FEBRUARY 10, 1997
County still working on Herbfarm ordinance
by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor
FALL CITY--A decision by the Metro-King County Council on an ordinance which would allow The Herbfarm to expand after being destroyed by fire last month was delayed last week at the request of the owners of the business. The council was scheduled to vote on the ordinance Feb. 3.
Herbfarm owners Carrie Van Dyck and Ron Zimmerman asked the council to delay their decision for a week while they worked with community members on rebuilding plans. Two meetings took place at The Herbfarm last week with the owners and community members.
"The ordinance as it is written seems to make people nervous," said Van Dyck. "People seem happy enough to see the restaurant replaced as it was or expanded a little, but they don't like the ordinance. It's a hot issue, but we think we have dispelled most of the rumors."
One resident said she and others were concerned that the council put the revised ordinance on a "fast track." It's not sitting well with residents, said Janna Treisman. "We are wondering if this tourist use is compatible with rural uses. We have empathy for The Herbfarm, and the community supports it as it was, but this new ordinance has opened up a whole envelope of uses."
Included in the ordinance is a restriction requiring businesses similar to The Herbfarm to be at least one mile apart. Nursery owner Ralph Wells, whose business is across the street from The Herbfarm, says the ordinance would limit the use of his land.
As late as last Friday, county staff were working on revising the ordinance in hopes of getting it ready for this Monday's council meeting, said Bill Dennis, spokesman for Councilmember Brian Derdowski.
"County attorneys and staff are working to see if some vehicle can be drafted to allow the Herbfarm to be rebuilt with a minor expansion without opening up a whole can of worms," Dennis said. "People's concerns are valid, not only for Fall City, but for other areas, as well."