April 13, 1998

Local News

Council reserves land at Woodinview for park

     by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--The Woodinville City Council gave the nod to reserving three-quarters-of-an-acre of land at Woodinview, an affordable housing development, to build a park sometime in the future. The council reached that consensus last week at a meeting with King County and A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH), the city's partners in the Woodinview project which will be built on a 22-acre county-owned parcel near the intersection of 144th Avenue N.E. and the North Bypass. Plans show an area of open space near the center of the development.
   During discussion, Woodinville Parks Director Lane Youngblood briefed the council on costs associated with building a park there. She estimated it to cost about $110,000 to grade, hydroseed and permanently landscape the site. By comparison, she said start-up costs for the Woodinville Heights Park was $88,000 with annual maintenance costs of $8,000 to $13,000.
   Later in the week, Youngblood noted that the downtown area was underserved in terms of parks' access. "We felt strongly that the plan include a park," she said. Councilmember Marsha Engel agreed. "I can't see putting that density of housing there without some sort of park," Engel said.
   Plans call for 50 units of senior housing, 46 rental units and 60 for-sale town homes to be built on the western half of the site. The eastern side is undevelopable due to slope and wetland constraints. Youngblood said the park would serve a variety of age groups' needs. She said most likely it would have a large grassy area for impromptu play. Residents will also help the city determine what other amenities are to be built. An alternative plan presented to the council would have scattered recreation facilities, and the space consolidated for a park would have been occupied by bio-swales instead.
   Building homes and apartments at Woodinview will contribute towards the county-mandated affordable housing targets for the city, Mayor Don Brocha said. He noted that affordable homes are scarce in Woodinville due to high land prices. According to Betsy Czark, a county housing planner, affordable means housing that costs no more than 30 percent of a household's monthly income. For a family of three with annual income of $42,480, buying a town home at Woodinview means a $1,062 monthly housing bill. Target buyers include entry level firefighters, teachers and police officers, according to Joe Wallis, a Woodinville planner. The site was formerly considered for a transfer station and a jail. The county surplused it recently, paving the way for housing. Details on the development are just about wrapped up, said Art Sullivan, executive director of ARCH. The next step will be to ask developers to submit requests for proposals. That's scheduled for the middle of April. Formal selection of a builder occurs in late August with construction scheduled for 1999. Residents could move in by 2000.
   ARCH is involved as the city's de facto housing staffers.