May 4, 1998

Opinion

Response from developer

  I would like to respond to comments with implied motivations directed toward me concerning trees on property formerly owned by the Zanassi's. Yes I am a developer because that is my business. Before being labeled insensitive and only motivated by greed, let me describe my actions with the city of Woodinville prior to submitting any application to the city.
  
   During the "due diligence" phase of the office building development, I met with the Technical Review Committee (TRC) made up of city staff members representing various departments. I was advised to move the proposed office building structure near the street to comply with the city's Interim Design Principles (IDP) to avoid the "strip development" appearance. Strip development with parking in the front of a structure characterizes development that caters principally to the automobile. I was advised the city did not wish the front of the office building to be "landscaped" when viewed from the street by a parking lot.
  
   The zoning code of the city requires a twenty-foot setback from abutting residentially zoned or developed property. The LeChardannay condominiums abut the Zanassi property on the north. A ten-foot setback is required for non-residential zones and/or uses, a condition more typical of business properties.
  
   In addition to getting advice on the location of the office structure, the staff requested that I cooperate with Frontier Bank, now under construction, to allow for common access from 140th Avenue NE to the bank and my proposed office structure. I agree to provide an easement and enter into a reciprocal parking agreement with the bank. The city's request to cooperate with the bank for common access was made in the interest of traffic safety.
  
   After the TRC meeting, I proceeded to invest in fees for architectural and engineering services to design the office building and site requirements according to information provided by the city. After conforming with all of the city's requirements and requests, the location of the office structure was set in place on the Zanassi parcel. The trees that have been subject of comment and concern were near the center of the property when viewed from the street.
  
   There have been comments that indicate that in the future the city may attempt to require preservation of specimen trees in situations similar to the Zanassi's. That would be so intrusive of property rights that such an action may justify compensation to the property owner. An attempt to preserve the specimen trees on the Zanassi property, while meeting other city requirements, would likely have required reducing the size of the structure which equates to less revenue and less property value for the site. Other property owners in the city need to understand the economic implications of imposing such an encumbrance on property. Such an encumbrance would not motivate other property owners in the city to plant and care for trees on property with development potential.
  
   Efforts to encourage trees in the city would be more effective if property owners were advised about desirable species, recommended planting locations and care for trees. These activities would be far more productive than attempting to preserve poorly located specimen trees on developing property. There is always a risk to the viability of specimen trees retained when the conditions affecting growth are markedly changed in the vicinity of mature trees (i.e. drainage patterns, impervious surfaces, root damage, etc.)
  
   I look forward to being a part of the Woodinville business community and will continue to cooperate with the city in the development and operation of the office building complex that I am developing. I would hope the city would recognize the efforts that I have made to cooperate.
   Bob Wenzl, Kirkland, WA