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Council hears Stone Hill development appeals

Approves 1997 budget

Stone Hill appeals by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--The City Council continued the public hearing last week on the Stone Hill appeals, which argued that approval for the 32-home project on the "Wedge" failed to consider traffic, density, and neighborhood character issues.
   The council, going through its first such quasi-judicial process since regulatory reform was passed, was bound by the facts brought forward in the closed-record public hearing, where no new information or facts not in the public record were admissible.
   The traffic issue was contentious, as neighbors noted accidents in their experience, though not in the city's files, and criticized the traffic study which was done during the summer months and adjusted to reflect real counts during the school year.
   City Attorney Wayne Tanaka had to interrupt and censure the city's traffic engineer as he answered questions of council with information not in the public record.
   The developers responded to the appeals by arguing that the density is allowed in the code and would act as a transition between the more dense condos and the single-family residences on larger lots.
   The council asked detailed questions of staff for 90 minutes, ranging from traffic counts, future developments, sewer availability, and levels of service issues. The public hearing was continued to Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m., when the council will recommence its questioning. It will be required to make a decision within 10 days of closing the public hearing.

Council approves budget
   The City Council approved the 1997 budget, which will collect $8.5 million in revenue, spend $9.5 million, will start the year with $9.7 million, and end 1997 with $8.8 million. The budget funds the Chamber of Commerce tourism proposal at $55,000 with bi-monthly updates and a process by which they might receive the balance of their proposed $82,000 at midyear.
   The city's contract for recreation services with the YMCA was fully funded, adjusting the amount from $43,765 to $60,000 for running the Sorenson gym, swimming at the Sorenson pool and family nights, summer teen trips, leadership, and babysitting classes, plus special events.
   New programs for 1997 will include junior high teen clubs with AmeriCorps, a family concert series, more youth sports, preschool childcare in Woodinville, and school-age childcare at Wellington, totaling $15,750.
   Of the requested $120,276, the council approved $71,665 for 19 human services applications, a 20 percent increase over last year's budget. Nearly 3,000 area residents were served by these agencies in 1996.
   Services provided through these funds include childcare resources, the Crisis Clinic, Eastside Domestic Violence, legal assistance, literacy, sexual assault, multi-service centers, Northshore Youth and Family Services, Teen Northshore, and the senior center.