June 12, 2000
On Monday, June 5, the King County Council remanded back to the Hearing Examiner the controversial plat on Treemont. By a vote of 10 to 3, the Council rejected the developer's arguments and sided with a citizens' group from the Snoqualmie Valley. The developer is Port Blakely, the same developer for the massive development north of Issaquah on Grand Ridge named the Highlands.
The Council instructed the Hearing Examiner to downsize the project (currently 194 homes), reverse variances, and consider the elimination of an access road that the Hearing Examiner had acknowledged was a potential environmental disaster that could ruin Patterson Creek, an important salmon stream. In addition, the Council rejected the developer's plan to transfer water away from Patterson Creek, citing low summer flow concerns.
This was a big victory for the neighbors, but this project should never have come this far. It's too big, it's an urban development in a rural area, and poorly designed.
An appellant, Bob Seana, a farmer in the Snoqualmie Valley, expressed his appreciation for the Council's action but warned that "it ain't over yet. The developer is big, arrogant, and has a lot of money. We're concerned that the developers will try political maneuvers to force this project through. We're operating on a shoestring budget, but we have the facts on our side."
The next round will be a new public hearing conducted by the Hearing Examiner to work out the details of the Council's decisions. The Council will then vote again on the proposal.
Two citizens' groups who organized to oppose the project--Neighbors Against Flooding and Friends Against Excessive Development--vowed to fight on.
We all believe that we are defending the rural character, farms, and the environment for all the citizens of the County now and for future generations. If you want to join a group against excessive development or would like to obtain more information, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cindy Parks, Fall City