The Edwards Agency

Opinion

'Best available science' not utilized in Cottage Lake plan

Cottage Lake plan Despite huge potential costs to all landowners in the Cottage Lake drainage area, on Oct. 24 a King County Council committee voted for a fast-track full-council adoption of the Cottage Lake Management Plan.
   It was claimed that affected residents have been fully informed, but I doubt it. How many know that:
  1. Costs of required 50% phosphorus removal (this includes homeowners) are estimated by Surface Water Management at $15,900/residential lot. (There are exclusions for existing structures/impervious surfaces unless there are add-ons.) Current phosphorus input from developed-area runoff, such as from the more heavily-developed area at the top of Avondale, is about 11% of the total, compared to 51% from the stables and decaying wetlands vegetation at Daniels Creek, and 6% from lakeside septic systems (which indicates that "development" really is not the problem).
  2. In calculating required phosphorus treatment facilities for each ownership, "forested areas in tracts dedicated to King County need not be included in the calculation of pond sizing." This would apply to the new Bear Creek Basin Plan requirement for 65% dedication of your land to King County as a condition of obtaining county permits.
  3. Lakefront residents are to replace their lawns and non-native trees and shrubs with native vegetation from a list supplied by the county: "...The lake shoreline vegetation buffer should be at least 10 to 15 feet wide starting at the edge of the lake." (There's no concern for parents who can't see their children swimming or floating beyond the brush.) Creekside owners are to do likewise.
  4. The plan is the first step. The second step is the creation of a funding district to pay for treating the lake water with alum and aeration. The fallacy of the plan is that its "scientific" modeling was based on maximum buildout at densities from previous county planning, not the new downzoned 5-acre minimums required under the 1994 King County Comprehensive Plan. The previous planning included new development with 275 acres of commercial development and up to seven dwelling units/acre on 259 acres, and only 52 acres with 5-acre lots, with a prediction that "...most of this forest land will be converted to residential housing..." (The modeling did not include the now-mandated 65% native vegetation lockup.)
   Although by the time this letter is published, the full King County Council may have already adopted the plan, readers should still call the Hotline (296-1688) and Councilwoman Louise Miller (296-1003) to voice displeasure at adopting such an important regulatory plan without using the "best available science" required under the Growth Management Act.

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville