Northwest NEWS

December 9, 2002

Editorial

Opinion
Letters to the Editor  

Costco could cause fall in sales tax revenue for city
I do hope the city planners are acting aggressively to ensure that the newly planned Costco will somehow fall within the city limits. Otherwise the city will see a fall in sales tax revenue that will inevitably result from a more conveniently located Costco to Woodinville, and at the same time the city will see increased traffic, especially from the always humble freeloading Hollywood Hill madames and monsieurs who are sure to flock to Costco for the savings. I mean I sure have never seen poor folk shopping at a Costco to take advantage of the savings.
The Woodinville city limits look pretty much the way they looked back when I was in high school when Woodinville was known as a place to hold a kegger or to go to make a quick visit to Molbak’s to buy sensitivity plants. But despite having a larger business district with far more problems than neighboring Bothell, the city limits are rather modest to those of Bothell’s, and the tax base for enhancing basic services used by the larger population is insufficient. Unless the city extends its limits to include the Costco, I fear the citizens and businesses of Woodinville will once again be asked to pay increased taxes to make the necessary road improvements this development would require, much as we were assessed the increased utility taxes after the TRF developers made off like bandits.
Rande Jaffe, Woodinville

What about increasing property values?
I don’t quite understand everything I hear and read about the fire benefit charge levied by our fire department on top of the original fire department charge that shows up on our tax statements. (We now have two fire charges on our tax statements.)
Originally we were told that the two charges were needed to assure that our fire department would get its full $1.50 per thousand of assessed valuation. But for 2002 a tiny house belonging to one of my daughters had a total cost of $1.93 per thousand of assessed valuation, with my own much larger house being at $1.67.
The Woodinville Weekly’s Nov. 25th article on the fire department’s benefit charge stressed ever-increasing costs, particularly personnel costs, without mentioning the ever-increasing assessed property valuations in our area.
Well, perhaps the forthcoming letter from the fire department will further explain the situation.
Maxine Keesling, Woodinville

Group is looking for the best possible neighborhood
There are people in our neighborhood who want to stir up opposition to the siting of Brightwater on Highway 9. Unfortunately these are people who do not ask questions, seek accurate, detailed information or try to see what might be done to allay their fears. Their sole tactic is opposition backed by alarm.
Little Bear Creek Protective Association, a conservative-minded group which has existed for more than 20 years, has followed and investigated the course of development along Highway 9 and in proximity to Little Bear Creek with particular concern for the past five years. We know what can/could happen to that land, and we know exactly what impacts have occurred to the stream and what could occur in the future. A Brightwater wastewater treatment plant is by far the best alternative for wildlife, including salmon, and people alike.
Specifically, we are confident that such a treatment plant will emit no odors. The newest technologies, now used internationally, are sufficient to deal with all odor problems. The fact that Stockpot Soups has no such technology should be noted. Additionally, when Brightwater hired odor technicians (from across the Atlantic) to investigate the Stockpot problem, the technicians told us that soup type odors are far more difficult to deal with than sewage odors. Brightwater does not want to be blamed for the soup odors. They are attempting to assist Stockpot in dealing with the issue, or perhaps Stockpot will leave.
The concern over the aquifer is a real one and is being dealt with by the Brightwater team. If you have fears regarding this issue, contact the Brightwater team and ask them what they are proposing to do to avoid any possible aquifer disturbance. Don’t waste your money on scary posters.
A Brightwater plant means no industrial growth north of the light industrial/rural residential zoning line. Property north of that line will remain in its natural state being used for recreational and educational purposes only. No Brightwater would mean the building of a schoolbus parking lot and maintenance garage. Such an installation would mean the exchange of porous ground over 17 acres for a largely paved or built-up area, daily diesel emissions and hundreds of additional vehicle trips per day on Highway 9.
A Brightwater plant means the planting of hundreds of new full-sized trees and naturalistic landscaping. Which would you rather have on that land: total paving and huge warehouse/office buildings, generating hundreds of traffic units, or a treed buffer along the road, plantings around the buildings and only a handful of traffic trips per day? Which of these two scenarios would make our area a pleasanter place in which to live?
A Brightwater plant means a very considerable sum of money for the sole use of the community to enchance conservation and recreation within our watershed. This area south of Snohomish County has the opportunity to determine the future nature of its land uses and to create some very special areas of recreation for generations to come.
Little Bear Creek Protective Association has studied the above circumstances diligently and over time. We are not riding a hobby horse or trying to stretch any facts. We want the best possible neighborhood for people and wildlife. We invite you to join us in making our community the best it can be. Negativism is not the way forward.
Deborah Nicely, Woodinville

‘City Living, City Style’
I couldn’t help but notice your article on the complaints about the odors coming from the StockPot soup factory. I happen to like the smell, but it just goes to show that odors are something we all get stuck with, like it or not.
At a public meeting recently, I heard one of the proponents of the proposed Brightwater sewage treatment plant dismiss concerns about odor by noting that Woodinville already has odors, such as from the soup factory. Has it occurred to anyone that sewage has a much less pleasant smell than onion soup? And what about when we have temperature inversions? Will the burn ban be accompanied by a flush ban? Hardly.
I’m all for increasing sewage treatment capacity, but this particular idea stinks. Throw in the proposed Metro bus barn for good measure, and Woodinville can change its motto from “Country Living, City Style” to “City Living, City Style.”
Troy Beardslee, Woodinville

Brightwater: pollution and politics
As a husband and father of two young children living within a short distance of the proposed Brightwater site in Woodinville, I amazed to say that I am not shocked at all by Ron Sims’ decision to make Woodinville the “preferred alternative” site for the Brightwater sewage plant. Given the marketing genius behind a name like Brightwater in describing a sewage facility, one can’t help but assume spin, deception and politics-as-usual in the decision to make Woodinville the location of the state’s next mega-sewage treatment plant.
Sims made Woodinville his location of choice before the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released. Interesting. You’d think he and other government officials would want to first gather facts about a site prior to recommending it as a preferred location. Yet surprisingly, it looks like fact-finding and the pursuit of a truly optimal location are second to politics when it comes to locating sewage treatment facilities. As stated directly in the Draft Environment Statement (DEIS) for Brightwater, section 2.4.3.2, it reports “... both the legislature and the courts have found that in the past, EPF’s (Essential Public Facilities) have not been sited in optimal locations, but in those areas where there is the least amount of local opposition.”
If a lack of local and/or political opposition is the yardstick by which a facility location is selected, then it is obvious why the site in unincorporated Snohomish County was selected. There is virtually no political representation for residents located around the proposed Brightwater facility.
I am not opposed to a sewage treatment plant in Woodinville. Sewage treatment plants need to be located somewhere, and if the town I live in is really the best place for a treatment facility, then so be it, but the proposed Brightwater location in Woodinville is not the optimal location public officials claim.
1) The Woodinville site would be the most expensive site to build and operate out of the top four site candidates. In this time of government budget shortfalls and citizens screaming for less taxation, I’m wondering if Sims has heard the message behind several of the successful initiatives that have passed recently in the elections.
2) The site would be located directly over the sole source of drinking water for 13,000 people, and yet Brightwater officials are telling residents “don’t worry.”
3) The area does not have the capacity to support a hazardous accident.
4) The facility would be located in a bowl-shaped valley that traps and concentrates odors and toxins in the air. This valley funnels right into downtown Woodinville, a city already inundated with Stock Pot Soup odor complaints every time there’s an air inversion. Complaints range from downtown Woodinville and Hollywood Hill all the way to Redmond.
Considering the facts, and putting politics aside, Woodinville is not the optimal location it is said to be.
To all public officials in charge of King County’s next mega-sewage treatment plant: Keep your politics - polluted as they are - out of the small town of Woodinville. Only then can you accept the fact that Woodinville is not at all an optimal location for Brightwater.
Brian Orton, Woodinville

Kill Brightwater now
For anyone who lives in the Woodinville area and cares about the future quality of life here: You’d better get involved now to help fight against the impending mega-project (ironically named Brightwater) that is being foisted upon us by Ron Sims and his buddy, Mr. Executive of Snohomish County. What an incredible coup for Sims — get all of King County’s problems sited just over the border in Snohomish County which just happens to not have an elected board of representation. Perhaps the vigorous opposition from Edmonds City Council had a bit of influence on Sims’ announcement that the route 9 site is his #1 choice. Obviously, not too many folks will want a sewer plant near them, but there has to be a better location somewhere (maybe revisit the other seven or so already elminated?) How about up near the prison?
At any rate, I am hoping that the recent StockPot onion soup stinkout which resulted in three Puget Sound Air Board violations will wake a few people up and make them think: If I can smell the soup de jour all the way to the Willows Golf Course, I wonder if the sewer plant will ever smell bad? This is only a small consideration actually, since the site is also over the Cross Valley Aquifer, not to mention we’re talking about pumping 18 miles plus for the outfall to the ocean. Oh, yeah, it is legal for up to seven spills per year for sewer plants incidentally. As an engineer I simply will not believe that technology will prevent a plant from chronic emissions. There are too many other factors to allow mistakes, ranging from human error to budget constraints.
So, even though I am probably far enough away (Hollywood Hill) to escape noxious fumes, I really do not want the first thoughts in people’s minds to change from associating wineries = Woodinville to sewage plants = Woodinville, do you?
Gregg W. Frey, Woodinville

Letters to the editor are welcome and encouraged. Send them to P. O. Box 587 or 13342 NE 175th, Woodinville, WA. 98072; FAX them to (425)486-7593; or e-mail them to editorf@woodinville.com. They must be signed and include a daytime telephone number for verification. They may be edited.