The Edwards Agency

Opinion

Editorial

Determining the future of the Sammamish Valley

Sammamish Valley's future What is the Sammamish Valley's future? Will the open farmland properties remain in an Agricultural Production District, or will those properties someday become developed into commercial businesses?
   The question arises with the obvious positioning in the governmental agencies in Woodinville, organized and strategized, but not clear as to the intent.
   Could it be that there are those who are lining up the votes and spheres of influence for ultimately developing the Sammamish Valley or the extending the City of Woodinville's urban growth boundary to the south?
   Certainly, the rapidly-changed behavior of the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District Commissioners, following their purchase of a downtown site on the south bypass in an agricultural production district, raises that question.
   Approximately 800 acres south of the south bypass to NE 145th and east of the Sammamish Slough is in the Agricultural Production District and in unincorporated King County. If King County allows the fire district to build the station with a conditional use permit and water and sewer is permitted from the Woodinville Water District, does that open the way to develop more property in the valley?
   King County states that Agricultural Production Districts have value as open space. Properties in the Sammamish Valley are in the APD, which is described as "blocks of contiguous farmlands."
   King County rules state: "Conversion to other uses should occur only when it can be demonstrated that such lands are no longer suitable for agricultural purposes and that their removal will not diminish the effectiveness of farming within the Agricultural Production District boundaries. Conversion of Agricultural Production District land may only occur if mitigated through the addition of agricultural land abutting King County Agricultural Production District of equal acreage, and of equal or greater soils or agricultural value."
   Change can occur. Everyone who has lived in Woodinville for more than 10 years has seen how fast.
   However, citizens have the right to be part of the change and have their opinions and concerns heard. It is important for Woodinville citizens to become involved. It can be as simple as attending a meeting or writing a letter. You also may want to serve on a citizen's committee. Be part of the process if you have an opinion or care about your community.