September 14, 1998
Sims calls for closure of loopholes
by Woodinville Weekly staff
SEATTLE--King County Executive Ron Sims called for closure of loopholes in county code that allow large rural landowners to divide some parcels without substantial review.
Last week, Sims proposed an ordinance that would replace the existing subdivision code which has governed the subdivision and land segregation process in King County since 1948.
"We need to focus on preserving our rural legacy instead of continuing our current trend of "suburbia in the woods," Sims said.
Currently, property owners can use some streams and right-of-ways to subdivide their land into smaller parcels. But under the new code they couldn't.
Specifically, Sims called for:
Joe Miles, a supervising engineer with King County Department of Development and Environmental Services, said more legal proof will have to be brought to the county before lots are recognized. "The current code allows for minimal information to say there's a lot there," Miles said.
- An increase in the subdivision exemption level from 20 to 80 acres. The effect would be that all requests to subdivide land into lots smaller than 80 acres would be subject to the county's subdivision process which requires public notice and adequate environmental and access review, according to county documents.
- Strengthening the county's authority to review boundary line adjustments for consistency with zoning requirements.
The ordinance would ensure consistency with the county's Comprehensive Plan as well as compliance with state laws, according to the county.
Development in rural areas will still be allowed, according to Miles, but it would have to conform with existing zoning.
Sims made the announcement near Issaquah on Tiger Mountain, property the county bought a year ago from a Tacoma timber company. Prior to the purchase, two-thirds of the 1,700 acre tract was segregated into 20-acre parcels, and up to 87 new lots in the headwaters of "critical fish habitat" could have been created without environmental review, according to the county.