JUNE 9, 1997

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Landowners beware

  King County landowners will be interested in this latest example of King County's land use idiocy.
   Supposedly using the Growth Management Act's required best available science and its requirements for broad dissemination of proposals and early and continuous public input, the King County Council voted to retain the old Northshore Plan's requirement that Rural Area (RA-zoned) landowners near the Sammamish Valley ag lands must cluster any future development on 25% of the land and record 75% as permanent open space (with pastures not allowed in that open space).
   It should be noted that Seattle Councilman Larry Phillips led the vote to retain the old requirement. The official reasoning is that residents should be clustered as far as possible from ag lands because of fears of trespass, crop theft, vandalism, and livestock hazing.
   Now hear this. Coming up for adoption later this year are proposed comprehensive plan amendments to add athletic field uses to the ag lands themselves. It seems that nearby residents would harm ag land activities, while out-of-area sports spectators and their exhaust-spewing, soil-compacting cars will be harmless.
   The above is just one of many specific former community plan P-suffix conditions that are being transformed into generic, non-area-specific conditions under the new title of Special District Overlays that can be applied anywhere desired in King County. (Some already are.)
   So judge for yourselves the truthfulness of recent county press releases trumpeting headlines such as that reading County Wants To Ease Development Rules. In King County, it's still "Landowner beware."

Maxine Keesling,Woodinville