Northwest NEWS

November 11, 2002

Editorial

'Minor modification' allows gas station near aquifer

A critical issue to well owners on Union Hill during the Redmond Ridge hearings in 1997 was the concern that Redmond Ridge would destroy the aquifer. While the Union Hill Water Association experts feared the worst after their extensive analysis, the developer's expert, not surprisingly, convinced the county examiner that there was little to worry about. Redmond Ridge was approved with extensive monitoring and well protection agreements with "some" neighboring communities anyway.
   Once the county approved the Redmond Ridge plat, the public was out of the loop and it was up to King County DDES to establish the permit details.Today, all homeowners on wells should know that DDES has approved a "minor modification" to the plat to allow a gas station to be constructed just south of Novelty Hill Road at NE 224th Ave.
   This will put it right above the critical recharge area for the Union Hill aquifer that provides water to thousands of homes and much of Redmond.
   I have some questions: If this gas station is no threat to the aquifer, then why was it kept hidden from the public in the original application presented to the county? If it had been revealed, well owners would have screamed bloody murder.
   How can such a threat to the aquifer be approved as a "minor modification?" And why does King County leave the negotiating of critical plat details to DDES planners who are paid by developer fees with no accountability to the voters? The King County Council approves these final plats without any review what so ever.
   Michael Costello, Redmond