Opinion

Agriculture or sports fields

agricultural district The truly amazing aspect of King County's ongoing machinations to eliminate the proposed fire station and turn agriculture-zoned lands south of Woodinville's South Bypass Road into sports fields is that even grass sports fields are not allowed in the agricultural production district, let alone parking for the users.
   The following is a direct quote from the Restrictions on Use of the Land that were recorded to control the properties for which development rights were purchased as part of the County's agricultural preservation program: "Use of the land is permanently restricted to solely agricultural and open space uses ... Open space uses do not include the following: ... the construction or use of golf courses, parking lots, athletic fields, campgrounds, or vehicle or animal raceways."
   I see no way that King County Coucilmembers Louise Miller and Larry Phillips can possibly wiggle that around to include sports fields in the ag-production district.
   Nor can I see why they want to, when a fire station directly serving downtown Woodinville's apartments, senior-citizen housing, and commercial businesses, plus Hollywood Hill and North Kingsgate, is a vital safety feature. A few minutes in a fire or a heart attack or stroke matter. (If Hollywood Hillers are counting on the Kingsgate station, don't count on it for service when the steep, twisty road above Ste. Michelle is icy. The response vehicles may hit the ditch before they reach the bottom of that hill.)
   What the County should be doing for athletes is the turning loose of some of the thousands of acres of non-agricultural open space they've been buying, and then develop for active recreation. Did you know that the 1989 Open Space Bond program has already bought 33% more acreage than promised in 1989 (4,200 acres as against the promised 3,144 acres) and still has $40.5 million remaining to spend?

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville