August 3, 1998
State says no to soccer in Sammamish Valley APD
by Andrew Walgamott
WOODINVILLE--A state hearings board said soccer can't be played on agricultural lands just south of the city of Woodinville, in a decision handed down last week.
The ruling, by the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board, means plans to build up to nine soccer fields on a 17-acre King County-owned property are on indefinite hold.
The board ruled against a county ordinance that allowed sports fields as a use on the land, which is an Agricultural Production District.
The county and Northshore Youth Soccer Association bought the parcel, known as the Kaplan property, last year for $960,000; the county paid $750,000 and NSYA chipped in $210,000. The county then amended its comprehensive plant to allow sportsfield uses there. It would have been part of King County councilwoman Louise Miller's (R-Woodinville) South Gateway Park Project, a mix of demonstration farming and soccer and baseball fields.
Then earlier this year, a group called the upper Green Valley Preservation Society of Auburn, along with the Hollywood Hill Association, challenged the law.
Hearkening to the call, "rather than raise crops of weeds, let's raise crops of good kids," the city of Woodinville sided with the county and NYSA.
But the board found that active recreation would make intensive use of the land for non-agricultural uses, and would effectively keep out farming for more than 30 years. The board concluded that the Growth Management Act doesn't allow local governments to adopt land use plans and regulations that authorize the usurpation of agricultural used on designated farmlands.
NYSA president Dave Shipway was reportedly discouraged by the decision and said the number of players would have to be limited.
But Ken Goodwin said the Hollywood Hill Association was pleased with the results.
"If you can convert ag-lands for a non-ag noble purpose," said Goodwin, "then what's the next noble purpose?" He noted that now the county had some good farmlands in hand.
Miller couldn't be reached for comment Monday.
Woodinville spent $1, 708.80 in their support of the county, according to city officials. The county can appeal the decision to superior court.