Northwest NEWS

October 12, 1998

Local News

Woodinville says 'whoa!'

   by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--October may be remembered as the month Woodinville said "whoa."
   Last week, the City Council extended a moratorium on sexually oriented businesses (SOB), and is expected to adopt a moratorium on wireless communication facilities tonight (Oct. 12).
   A public hearing on sex shops in Woodinville drew only the interest of another local newspaper whose reporter bore a manila folder labeled "smut" to the Oct. 5 council meeting. Beyond that, there was no public to comment for or against extending the moratorium for a year. Within 15 minutes of the opening of the hearing, the council had voted unanimously to do so.
   City Attorney Dawn Findlay said the period will give her office time to update Woodinville's regulations to current case law, look at the adverse secondary impacts of unanticipated large retail establishments and utilize information other area cities are gathering.
   She described impacts as those which would reduce property values or increase crime.
   A moratorium means a halt to the acceptance of applications, permits and licenses.
   Perhaps the most contentious issue was whether or not the council should suspend the rules of procedure and have first and second reading of the ordinance calling for the moratorium at the study session. Council usually takes action at regular sessions.
   While Councilwoman Marsha Engel was the lone dissenter on suspending the rules, she did vote with the council to declare an emergency that night, effectively keeping at bay adult book stores, arcades and strip clubs for the 33 days it would have taken under the council's usual procedure of having first and second readings at two different regular meetings as well as publishing a notice in this newspaper.
   There are no sexually oriented businesses in town, and as far as officials knownone have expressed interest in the city recently.
   Moratorium on cell towers coming
   Meanwhile, the council is expected to enact a six-month moratorium on wireless facilities tonight.
   A Planning Commission subcommittee has already begun looking at zoning code regulations.
   City planner Stephanie Cleveland said Woodinville has two goals: protect its neighborhoods and bring old code up to date.
   "What's driving [this] is we've been getting complaints from residents as towers go up," she said.
   City officials were unsure of the exact number of facilities already here, though one can count at least eight from memory. Another tower is under permitting and another under construction, according to officials.
   Cleveland said the Telecommunications Act of 1996 allows the city to regulate location of wireless facilities through zoning, but it can't consider health.
   A public hearing will be held within 60 days to take comment on the moratorium. At that time the council can either continue or throw it out, Cleveland said.