County council signs off on Fall City Subarea Plan

FALL CITY _ Last Monday the King County Council finally

approved the blueprint that will guide the future of Fall City.

A Citizens Advisory Committee began discussions on the Fall

City Subarea Plan in 1998. It was then forwarded to King County Executive

Ron Sims and later to the council.

"We're building a plan for now and for two generations,"

said Councilmember David Irons. "So it needed to fit today and the vision

of 10 to 20 years from now."

"If you were to build a plan only for today, that would be great; but

what happens 10 years from now?" he added.

A couple of amendments relating to the sewage treatment options in

the business district were re-written to reflect the community's desire to

keep sewers out of the downtown core. Items such as "…public sewers

should be considered to serve the Fall City businesses" were deleted from the

final draft, making it clear that the residents preferred to explore other

alternatives before having to resort to any type of sewer system.

In addition, the amendment calls for the formation of a technical

work group composed of residents and King County officials to study the

failing septic system conditions in Fall City.

"We all agree that we don't want sewers," Irons said. "The group

will investigate options and issues and come up with some possible


"The last time they did this about 15 years ago the only solution

was sewers. But I don't think sewers is a good solution in Fall City."

Irons said that Sims has two years to appoint the people to the

positions, do the research and make recommendations. The plan would then guide

the future decisions of Fall City, including an amendment that calls for

reclassifying two acres behind the downtown business district from R-4

(four dwelling units per acre)/potential Community Business to R-4-P


However, the parcels could be rezoned later to allow certain

businesses. It all depends on what types of wastewater treatments the technical

work group recommends.

"It is an important report for the long-term health of the rivers,

salmon and Fall City," Irons said of the

group's future work. "This shouldn't be taken lightly."

The council also voted to re-zone the five parcels along State Route

202 across the street from the totem pole from A-10/potential Regional

Business to Neighborhood Business. The difference between the two

classifications, Irons said, is that Regional Business accommodates businesses

meant to serve the entire Valley, such as a Kmart, as opposed to the

Neighborhood Business zoning, which would allow only businesses that cater to

the needs of the Fall City community.

The council also shrunk the town boundaries of the Rural Town,

which allows four homes per acre. The new zone is bordered by State Route

202 to the north, a portion of 324th Avenue to the west, Southeast

Issaquah-Fall City Road to the south and the Raging River to the east.

The outlying areas of the Rural Town that were previously

classified as the Urban Reserve have been changed to Rural Residential RA-5

or one home per five acres.

"The zoning is protecting the rural nature of Fall City," he said.

"Only after many years will we know how successful we were."

Other elements of the plan include:

• Develop a rural character program to address issues such as

rural landscape, signs, vistas, historic landmarks and design standards;

• Create a pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian crossing at State Route

203 and Southeast 39th Place; and

• Study the traffic safety needs of the community.

"This was a vision made from hundreds of people and if it were to

satisfy one person, it would be a miracle," Irons said. "It was meant to be a

vision. If you have quality input from all parties, it's probably the best

plan we can have."

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