FEBRUARY 17, 1997

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No right to determine what locates in neighborhood

Children's Country House As a neighbor of the future "Children's Country House," a medical facility attempting to locate in a Hollywood Hill neighborhood zoned for rural use, I have a few questions for Mary Shemesh and her management team:
  1. Why is the City of Kirkland requesting your presence at a hearing this month?
  2. Did you open and continue to operate a similar facility in Kirkland without a home occupation permit, as is legally required?
  3. Do you have the proper building permits and licenses (i.e., state license and King County Building permit) to operate the Children's Country House?
  4. How do you plan to secure and dispose of medical waste, such as hypodermic needles, blood, drugs, etc. in a rural family neighborhood?
  5. How many patients do you plan to treat at this facility? Number of staff members and shifts?
  6. How do you plan to evacuate the facility in case of fire? How do you plan to care for your patients during a snow or wind storm when the roads are impassable? What happens if you lose power for three days? How will fire access, deliveries, customer, and employee parking effect the neighborhood?
   This is a very short list of questions that should be answered before the "Children's Country House" opens for business.
   Individuals and property owners no longer have the right to say what they will and will not allow in their community. This was recently highlighted by the U.S. Court ruling allowing group homes in residential neighborhoods for youth offenders in Bellevue.
   Individuals and local communities opposed to this type of business (in this case, a remote medical facility) operating in their neighborhoods are portrayed by the media as uninformed, coldhearted individuals, with no compassion for the underprivileged. Supporters of these businesses justify their actions with quotations from It Takes a Village by Hillary R. Clinton, and truly believe it is best for the community, regardless of individual property rights.
   The individuals paying for this facility (the taxpayers), myself included, have more important concerns in our everyday life as long as this type of business is operating in someone else's neighborhood. Then one day, a group home or maybe a remote facility opens up next door and all you can do is ask yourself, "How can this happen in my neighborhood," and write a letter to the local newspaper.

Steve Albright, Woodinville