Northwest NEWS

August 30, 1999

Editorial

Councilman's claims were wrong

   Councilman Derdowski's claim at a recent committee meeting on proposed Ordinance 98-585 that amendments took care of a particular concern was absolutely wrong, and his refusal to discuss the matter after the meeting was unreasonable. The facts are these:

   Section 51, "Circumvention of zoning density prohibited," will prohibit rural landowners from doing otherwise legal land divisions if neighboring landowners have already created lots that would cause the additional proposed lots to exceed the density allowed under current zoning, which is now five acres and upward in the rural area.

   This started out as part of an executive rule for boundary line adjustments (BLA). It was removed, according to written explanation, because "Subsection H could result in unintended consequences that would be unfair to property owners and would be difficult for the Department to track over the years." But now it appears in 98-585 to apply not only to BLAs but also to ANY land previously segregated by any means.

   The above is just one rank unjustice to rural landowners contained in Ordinance 98-585. (Please refer to my written testimony yesterday for others.) Close on the heels of 98-585 are the new sensitive areas and clearing and grading ordinances proposed by Executive Sims to further shut down land use in the rural areas.

   These are all such important land use control laws, some of which contradict adopted 1994 Comprehensive Plan and Growth Management Planning Council (GMPC) policies, that they should be part of the complan 2000 Update, with full analysis of cumulative impacts as required by the Growth Management Act.

   One GMPC policy in particular (LU-24) is being circumvented by 98-585: "Legally created existing lots within the rural area are legal building sites as authorized in the King County Code." By adding a new code definition in 98-585 for "building site" that requires conformance with current zoning in order to obtain a building permit on an existing legal lot, the county will wipe out the use of thousands of lots which can be sold, but not built on.

   Is this the legacy this Council and Executive want to leave? To be known as the elected representatives who wiped out rural King County property rights and landowners' financial futures by a summer adoption of an unnoticed ordinance under a questionable legislative process?

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville