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AUGUST 11, 1997

Opinion

Transfer of Development Rights Program

  I am writing you in response to your recent article regarding the proposed Transfer of (rural) Development Rights Program for King County. While the proposed program COULD potentially reduce development in rural King County as purported, I believe it will actually facilitate development in rural King County because of the inherent provision for selective rural to rural transfers. I think the proposal is seriously flawed and, for the reasons cited below, the program should be aborted.
  
   The proposal CLEARLY provides the means to usurp the Washington State Growth Management Act, the Subsequent King County Comprehensive Plan, which were created with the intent to manage growth, especially rural areas
  
   The proposal provides enormous ARBITRARY and CAPRICIOUS power to the King County Council and Executive branch with respect to control over private property use, particulary via "selectively designated" sending and receiving areas
  
   I have read portions of the actual "King County Farm and Forest Report: at the local library and I fail to understand the impetus for such a colossal "study," in the wake of the King County Comprehensive Plan. The alleged fundamental objective of the proposed TDR program is practically identical to that of the King County Comprehensive Plan; i.e. manage the suburban sprawl in King County in a fair and equitable fashion to preserve rural areas. I therefore perceive the program as largely politically motivated.
  
   Could it be that the GMA and the KCC plan have actually become barriers to wholesale developer exploitation? Is it possible that the impedance to proposed developments such as Blakely Ridge and Northridge, affordable by the GMA and KCC plan, have caused the King County Council to create other means to achieve their biased development objectives? The TDR program would slam the door on the public objection to development efforts such as Blakely Ridge and Northridge; which is exactly what the King County Council desires.
  
   To date, the King County Council has indisputably demonstrated their allegiance to big business rather than to the preponderance of their constituents. Simply put, the King County Council should never, ever, be allowed the nearly absolute and arbitrary power over the development rights of private property as afforded by the proposed TDR program.
  
   John Gaffney, Carnation