Northwest NEWS

April 29, 2002

Editorial

Tourist Overlay District and a change to residential zoning

The purpose of writing this letter today is to alert my fellow citizens to a potential proposed change of zoning regarding our special Tourist Overlay District.
   Currently we have a beautiful setting in the Sammamish Valley with successful businesses that are tourist oriented for retail and commercial use. These businesses include Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Columbia Winery, Redhook Brewery, the beautiful Willows Lodge and the Northshore baseball fields.
   Our family has found out that there is one more property on the 145th corridor that is being considered for development by a big corporation. This corporation may build large clustered wood condominiums and townhouses on the property. It was our understanding when we moved into this valley that the 145th area was designated as the Tourist District Overlay.
   This district was to provide tourist-oriented retail and commercial uses that would be visually compatible and complimentary to the Sammamish Valley, Woodinville, the surrounding businesses, future buildings and the agricultural and recreational activities of the valley.
   Also, we understood all development of buildings would be environmentally sensitive. The area was planned to attract visitors to wineries, art galleries, garden stores, theatrical events, concerts, restaurants, the grange hall, a photography studio, furniture boutiques, the wedding hall, coffee bistros and antique and arts and craft stores. All these are compatible and appropriate for the area.
   This proposed 125-unit residential project would be located next door to the Hollywood Vineyards Shopping Center between the Sammamish Slough on 145th and directly across from the Northshore baseball field.
   This is the same intersection where the city is planning the roundabout. Our neighborhood is enthusiastic and supportive of the city's vision to put in a roundabout at the intersection of 145th at Woodinville-Redmond Road and Northeast 148th.
   The reason for the roundabout is to ease traffic flow at this intersection. We have supported the roundabout because we feel that the valley will be more pedestrian friendly as well as architecturally attractive as a tourist destination for bike riders, walking enthusiasts, equestrians and shoppers.
   The corporate builder who is proposing to build at the intersection 145th in Woodinville has built similar condominiums/townhouses in Redmond. The Redmond condos and townhouses present a two-story wall that blocks all of the views of the Redmond Sammamish Valley. These units are directly across from the Bella Bottega Shopping Center.
   The traffic at the Bella Bottega shopping center and the entrance to this huge residential project at peak hours is stopped and slow. Woodinville has the right idea about the roundabout to help with traffic congestion. If we allow a change of zoning to provide for large residential developments at this Woodinville intersection, we then defeat the purpose of the expense and effort of putting in the "roundabout and the coninuing existence of the Tourist Overlay District."
   This letter is an appeal to our neighbors to stand up and be heard by our planning commissioners who make recommendations to our City Council.
   The Planning Commission could allow the tourist district with its special district overlay to change from what was originally classified as a tourist destination visitors' area to residential. We moved here to enjoy our beautiful valley.
   Please citizens, speak up against any changes to the carefully planned zoning of this sensitive area.
   Paul Williams Huey, III