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2008 State of the City

North Bend mayor sets optimistic tone following new water appeal settlement

The acquisition of water rights will usher in a “new era” of growth for North Bend, Mayor Ken Hearing said in his State of the City address at the regular City Council meeting, Tuesday, March 18.

The previous week, North Bend settled an appeal against the end of the water moratorium that has stifled growth in the city for nine years.

Hearing called the $40,000 settlement with the Stringfellows, who claimed the city’s plans would harm water levels on their property, “the best news I have received since I became mayor of this city.”

The settlement allows the city to move forward in changing code provisions and accepting applications for land development throughout the city, including downtown.

“With water availability, renovations and new development in downtown can occur and I promise you that I will insist that the revitalization of dilapidated downtown buildings be given the highest priority,” Hearing said. “I think we are all tired of having to defend the visual blight that exists at our busiest and most visible intersection.”

Later in the meeting, the Council approved the Downtown Master Plan to revitalize the area and stimulate economic growth.

Growth may also come in the form of annexation, as the city studies expanding its boundaries to the east end of the urban growth area, where sewer service is being extended.

“We owe it to those property owners in the UGA to make them a part of the city that they already call home and not allow the area to build out under the zoning and development regulations of King County,” the mayor said. “We can bring these property owners better, cheaper and more responsive service than what they currently receive.”

Hearing also stressed the need for a bond measure to replace the “inadequate, leaking and asbestos-filled” Fire Station 87 this year. The city has been negotiating replacement plans with Fire District 38 for months, but has so far been unable to work out an inter-local agreement.

“I call on our fire partners to step forward, put aside politics and join us in building a first class facility to last for the next 50 years for those that serve our community,” Hearing said.

The mayor reflected on work completed in 2007, which included improvements to Torguson Park, new welcoming and way-finding signage, the awarding of a contract for a new roundabout at North Bend Way and Cedar Falls Way, and emergency planning.

He also said “a healthy revenue stream generated from sales tax revenue within the city” had helped the Council avoid imposing a 2008 property tax increase.

• An audio recording of Mayor Hearing’s State of the City address is available at www.northbend.govoffice.com.

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