Northwest NEWS

August 21, 2000


County needs to replace buffer that was cut down

   In 1996, the King County Council reversed its policies on Fully Contained Communities (FCC) for a developer to save Redmond Ridge. Months later, the Council erased its reasons from the Comp Plan that explained its prohibition on FCCs, and no one on the Council blinked.

   That policy admitted that containment of any urban community in King County was impossible, but for this developer, that policy was reversed.

   Less than two months ago, the state GMA Board upheld the county's unsubstantiated reversal of its FCC policies (while finding the rest illegal) by arguing that perimeter buffers would contain the urbanization of Redmond Ridge. The Board majority, former King County Councilwoman Lois North, said that a buffer would prevent the adverse impacts of city congestion and noise on the rural neighborhoods that surround Redmond Ridge.

   But over the weekend, the required 100-foot-thick "opaque" buffer, required by the Redmond Ridge plat, was cut down by Quadrant between the new city and Novelty Hill Road. Hundreds of mature trees that the county insisted would protect rural communities to the north are gone, and now Redmond Ridge's urbanization is already loose.

   From now on, rural residents will be forced to live alongside the shopping centers, apartment complexes, and offices, unless the county forces Weyerhaeuser to completely replace the buffer.

   Is there any chance that this county government, already known to have broken laws and cheated for Quadrant, will now stand up and act responsibly on behalf of the public?

Michael Costello, Redmond