October 3, 2008 · Updated 1:09 AM
This letter is in regards to the rezoning by the King County Council of two parcels in unincorporated King County (South I-90A and South I-90B).
King County has taken a significant step forward in preserving open space and buffering the Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic and Natural Conservancy Area from proximate development. By virtue of a vote to approve these two land-use map amendments, the county concluded negotiations with property owners that resulted in obtaining more than 160 acres of permanently dedicated open space.
One amendment moved the proposed development of homes downhill, away from the view from the Valley floor. In return for the dedication of 50 acres of open space, the owner, who had zoning to build eight homes far up the hillside, was given zoning for 16 homes and directed to cluster them closer to I-90. In the other amendment, residents of an adjacent urban development were buffered from any future high-density development on the site. A few home sites were approved and the remainder of the land was dedicated to open space.
These are always tough votes. While council members are warmly applauded for acquisition of open space, they are sometimes criticized for their decisions to create badly needed housing in the region. These agreements strike a very beneficial compromise and prevent future development of lands high on the Rattlesnake Ridge hillside.
Owners of the land to the west were planning to develop the properties, as allowed under current zoning. There was significant council support for this plan. Council member David Irons advocated strongly for the dedication of open space on both parcels. He is to be strongly commended for his vote to preserve open space. No development should take place without first considering the impacts on Rattlesnake Ridge.