposed fire station
by Beverly Schoen & Woodinville Weekly staff
Opposition has surfaced over the proposed siting of a Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District station on a three-acre parcel purchased by the district last June in the Sammamish Valley.
The parcel is located on the South Bypass, southwest of the140th Avenue NE intersection, south of downtown Woodinville. The district paid $4 per square foot including closing costs for the site.
The property lies within the King County Agricultural Production District and has a Rural 2-5 zoning. The construction of a fire facility will require a conditional use permit from King County.
According to one Woodinville group, a fire facility is incompatible with the current use of the parcel and threatens to "introduce intense development onto irreplaceable agricultural lands."
During the Mar. 4 fire commissioners meeting, Claudia M. Newman, an attorney from the firm of Bricklin & Gendler, LLP, representing the newly-formed Friends of Sammamish Valley, submitted a letter to the commissioners detailing the group's concerns about the building of a fire station on the property and encouraging the commissioners to reconsider the project.
Architectural drawings for the proposed building were presented at the meeting. The fire station will replace Station 32, which is presently located next to the Sammamish Valley Grange on 140th NE. The proposed station would be staffed full time and, according to the fire district, would reduce response time for downtown, Hollywood Hill, and portions of the Kingsgate area.
The commissioners discussed going forward with the application for a conditional use permit but tabled the decision until Commissioner Ben May had an opportunity to talk to Dave Shipway of the Northshore Youth Soccer Association.
Last September, the Woodinville Weekly reported that the Northshore Youth Soccer Association had expressed concern over the fire district purchase. NYSA had been working for some time with King County to plan for and build new soccer and baseball fields, and a possible community garden, on 44 acres in the Sammamish Valley that included the parcel purchased by the fire district.
"The people in our district made a decision that they wanted a fire station downtown and provided us with a mission and the funding to build it in the last bond issue. It is the commissioners' responsibility to carry it out," said Commissioner James O'Dell last week.
"No matter where we select a site, we can expect some opposition. The parcel on the South Bypass puts us right on a major access. It is an ideal location for a quick response to the high density. The building is designed to be low in profile, and we will only develop up to 40% of the acreage. We want to work with the community," O'Dell said.
The next fire district commissioners meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 18.