Help stave off attacks on Sammamish Valley farmland.
Two times in the past local forces have attempted to move the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) deeper into the Sammamish Valley, attempting to remove agricultural land to increase development in our lovely valley. Both of these attempts were halted because they violated numerous portions of the ordinances which created the UGB.
However, there is a new attempt ongoing to move the UGB so that the city of Woodinville can annex agricultural properties adjacent to the city limits and allow urban development to creep further into the valley. Comments are being taken by the County Council this summer (2012).
Help Keep Our Valley Green!
Efforts are afoot to try to convince the County to convert a number of Rural properties adjacent to Hollywood Hill in the Sammamish Valley to Urban designation. This action would threaten not only the farms that keep the Valley green but also the "rural character" of communities like ours across King County. However, there is not a formal proposal yet to move the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), which controls land use zoning. By adding your comments against moving the UGB to the public comments surrounding the current King Couny Comprehensive Plan Update you can help stave off these attacks on our Valley.
You can voice you concerns by email to the King County Council members using the addresses below. The primary Council members who are involved in our area are Kathy Lambert, Jane Hague and Bob Ferguson. Larry Phillips is head of the TrEE committee, which has the most direct inputs on this issue. We also suggest that you send a copy to Dow Constantine, the County Executive, and to each Council member. Comments are being taken by the County Council this summer (2012).
Where do I send my comments?
Send emails to:
Executive, Dow Constantine
- 1st District, Bob Ferguson
- 2nd District, Larry Gossett
- 3rd District, Kathy Lambert
- 4th District, Larry Phillips
- 5th District, Julia Patterson
- 6th District, Jane Hague
- 7th District, Pete von Reichbauer
- 8th District, Joe McDermott
- 9th District, Reagan Dunn
Send hard copy letters to:
King County Chinook Building
401 5th Ave. Suite 800
Seattle, WA 98104
What do I say?
While you can, and should, personalize your comments, we are offering a sample letter you can personalize and send. We also offer a list of bullet points to help you form your thoughts. Feel free to use them verbatim, but addressing one point that is important to you is as effective as covering many points.
An important way that we can sum up the issue is to point out that the current boundaries are working and that we support the Executive's recommendation to keep them where they are.
- The farmlands and rural character of the Sammamish Valley promotes a sense of place that is of tangible, if incalculable, value to our community.
- Long term protection of the character of our community, on both the Urban and the Rural side of the line, is enhanced by keeping the Urban Growth Boundary where it is.
- The quality of the development of our community and the willingness of people to invest their time and money in various enterprises are enhanced by having stable boundaries and consistent policies that we can depend on.
- Allowing the Urban Growth Boundary to be moved as proposed would signal that such changes are likely to continue to occur, hindering our community from settling into stable, well considered long term planning policies.
- The farmlands and open space of the Sammamish Valley contributes a pastoral character to our area that enhances the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.
- Protecting the ability to have fresh locally grown food for our tables as well as those of generations yet to come should be a high priority goal for our community.
- The determined protection of the Sammamish Valley Agricultural Production District over the past 30 years is a success. Farms that laid fallow for years are being brought back into production, providing fresh local food for our tables.
- We do not need to sacrifice our remaining farmlands and Rural communities for Urban development. There is plenty of room inside of our existing Urban Growth Boundaries to accommodate our development needs for the foreseeable future.
- To meet our needs for land to develop our cities, businesses and homes, we have already chosen to sacrifice a lot of fine farmland in King County. In an effort to balance those needs, we preserved the heart of what is the best of our farmlands.
- The biggest threat to preserving farms is the cost of the land. Allowing encroachment on our agricultural lands in the manner being proposed will drive up prices on adjacent farm and rural buffer properties above what a farming business can support. If we lose the farmers, we lose the farms.
- Although there are strong protections in place to protect our farmlands, they depend on maintaining a public and political commitment to support them.
- Farm businesses are complex. Farmers, like other businesses, will be reluctant to put the time and resources forward to develop the infrastructure and business model if there is a good chance that the rug will be pulled out from under them. Proposals to move the UGB in the Valley are a prime example of how misguided policy can undermine an otherwise sound business plan.
- The Rural properties in question provide a crucial buffer and transition zone between the adjacent Urban area and the farmland.
County and City Planning
- Allowing piecemeal rezoning of a few properties, as is proposed, will likely lead to more such requests. This is the classic pattern by which strip mall/suburban sprawl has spread across too much of our land.
- The sense of place that we enjoy in our area is in large part due to the interface between Urban and Rural that has evolved in our Sammamish Valley. Moving the Urban Growth Boundary would put that at risk.
- The blossoming of the wine and spirits industry is a success story for our area. A significant factor in this has been the bucolic atmosphere that the farmlands and wooded hillsides as a backdrop for the heart of the "Woodinville Wine Country". If we lose this special atmosphere, it could endanger the tourism and the wine and spirits industry in this region.
- Maintaining our Urban Growth Boundaries helps us to focus our investment energies into developing our Urban as well as Rural communities and businesses in a more efficient manner.
- Suburban sprawl is expensive. Building and maintaining roads, sewer, water and other services is more expensive per capita for sprawled out municipalities than it is for better planned and more compact communities. Granting the proposed UGB move would lead directly to such sprawl patterns.
- The City of Woodinville does not need the parcels
within the proposed areas to accommodate their stated
goals. The 24 acre "Woodinville Wine Village" just
south of the south parcels has already been mixed use
winery related development, yet remains undeveloped.
Just north of the north parcels there are large areas
of underutilized properties zoned "Central Business
District". Woodinville's own Comp Plan states that
"Woodinville has nearly 174 acres of vacant and
redevelopable commercial and industrial land."
If you wish to use this sample letter in your comments, please feel free to personalize it. You can download a copy of it here..
A current proposal to move the Urban Growth Boundary in the Sammamish Valley threatens not only the productive farmlands in the Valley but also the future of the quality of life for our greater Woodinville community.
I am writing to urge your support for maintaining the current Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) in the Sammamish Valley. This is in response to ongoing efforts by a group to convince the County to move the UGB and pave the way for an unneeded expansion of the City of Woodinville deeper into the Valley.
Our Woodinville community, both Urban and Rural, has a unique combination of amenities that make it such a desirable place for our families to live, work and play. We are also becoming respected as a regional destination.
A key contributor to this quality of life is the verdant Sammamish Valley. This cornerstone of Rural King County complements the cities of Woodinville and Redmond on each end and Kirkland on the west with its mix of productive farmlands, forested hillsides and clean air. The fresh produce, Valley trail and open space together provide a sense of place that is increasingly hard to find.
This has not come about through chance. Years of citizen involvement and resultant public policy have worked together to allow our community to evolve as it has. With continued consistent policy, our community can continue to grow and improve along this path.
The proposal to move the UGB in the Valley adjacent to Woodinville in two places would put all of this in jeopardy.
The piecemeal rezoning represented by this proposal would open the door for strip mall sprawl to creep out along our Rural roadways and make it ever more difficult to protect the delightful "rural character" of our neighborhood.
It would also directly threaten the long term viability of the farms that serve not only to provide fresh local food, but also as the reasons why we have been able to successfully protect the open green spaces of the Sammamish Valley.
The biggest threat to local agriculture is inflation of the price of land. If we allow other uses to infringe on farmland, as this proposal would allow, the price of all of the local land goes up and farming is no longer economically viable. And as the farms go, so goes the rationale for protecting the Valley from urban development.
Many of the Rural properties in question provide a buffer between the City and the farmland. Allowing these to be converted to Urban uses would invite development that would increase runoff and sedimentation, and introduce other elements that are incompatible with farming.
The Growth Management Act, the King County Comprehensive Plan and the Countywide Planning Policies are clear in their support for defending designated Rural areas and Agricultural Resource Lands specifically from development that is inconsistent with the long-term preservation of the values that these lands contribute to our regional well being.
The current proposal falls far short of the goals and technical standards of these policies.
With this in mind, I urge you, hold fast that Sammamish Valley Urban Growth Boundary line for now…and for our future..
Download the Hollywood Hill Association "Comments on Motion 13475 Sammamish Valley Area Comprehensive Plan Designation and Zoning Study December 12, 2011"
Download maps of the areas of interest: