Northwest NEWS

March 6, 2000

Editorial

Someone used a chainsaw to clear the area where your home is built

   As the landowner of a recently-surveyed property, we determined that after owning the property and paying taxes for over 25 years, it was time to sell our two lots. At this point, the surrounding neighbors were contacted and told that the lots were available to purchase if they did not want to see them developed, as some had expressed interest in purchasing them in earlier years to preserve the woods connecting our properties.

   Once the realtor introduced a builder to develop our lots, the survey crew came to survey and mark the property lines according to the existing short plat, as well as marking each tree and determining the species and trunk diameter of all trees located on the lots.

   The surveyors sure caught the interest of our neighbors as they came through doing their job of charting all the trees as per code requirements of King County. Unfortunately, at this point, the neighbors quickly assumed we were having the lots cleared of all the trees. This is clearly not the case.

   The land survey requires an account of all trees on the property, and codes do not allow clear-cutting. There are requirements, as stated by King County, that only a certain percentage of trees can be cleared for development and that is it. No more is allowed.

   In addition to the preservation of trees on our property, the county also requires a wetlands delineation study to be done. This is also a measure of how the land can be used.

   The reactions from the surrounding neighbors have been less than favorable; many concerns were voiced and statements made. It is very easy to jump to conclusions in this area of Hollywood Hill after seeing the other property scalped of all its trees, as stated in the first half of Gregg Frey's letter, which clearly refers to the situation of another property owner and how the county dealt with it.

   Our intent in replying to the letter is to state the facts as required by King County on what we must do to develop and build homes for future neighbors.

   We have met with Justin Abbot, Planner II; James C. Chan, P.E. senior engineer; and Raymond E. Florent, PLS senior engineer for King County Land Use Services division for our area; and after their review of our property, they informed us of the codes King County requires for us (the realtor, and builder) to meet in order to sell, develop, and build on this property.

   The statement made in the original letter "Keep listening for those chainsaws" about "giving the owner of these lots fair compensation" is rather interesting and we would welcome anyone or all the neighbors to step up and purchase our two lots.

   This has become a sensitive issue in our neighborhood, and unfortunately, the communication is not progressing. We have experienced vandalism on our property by someone removing the recently surveyed property stakes.

   Please keep in mind, at one point, someone used a chainsaw to clear the area in which your home now sits and you raise your family. Is it fair that others not be given the chance to clear a little to provide a home to raise their family?

Barbara Haines-Canell, Woodinville