Local News

County changes UPDs to a 'Fully Contained Community'

UPDs changed by Jeff Switzer
Complying with the remand from the Growth Management Hearings Board, the Metropolitan King County Council passed an ordinance 9-4 on Mar. 11, amending the county's 1994 Comp Plan and redesignating the two urban planned development (UPD) sites in the Bear Creek area as a fully contained community (FCC) comprised of two sites.
   A second ordinance, changing the zoning code to comply with the comprehensive plan amendments, passed 8-5. The county had until Mar. 15 to either 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.
   "We are not in any way changing what will be built on the ground," said Councilmember Chris Vance. "We are not opening up the floodgates to FCC designations."
   Voting against the measures were Councilmembers Louise Miller, Brian Derdowski, Maggi Fimia, and Greg Nickels. Councilmember Ron Sims voted for the Comp Plan change but against the zoning amendment.
   Derdowski took issue with the manner in which the county has shifted the sites to an FCC. "From the very start, all of the discussions have been how to make the UPDs fly," said Derdowski, who felt there was an obvious lack of public involvement in designating these properties as an FCC. "This has been a very thinly-veiled attempt. If the UPDs fail in court, then they have something to fall back on."

Miller votes against measure
   Councilmember Louise Miller, in whose district the developments would be built, believes the FCC designation was meant to recognize the needs of rural towns, such as Carnation, Duvall, and North Bend, to allow some growth for the future expected populations they'd need to take care of.
   "It was the growth management committee's choice to go with the FCC designation as one of the options given in the remand," said Miller. "The county had already decided not to use the FCC designations."
   Miller said she disliked the fact that all of the remand issues were addressed in one ordinance, as she supported some of the amendments to the ordinance regarding other issues in the county, but voted against the FCC designation. "We drew our urban/rural line much farther west than these properties," Miller said.
   Miller asked legal staff whether the one-acre alternatives at the Blakely Ridge site were vested. Friends of the Law has maintained that the one-acre alternative in the Blakely Ridge environmental impact statement is invalid. Chuck Maduell, senior deputy prosecuting attorney with the county, gave his opinion that the one-acre plats are vested as of1988.
   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.
   The Growth Management Hearings Board is expected to hold a hearing within the next month to determine whether the county's decision complies with the remand order.