MAY 5, 1997

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Opinion

Guest Column

Potential soccer fields offer protection for Sammamish APD

Sammamish APD by Louise Miller, Metropolitan King County Councilmember
The Sammamish Valley Agricultural Production District offers the greater Woodinville area a beautiful natural resource in the way of large, green areas of open space reserved for farming. The APD stretches from Woodinville's South Bypass to the Redmond city limits and is highly valued in our community for aesthetic open space reasons and agricultural production.
   Since the Sammamish Valley APD was established through the 1994 comprehensive planning process, the ongoing challenge for county officials has been to preserve this APD and prevent development from encroaching. There are several parcels at the north end of this APD which share a border with Woodinville's South Bypass, leaving them vulnerable to eventual development pressures. Some of these few properties do not enjoy agricultural zoning, nor are any of these properties participants in the county's Farmlands Preservation Program. Consequently, the county is working diligently to purchase these north end properties in an effort to establish a permanent buffer to protect over 700 acres in the Sammamish Valley of permanent agricultural properties.
   Our vision is to use the few north end properties for soccer fields and a model farm. Currently, the county has purchased the 18-acre Kaplan parcel and anticipates being able to acquire the Zante Farm, which will remain in agriculture for use as a model farm. There are still other north end parcels which the county hopes to eventually acquire.
   In the meantime, the county is preparing amendments to the Comprehensive Plan which would allow recreation within APD boundaries under these unique circumstances. A long overdue debt for more athletic fields would be paid to the Woodinville community if the soccer fields can be built.
   Much farther south in the Sammamish Valley APD, there is a large parcel of property which is in active farming known as the H'mong Farm. This property was originally purchased in the '70s with county Forward Thrust dollars reserved for park and recreation facilities. Through this year's Comprehensive Plan update, we hope to transfer the recreational value of the H'mong property to the north end parcels adjacent to the South Bypass. This will provide the public with the recreation services they purchased several years ago, maintain the H'mong property in active, permanent farming, and protect the whole of the Sammamish APD from urban encroachment.
   If you have questions or need additional information on this proposed project, please do not hesitate to contact me in the Metropolitan King County Courthouse at 296-0308 or on Wednesdays in my Kingsgate office at 296-0397.