September 13, 1999
FALL CITY--The Urban Reserve zoning is out, livestock are in, town boundaries are reduced, sewers are banned, and some potential business zoning in town is changed to residential.
Those recommendations are just part of King County Executive Ron Sims' Fall City Subarea Plan that was formally intoduced to the King County Council on Monday.
The plan emerged after a citizens' group last year requested the County Council change the county's Urban Reserve zoning of 400 acres surrounding Fall City. The group was concerned the designation put the entire area at risk of overdevelopment.
The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) developed a set of recommendations over the last several months that are designed to maintain the rural character of the town and the surrounding area. Most of those concur with the Executive's recommendations, which came about after months of public hearings.
"One of the most significant issues is land use potential for future development which was based on an older plan that assumed sewers would be eventually installed," said Mary Davis, Fall City Subarea Plan Project Manager. "That potential zoning would allow for greater development, but the county realized there was no local support for sewers. The sentiment among the residents is to protect the rural area."
Davis said the plan will probably go next to the County Council's Growth Management Committee, which is chaired by Councilman Brian Derdowski. "Brian has said he wishes to hold committee meetings in the Fall City area so that residents can testify," Davis said.
Some of the recommendations include rezoning most of the Urban Reserve to RA-5 (one house per five acres); rezoning of approximately 7.4 acres (the western parcel of The Herbfarm) from Urban Reserve to R-4 and include it within the new town boundaries; eliminate all of the potential zoning, rezone the R-12 zoned area to R-4; study the potential creation of a landmark or historical district and a rural character protection program; allowing livestock; provide more trails and passive parks; implement a traffic control and neighborhood traffic safety program; and consider designation of the Preston-Fall City Road as a scenic drive.
Davis said the Bernard property will continue to be zoned community business.
The Executive said he may recommend a land use and zoning amendment for the western parcel of The Herbfarm in the event that both of The Herbfarm parcels are no longer under common ownership or the pending building permit for the property is terminated.
Davis said King County is also making progress on other CAC issues including: conducting a study regarding the possible creation of a core landmark district and historic preservation; establishing a citizens advisory group to help identify and prioritize traffic and pedestrian safety needs; developing a scenic drive program; hiring more enforcement and erosion control inspectors and continuing active participation with watershed studies and habitat protection efforts in the Snoqualmie Valley.
Davis said most residents at the public hearings said they felt it was important to keep "suburban-type strip malls" out of the area, but they wanted to protect the variety of businesses already in Fall City.
Davis said that home industries are allowed under the zoning that eliminated potential business zoning for the residential area immediately behind the current business district. "There is some opportunity for more than residential use," she said, adding that for the most part the community seems supportive of the plan.
The proposals can be viewed in full at the county's website at http://www.metrokc.gov/ddes/lusd/fallcity.htm.