Northwest NEWS

August 19, 2002

Editorial

What's your vision for city?

In 1995 the City Council went through a process of defining the community's vision for Woodinville.
   The City Council achieved this seemingly impossible task by holding a series of 20 meetings scheduled on different days, at different times and at different locations throughout the city in order to reach as much of the community as possible. The objectives of these meetings were to listen to the community, to develop a clear understanding of what was important to the residents and to learn first-hand how residents wanted Woodinville to develop. This community vision became the basis for the City's Comprehensive Plan.
   In 2002, the City of Woodinville hired a consultant to seek community input for "fine-tuning" the community's vision for the downtown corridor as well as for an area along 177th Place (Little Bear Creek Parkway) and continuing along the Woodinville-Snohomish Road to the north bypass. This "fine-tuning" is now called the Downtown Master Plan and the Little Bear Creek Corridor Master Plan and have been merged into a single draft plan.
   Among the major changes that are included are: an increase of building heights from a base 35 feet to 55 feet and 67 feet throughout the area; increases in density (squeezing more units into a single space), shifting the main street from 175th Avenue to Garden Way and developing Transit Oriented Housing over the park and ride to provide mixed uses, including affordable housing.
   These plans did not begin with a blank slate onto which residents could build a foundation for a plan that would emerge. Instead, the plan began with the assumptions that the city would need to "build up" and "build more" until it seems to more closely resemble a developer's wish come true than the community's vision for the area.
   We have to ask ourselves if the original vision from 1995 is "broken" or outdated? If it's not, then why such a radical change? If the consultant sees the draft plan as just "fine-tuning" then what would "a change" look like?
   If the vision does need to be updated, then shouldn't the first step the consultant takes be to inform the residents why, how and where the vision needs to be changed? Secondly, since this area consists of so much of the city's acreage and the proposed radical changes will have a significant impact on residents‚ lives, wouldn't the Council want to again be assured they hear first-hand the residents' voices as they did in 1995 prior to any plan being drafted?
   As it stands now you are going to be sent a "graphic" of the plan and asked to comment on "features" of it. Presumably this means you are not being asked to comment on the entire plan.
   If you believe that the vision of Woodinville is too important to be left to consultants and developers, I urge you to take the time to review the "graphic" and submit your comments. If it doesn't match your vision of Woodinville, please let the consultant know.
   If you like some of the features, identify those, but make certain your comments are clear that you are not endorsing the entire plan. If you feel the information provided is insufficient to make an informed decision, let them know.  
   If you believe the vision for your community looks a lot different from this plan, please take the time to comment. If you do not respond it will be a vote that you endorse the plan.
   If you would like to read meeting comments and an analysis of the meetings and materials that were handed out, I also urge you to spend a few minutes visiting the AWR web site at www.awrweb.org for additional information.
   Executive Board, Alliance of Woodinville Residents