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January 12, 1998

Opinion

Forgotten citizens have concerns

  The following is a copy of a letter sent to Joe Hattendorf of the Snohomish County Department of Planning and Community Development.
  

Dear Mr. Joe Hattendorf,
   Thank you for attempting to respond to my concerns related to the proposed installation of sewer by Cross Valley Water District along 233rd Place S.E. and 63rd Avenue S.E. in Southeast Snohomish County. This project is of great concern to us, the "Forgotten Citizens of South Snohomish County," residents of Highland Park Estates and the community. Some of our concerns are as follows:
  
   *No public meetings were held to coordinate the impacts on residents and neighborhood schools. If provided the opportunity, we would have pointed out to you a few of our concerns specifically addressing SAFETY in our neighborhoods. In the letter received from Cross Valley Water District on Dec. 13 97, it indicated that extra measures will be taken to reduce impacts to the neighborhood as follows:
  
   a. Coordination with Kokanee Elementary School and the County for signing requirements and safety measures. I spoke with Harry Vanikiotis, Northshore School District, Director of Secondary Education regarding this project (206-489-6223). Mr. Vanikiotis was not aware of this project. Attached is a copy of a memorandum Mr. Vanikiotis sent to the principals at Woodinville High School, Woodin and Kokanee Elementary Schools after I brought this matter to his attention.
  
   I also spoke with Mr. Gary Hajek (425-485-8461), General Manager of the Cross Valley Water District. Mr. Hajek was unable to answer the specific concerns raised and only responded in generalities. Cross Valley Water District's abilities to engineer, notify and receive public comments, and address public safety issues is lacking and concerns our community. How will you guarantee the safety of the residents in our community?
  
   b. Traffic control will be provided at the intersection of 228th Street S.E. and 57th Avenue S.E. if added traffic creates backups. Mr. Hattendorf stated that there will be 3,000 additional trips per day redirected onto our rural roads. In order to insure our community's safe transport in and out of their homes and schools there needs to be a definitive plan addressing safety concerns.
  
   We request that there be an approved traffic control person located at the following locations: 228th and 57th, entrance to Kokanee and Woodinville High Schools, entrance to Highland Park estates, 58th and 238th due to the limited sight distance, and 58th and 205th due to limited sight distance. Are these intersections designed to accommodate truck traffic of any kind safely? How will you guarantee the safety of residents in our community?
  
   c. Construction speed limits may be installed along 57th Street, doubling fines for speeders, pending approval of the County. When I spoke with Mr. Joe Hattendorf (800-562-4367), Snohomish County, Planning and Community Development about our concerns, I was directed to Mr. Jim Bloodgood (800-562-4367 ext. 6419), a traffic engineer with Snohomish County. Mr. Bloodgood had not received the letter sent to homeowners and was not in receipt of an application for a road closure/detour for this project as of Dec. 15, 1997.
  
   I was informed that this is to be a moving road closure. How will this be done in detail? What steps will be taken to notify drivers of the location closure? This requires signage, communications, and coordination. How is this going to be accomplished? How is this to proceed when Cross Valley Water District has not applied for a permit with the County or held a public comment period?
  
   Some additional concerns which need to be addressed are:
  
   1) Impacts to residential roadbeds by large commercial trucks on small two-lane residential roads not built to withstand the weight of heavy trucks. 57th Avenue S.E. and 58th Avenue S.E. have both been posted for a number of years with signage eliminating all vehicles over a gross weight of 18,000 pounds empty weight. These roads are not designed to carry the weight of vehicles proposed to be placed upon them. These roads are not designed to enable over length vehicles to negotiate the sharp ninety degree turns. How will you guarantee the safety of residents in our community?
  
   2) Impacts to the SAFETY of residents living along the proposed detour and children walking to school. Placing 3,000 additional trips on these narrow roads which run adjacent to Kokanee Elementary School and Woodinville High School invites disaster. This message was learned a few years ago when a young student leaving the school was struck and killed by a passing vehicle on the narrow roadway. How will you guarantee the safety of residents in our community?
  
   3) Continued impacts to the neighborhood after completion of the project and traffic continues to bypass the congestion of SR-9 by driving through our neighborhoods. If the proposed road closure and detour route is implemented, we request that there be in writing a detailed plan to return roads and community to the conditions which existed prior to the damage that will occur.
  
   This can only be accomplished by the County having one of their certified civil engineers survey and document the conditions of the roadbed which exists today and will exist after completion of the project. This is the only way damages can be accurately assessed and a proper mitigation plan developed and implemented. Further, we would like your plan to include a section detailing how you propose to eliminate heavy trucks avoiding the congestion of SR-9 from continuing to use our residential roadways after the project is complete.
  
   We have been told that we have no choice in this matter. Therefore, we request an opportunity to sit at the table when decisions are being made so that our concerns can be heard and addressed. We have been told that all detour options were studied and the only option was to dump an additional 3,000 trips per day through our neighborhood. This being the case, please provide a copy of the minutes detailing the options which were discussed and the minutes of any public meetings held related to the road closure and site selection for the detour route.
  
   I have been told that there will be a concentrated effort to avoid any problems, yet so far there has been no communication with the Northshore School District and the residents in our community. Why? Is this how our concerns will be handled during this forced closure? The County designed and platted our neighborhood with only one way in and out. We do not have a back door out of our neighborhood to avoid the congestion caused by this ill conceived closure and detour.
  
   Therefore, I request prior to any closure that our concerns need to be addressed and mitigated prior to any closure. We also request that you provide the school district and residents along the affected route with the names and telephone numbers of responsible individuals to contact in the event that this extreme increase in traffic causes damage, injury or any unforeseen issues which may arise. We expect a detailed response to our concerns 48 hours prior to any road closure/detour.
   Concerned citizens,
   Karol Kottsick, Dru Butterfield