Caps on rural development queried

Letter to the Editor

Putting a cap on rural development to comply with an arbitrary

number plucked out of the air in the early 90s will, in itself, result in

non-compliance with GMPC and county comprehensive plan policies that say

“development on existing sub-standard lots in the rural area shall be permitted

when applicable development standards, such as Board of Health

regulations for on-site sewage disposal, can be met.” (That quotes CPP LU-12[e]

and reflects Complan policy R-207, as well as mirroring what rural

landowners have been promised since Gary Grant’s time on the county council).

Instead of an arbitrary number, the rural-lots allocation should have

been based on the number of existing grandfathered lots in the rural area,

and then the master-plan developments’ population could have been

trimmed accordingly. Or, the MPDs could have been required to buy

development rights from the little guys.

Besides the obvious unfairness of outlawing existing legal lots –

especially when we’re supposedly guaranteed “reasonable use” – there’s the

fact that on a regional basis you’re worsening sprawl. People who don’t

like raising children in apartments worsen sprawl and traffic congestion by

commuting to outlying counties where single-family housing is

affordable. And better-off apartment dwellers who might otherwise keep themselves

busy on horse acres are buying weekend and vacation homes all over the

state, to relieve the monotony of apartment living. Seattle’s mayor is an

example of that.

As far as the claim of some that rural King County will be

“paved over” if existing highly taxed lots

are built on, no way will that happen. What with downzoning, sensitive

areas and their buffers, salmon habitat and other wildlife lockups,

basin plans’ 65 percent native growth retention, critical drainage areas, land

that won’t perc for septics, and governments’ continuing buyout of

private lands (despite governments’ owning over 50 percent of King County

decades ago), there is no way rural King County will be “paved over.”

If this group has any regard for fairness and attention to the

facts, [they] won’t adopt a rural cap.

Maxine Keesling