2006 Rural Economic Strategies
PUBLIC REVIEW DRAFT
(Note: the following Hollywood Hill Association Responses and Concerns are based on the "Proposed 2006 Rural Economic Strategies (RES) Code Changes Package Summary Report", available here.)
HHA Responses and Concerns to the 2006 RES Code Changes
The Hollywood Hill Association (HHA), which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, has about 400 members, all of which are residents or landowners in Rural unincorporated King County. The HHA has been defending “rural character” since before GMA, Farmland Preservation Programs and before such clear lines were drawn between urban and rural. While our community is large and quite diverse, we recognize that the totality of Rural King County expands considerably on this diversity. It is in the interest of the long-term vitality, indeed the very survival, of what we call Rural King County that we seek to maintain and improve the effectiveness of our land use codes and zoning while respecting our broad diversity.
A cornerstone to such effective administration lies in wielding as light a regulatory hand as possible on uses of private property. But, if we are to continue to enjoy a rural character in parts of our county, we must defend it from densities and activities that are inconsistent with that character.
The HHA finds that, while the RES proposal’s fundamental intent of loosening restrictions on small home-based enterprises is commendable, and some of the concepts have merit, several of the proposed changes go well beyond this goal and are likely to allow commercial development which would have serious negative impacts on the rural character of our communities.
These proposals would also reduce requirements for manufacturing and retail business proposals to show compatibility with pre-existing neighboring uses.
The HHA has these specific recommendations:
- Slow down and solicit more citizen input on these proposals from across the county.
- Keep Conditional Use Permit requirements in place for new commercial uses. This is an accepted process to keep new uses in sync with the neighborhood and infrastructure. It also allows for citizens inputs to the process.
- Keep square foot limits on interior area useable for “activities”. If any further increases are deemed appropriate, they should be tied to lot size.
- Clarify part time employees and issues of total employees. Consider referencing total employees to lot size.
- Maintain limitations on nuisance activities.
- Vehicle storage limitations may be relaxed, but the amendment allowing unlimited vehicle storage should not be adopted.
- Maintain codes protecting our farmlands from uses that would drive their prices above agricultural prices.
- Changes of this magnitude need to be evaluated through a SEPA review. This is the only opportunity to analyze the environmental effects of such broad based changes.
- Effects on traffic and infrastructure need to be more carefully considered in all cases.