Mayor pleads Woodinville's case in Snohomish County
by Jeff Switzer
Mayor Bob Miller has pitched the city's case to the Snohomish County Council supporting an urban designation for the Grace and the Maltby Employment area, both located adjacent to Woodinville's northern border along the Snohomish County line.
"The city's main interest lies in the southern portion of the proposed urban growth area (UGA), the Grace Urban Area," said Miller, who said the city was indifferent about the area north of Maltby Road. "We believe the creation of this UGA is the only appropriate response to the final order of the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board in this matter ... It acknowledges the existing pattern of urban development that characterizes much of the Maltby (and Grace) areas."
Snohomish County staff and Planning Commission recommend the designation be applied, but also recommend a policy which, in the city's opinion, "singles out the City of Woodinville, without identifying it by name." The policy requires an interlocal agreement between county and city before an annexation could take place for a "city or special district situated predominantly outside of Snohomish County."
Cities cannot annex areas unless they are designated urban, though rural lands may incorporate if the property owners choose to, an option many Maltby area residents have been strongly considering the past few months. Woodinville argued that Snohomish County has not applied this type of requirement uniformly for all annexations, citing cases in Mukilteo, Monroe, and Bothell, in the annexation of Canyon Park.
"The City of Woodinville supports the use of interlocal agreements to help resolve issues arising from proposed annexations; however, Woodinville strongly opposes the selective requirement for such agreements as a means of unreasonably restricting the right of Snohomish County property owners to annex to Woodinville and the right of Woodinville to annex properties in Snohomish County," Miller said.
The fate of Wellington Hills
The UGA as recommended by staff does not include the Wellington Hills golf course site, which is owned by the University of Washington and is "likely to be used by the University as an education facility," according to Woodinville.
Both Woodinville and the UW support its inclusion in the UGA, "and that there should be no new or artificial restrictions placed upon the approved sewer service to that site." Future land-use alternatives could downzone the site to R-5, which is one dwelling unit per five acres.
The council's deliberations are scheduled for Nov. 4 and 5, with discussions Nov. 6 and 18 if needed, wrapping things up in a Nov. 25 decision session.
The Snohomish County Council closed the public testimony portion, but will be accepting written comments through Nov. 8. It has directed staff to propose criteria for defining rural character to more accurately decide on the rural lot size and character issues.