Northwest NEWS

October 4, 1999

Editorial

There's no way rural King County will be paved over

   Putting a cap on rural development to comply with an arbitrary number plucked out of the air in the early '90s will, in itself, result in non-compliance with GMPC and county complan policies that say "development on existing sub-standard lots in the rural area shall be permitted when applicable development standards, such as board of health regulations for on-site sewage disposal, can be met." (That quotes CPP LU-12 (e) and reflects complan Policy R-207, as well as mirroring what rural landowners have been promised since Gary Grant's time on the county council.)

   Instead of an arbitrary number, the rural-lots allocation should have been based on the number of existing grandfathered lots in the rural area, and then the master-plan developments' population could have been trimmed accordingly, or the MPDs could have been required to buy development rights from the little guys.

   Besides the obvious unfairness of outlawing existing legal lots--especially when we're supposedly guaranteed "reasonable use"--there's the fact that on a regional basis, you're worsening sprawl. People who don't like raising children in apartments worsen sprawl and traffic congestion by commuting to outlying counties where single-family housing is affordable.

   And better-off apartment dwellers who might otherwise keep themselves busy on horse acres are buying weekend and vacation homes all over the state to relieve the monotony of apartment living. Seattle's mayor is an example of that. As far as the claim of some that rural King County will be "paved over" if existing highly-taxed lots are built on--no way will that happen.

   What with downzoning, sensitive areas and their buffers, salmon habitat and other wildlife lockups, basin plans' 65% native growth retention, critical drainage areas, land that won't perc for septics, and governments' continuing buyout of private land (despite governments owning over 50% of King County decades ago), there is no way rural King County will be "paved over."

   If this group has any regard for fairness and attention to the facts, you won't adopt a rural cap.

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville