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Irons hosts forum on subarea plan

FALL CITY — About 60 Fall City residents showed up at King

County Councilman David Irons' getting-to-know-the-issue forum last week on

the Fall City Subarea Plan. The newly elected official listened as

people stood up and testified for and against the plan while others urged

their neighbors to "compromise" their views.

The latest talks are a culmination of months of discussion on the

plan that King County Executive Ron Sims approved last September. The

plan was then forwarded to the Growth Management and Unincorporated

Areas Committee who will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on March 14 at

Chief Kanim Middle School.

The Subarea Plan will replace the 11-year-old Snoqualmie Valley

Community Plan which zoned the city for anticipated growth and sewers —

a step many residents strongly oppose. After months of meetings,

however, the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) recommended to shrink

the town boundaries and rezone the Urban Reserve to RA-5 (one

dwelling unit per five acres). Other CAC-backed zoning changes

included eliminating potential commercial zoning and potential mining areas.

Most of the people who testified agreed that preserving Fall City's

rural character was very important. But exactly where the new zoning

boundaries should be, generated a lot of discussion.

Some said that negotiating with an owner about the proposed

boundary lines would only cause a "domino effect" of requests from others

who would want the same consideration.

Instead, Fall City resident Paul Carkeek urged the other residents

to support the executive's recommendation because it represented the

interests of the community.

"No plan makes everyone happy," said Carkeek. "And this plan

really spoke through the consensus feeling of the CAC. Things do change and

in order for us to be a healthy community, we all need to bend to others

for their best interest."

Lance Keizer proposed a creative way to solve the dispute among

property owners who want to develop their land but can't because of the

proposed zoning restrictions.

"I'm wondering if in the executive's proposal if he took out

a map and drew what the people wanted, to see?" he asked. "There are only

a couple dozen people who want to do something, and if you see it, it

won't be much [development]."

Another resident agreed that the county should ease up on

restrictions in the residential areas, but for a

different reason. Ian Macrae, an alternate member of the CAC, said in the

old days people were allowed to sell "eggs and milk from a shack" and that

businesses shouldn't be grouped up like they are in Fall City.

"We're creating a Klahanie with all houses. I want to see more

businesses. We're not building neighborhoods, we're building housing ghettos,"

he said. "Why not have an Italian restaurant and a tavern on the corner?"

Other key points of Sims' Subarea Plan recommendation include:

• Investigate feasibility of alternate sewage disposal methods for the

business district;

• Study the possibility of creating a core landmark and historic

preservation district;

• Evaluate traffic problems;

• Designate the Preston-Fall City Road as a scenic drive; and

• Provide more trails and open space.

As for Irons' comments on the plan, he said he'd wait until all the

information has been gathered at the public hearing before he makes

his position known. The entire Growth Management and Unincorporated

Areas Committee will be at the March 14 meeting.

A copy of the CAC's and Sims' proposal can be viewed at the

county's Web site at www.metrokc.gov/ddes.

In addition to the upcoming public hearing, the council will also

accept written testimony to the King County Council, 516 3rd Ave.,

Room 1200, Seattle, WA 98104. The plan could possibly be forwarded to the

full council by late this month or early April.

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