Northwest NEWS

April 17, 2000


The next time, it may your interests that are lost

   Residents of the rural town of Fall City may be a little less than pleased at some changes that are coming.

   Despite widespread public support for the recommendations made by a citizen's advisory committee to limit future zoning and growth of Fall City, that input is apparently being ignored by the new elected official who represents the district, King County Councilmember David Irons, Jr.

   Many public meetings were held to develop a plan for Fall City, over the course of nearly a year. When the final plan was finished, this group of local citizens on the committee had crafted a well-reasoned and balanced plan.

   The plan preserved existing land use patterns for the area, protected the small local businesses, proposed the formation of a rural conservation district, and said "no" to sewers. But the single most important part of the plan was to remove a recent designation by the King County Council for part of Fall City to be slated for urban growth.

   This plan was delivered to Executive Sims, who made only minor changes and adopted it when he saw widespread support in two public meetings. The plan was then passed to the King County growth management committee for comment before it was to go to the full Council for final adoption.

   Mr. Irons also holds a new seat on the growth management committee (GMC). Unfortunately, he appears to have growth, not growth management, in mind.

   Without any public meetings whatsoever, he made fourteen amendments to the plan, and with the ink still wet, presented them for a vote by the growth management committee. The amendments are too lengthy to list, but in a sentence, they set the stage for sewers, expanding the town boundaries, doubling the size of the business district, increasing housing density, converting farmland to housing tracts, and inviting big business to move to Fall City.

   The Republican majority of the growth management committee approved all of Iron's amendments in one brief meeting--a disgusting partisan display. No public comment was allowed during this meeting. The GMC-approved amendments are now to be presented to the Council for a vote in a few weeks. Since the majority of the council is Republican, the amendments may stand as law in another partisan showdown.

   Fall City and Valley residents need to decide if this is the form of leadership they want representing their district--where public process and public input is discarded, and dramatic changes to the comprehensive plan are sprung on the public and voted on without public notice.

   I believe even the people who voted for Irons should be a little apprehensive about this lack of public process, since the next time it happens, it may be their interests that are lost.

   Sno-Valley residents need to call or e-mail the entire King County Council and put a stop to this kind of representation. You can reach all of the council with a single e-mail sent to:

Matt Travis, Fall City