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'Wedge' residents appeal Stone Hill approval

residents appeal by Jeff Switzer
When he heard about the proposal to put 32 homes on four acres in his neighborhood, "Wedge" resident Robert Margoshes began his Paul Revere ride informing others that development was coming.
   The community responded, filling the Woodinville City Council chambers to voice their concerns to Hearing Examiner Ron McConnell, who was responsible for weighing those concerns against the city's land-use regulations. McConnell approved the project with some conditions, but the number of homes remained at 32, as the developers took advantage of affordable housing incentives to increase density from the base zoning of six units per acre.
   Margoshes paid the $200 fee to the city for his appeal, which culminates in a closed-record public hearing, less involved and emotional than appeals hearings in other jurisdictions in the past, as regulatory reform constrains the number of public hearings, giving some predictability to developers while appellants argue.
   "From the very start, we haven't been able to talk to our City Councilmembers because the issue might become 'quasi-judicial,'" said Margoshes. "Now, we still don't get to talk to them."
   Richard Reed, another Wedge resident, paired up with Margoshes and submitted an addendum about the Wedge's "island-like" status and limited traffic access. He argued the invalidity of the traffic study, which didn't account for the 336 apartments across from Home Depot nor the 32 homes planned on six acres northwest of Woodinville High School within the city limits.
   Margoshes' appeal also argues the invalidity of the traffic study and cites land-use and housing policies from the city's recently adopted comprehensive plan, policies he believes are being misinterpreted.
   The closed-record public hearing is designed to restrict new information from influencing the quasi-judicial body's decision. If the City Council should deny an application based on new information, the fear is that a lawsuit may throw their decision out the window.
   The question is likely to be put to the Woodinville City Council on Nov. 18, with final consideration and a vote on the matter as soon as Nov. 25.