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North Bend's building moratorium extended
The North Bend City Council again passed an ordinance
extending the long-running building moratorium, which prevents construction
of most buildings and subdivisions for another six months.
The moratorium restricts the issuance of any new building permits,
especially for subdivisions and businesses that require major water
use, such as restaurants. Some remodel projects are also affected by the
The restrictions are the result of the city using more water than allotted
and the lack of the availability of additional water rights.
The moratorium began in April of 1999 and could continue for at
least another two years.
Habitat dedicates Snoqualmie site
Habitat for Humanity of East King County officially dedicated its
50-acre Snoqualmie Ridge site on Nov. 29 where 20 homes will be built for
low-to mid-income families next summer.
Members of the non-profit group gathered at the Home Finding
Center on the Ridge, with representatives of the city of Snoqualmie,
Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co., and representatives from area businesses and families
that have been selected to move into a new Habitat home.
More homes will be built after next summer's building spree, to bring
the site's total to 50 houses.
North Bend sets tax cap at 2 percent
The North Bend City Council voted on Nov. 21 to prevent
property taxes from exceeding 2 percent next year, a move that chopped
$78,000 from the $4.5 million general fund budget for 2001.
The entire budget is $15.2 million, but the only part affected by the
tax cap is the general fund.
The decision was made despite talk that Initiative 722 which
was passed by Washington voters Nov. 7 could be ruled unconstitutional
or overturned in court. I-722 puts a 2 percent limit on property
assessment tax increases and, if upheld, would
roll back any tax and fee increases not approved by voters from July
through Dec. of 1999.
The cities of Carnation, Snoqualmie and Duvall stuck with
the maximum-allowable 6 percent raise in taxes on their lawyers' advice that
I-722 would be thrown out.
Local kayaker drowns in rapids
Chris Ringsven, a music teacher who moved to Snoqualmie in
August, drowned this month while kayaking down the Nisqually River in
Pierce County. Authorities aren't sure how or why he drowned.
Ringsven had led a group of five kayakers down the 1.7-mile run of
rapids on Dec. 2. The trip was part of the final weekend of the final year of
the three-year trial period to evaluate the safety and demand for the water
releases, which were intended to provide whitewater rafters and kayakers a
periodic taste of rapids in LaGrande Canyon.
Ringsven was 27 and taught music at middle and high schools in
Sammamish joins EFR consortium; Fall City
After months of controversy, the city of Sammamish was
officially added to the consortium of fire departments and districts known as
Eastside Fire & Rescue (EFR).
EFR now includes the cities of North Bend, Issaquah,
Sammamish, and King County Fire Protection Districts No. 38, which serves the
unincorporated county area between Snoqualmie and North Bend and
No. 10, which provides service for the unincorporated Pine Lake/Plateau
area and Carnation.
Sammamish established itself as a city one year ago and its officials
had until Dec. 31 to decide whether to create an independent fire department
or contract for services with EFR.
EFR would have lost $3.2 million of its $14 million in funding
if Sammamish had not joined.
The move was not positive for every Valley city Fire Protection
District No. 27 of Fall City lost a portion of its funding when Sammamish
went with EFR and decided not to continue paying District 27 for protecting
part of the new city. Fall City-area residents will face increased levy rates in
2001 as a result of the cut, but will not suffer a loss of services.
Fire guts historic Fall City home
A fire broke out Dec. 14 in a historic home near Fall City that
once belonged to the Boeing family, causing an estimated $300,000 in damage.
The former Boeing family home currently serves as the offices for
The Members Club at Alderra, a golf course being built by
Wisconsin-based Oliphant Golf Construction Inc.
Fire Protection District No. 27 Chief Chris Connor said the
fire started in the basement, near a broiler, and worked its way up through
the house, reaching all the way to the attic.
It took 45 minutes to get the fire under control. No one was injured
in the blaze.
Budget passes; community centers saved
The Metropolitan King County Council Dec. 15 unanimously
approved a $2.45 billion budget for 2001, saving the Si View pool
and Community Center in North Bend and the Preston Community Center
in Preston from closing their doors.
It was the second time in a month that the County Council adopted
a spending plan for next year. Ten days after the first budget ordinance
passed on Nov. 20, King County Executive Ron Sims vetoed the measure,
saying it was $54 million out of balance and would force the closure of
four county-run community centers, including those in the Valley.
Before council members voted on the budget, they approved
several amendments to be included in the ordinance. One from Councilman
David Irons, who represents the majority of the Valley, called on Sims to keep
the Si View Pool and Community Center and the Preston Community