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Open space change on November ballot

King County voters weigh in this fall on an amendment to the King County Charter that would tighten rules regarding conserved open spaces.

On the November election ballot, Charter Amendment No. 4 would provide enhanced protection for county properties designated as having high conservation value, such as local forests, shorelines and wildlife habitats.

The amendment would require a 28-day public comment period, finding of facts and a supermajority vote for sale or transfer of properties on the conservation inventory.

Places in the Snoqualmie Valley that would come under the new rules include the Three Forks and Middle Fork Natural Areas, Fall City Park, and the Stillwater Natural Area in Carnation.

The amendment would not require additional taxes.

“This is not an effort to tax citizens to buy more open space,” said John Jensen, amendment campaign co-chairman. “We already own all properties on the list.”

Properties and development rights were acquired by King County over a long period of time, all with the intent that they would be preserved in perpetuity as open space because of inherent conservation value.

“The amendment will ensure a healthy public discussion of any change in the list,” Jensen said, “yet still allows the county council the agility to make decisions about public land.”

Amendment No. 4 has been endorsed by the Meadowbrook Farm Preservation Association Board and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. No opposition was listed on the state voter’s pamphlet.

Places to be protected

Places in the Snoqualmie Valley that would get extra protection from sale or transfer include:

• Carnation Marsh Natural Area

• Chinook Bend Natural Area

• Fall City Natural Area

• Fall City Park West

• Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Area

• Most of the Moss Lake Natural Area

• Patterson Creek Natural Area

• Raging River Natural Area

• Ring Hill Forest

• Stillwater Natural Area

• Three Forks Natural Area

• Most of Tollgate Farm

•Tolt River Natural Area

Areas protected from development also include:

• 425 acres at Ames Lake Forest above Tolt McDonald Park.

• 90,476 acres of Snoqualmie Forest east of Carnation

• 2,724 acres in the Raging River Forest

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