Northwest NEWS

June 4, 2001


County is throwing up roadblocks to new athletic fields

King County's acute disdain for parks and active recreation is newly evidenced in Executive Ron Sims' recently-proposed changes to the county's highly-touted transfer of development rights (TDR) program.
   While thousands of acres of rural and resource lands will be preserved under the TDR program, former provisions for parks and active recreation uses in the preserved areas have been eliminated, even as provisions for passive recreation use in open space remain.
   Couple the complete elimination of active recreation in the TDR program with the county's 4-to-1 program limitation of 5 percent active-use area in the 4-to-1 open space, and you come up with an almost complete disregard for sports fields and other active recreation on the county's part.
   The county keeps saying it can't find land for athletic fields, but at the same time it's throwing up huge roadblocks to ever finding any.
   Landowners thinking of selling development rights should be wary.
   The TDR program policies call for county control of remaining land if an owner does not sell rights to all of a parcel.
   And taxpayers should realize they'll pay too, as providers of funding for a county bank to buy and re-sell development rights.
   They'll also pay for city amenities, such as parks, traffic improvements, and street landscaping, to compensate cities for accepting increased densities.
   Maxine Keesling, Woodinville