Northwest NEWS

June 29, 1998


Is our Woodinville Fire Department spineless or what?!

They're planning to move onto City of Woodinville property for a makeshift downtown fire station when they have their own paid-for land practically across the street! The problem appears to be that they're afraid to confront King County Councilwoman Louise Miller whose favoritism for sportsfields on ag-zoned lands does not extend to a fire station on rural-zoned land where a fire station is allowed under a conditional use permit.
   The fire station should stiffen its backbone and go into that conditional use permit hearing where Councilwoman Miller would be forced to lay her hand on the table. Force her to say right out-or through her staff spokespeople-that sportsfields on ag lands are more important than a fire station on rural land.
   The fire department appears cowed by having been told that they must buy other land to "replace" their fire station land which, unknown to the former owners and to the fire department, was placed in the Sammamish Valley Ag Production District despite its non-ag, rural zoning. (It's important to note that it's a huge planning/zoning no-no not to inform a landowner of such an important land use action. And it's important to note that several other rural-zoned landowners who were put into the ag production district have been permitted removal without any land replacement. Councilwoman Miller disputed that last statement but when I sent her a map proving my point she let it go.)
   It really bugs me that the fire department spent several hundred thousand dollars for a downtown fire station site practically next door to and across the street from major apartment complexes but is afraid to grasp the nettle and call for that conditional use permit hearing. Because of politics on the part of Councilwoman Miller they might lose, but with all the data I have in my files we'd give the county regulators a good fight and with a fair hearing examiner we might even win.
   Maxine Keesling, Woodinville