County’s flexibility is just window dressing

It would be great if the letter and environmentalists' quotes about King County's Critical Areas Ordinance in the June 2 Record were accurate. It would be great if the "flexibility" allowed under rural stewardship and farm plans were as portrayed.

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 3:27am
  • Opinion

It would be great if the letter and environmentalists’ quotes about King County’s Critical Areas Ordinance in the June 2 Record were accurate. It would be great if the “flexibility” allowed under rural stewardship and farm plans were as portrayed.

But let readers be the judge of that so-called flexibility, as set out in the draft county Rural Stewardship Planning Administrative Rule’s eight rural stewardship critical areas goals:

“1. Avoid impacts … by not taking previously planned action;

2. Exceed the goal … to protect existing functions and values of critical areas;

3. If there is potential to affect more than one category of (critical areas) … impacts to the highest category … should be avoided;

4. Locate development activities as far from surface drainage paths as possible;

5. Minimize impacts by … relocating, redesigning … an action;

6. Restore or enhance critical areas or critical area buffers …;

7. Eliminating impacts [by] implementing best management practices and meeting performance standards during the life of the development; and

8. Monitor the effectiveness … and implement additional practices through adaptive management to restore critical area functions when necessary.”

Farm and rural stewardship plans must achieve all goals and they must be recorded against property titles. There is no cutoff time. (So future owners can be bound by “adaptive management” to restore/enhance, say, wildlife habitat into perpetuity. And no way will owners be able to locate their homes within sight of their waterways.)

In the designated rural area – which is only 15 percent of the county as compared to over 60 percent of the county in the designated forest production district – the so-called “flexibility” is merely window dressing to achieve the county’s lockup goals via a different route.

It’s also important to note that the tax advantages of the Public Benefit Rating System are available only to those properties that “go beyond” the requirements of county regulatory requirements.

Existing agriculture in the designated agriculture production district does have grandfathered status that the rural area does not have. However, even in the agriculture district, expansion of agriculture into previously uncleared areas is subject to the critical areas rules.

Maxine Keesling

Woodinville



In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Dr. Jayendrina Singha Ray’s research interests include postcolonial studies, spatial literary studies, British literature, and rhetoric and composition. Prior to teaching in the U.S., she worked as an editor with Routledge and taught English at colleges in India. She is a resident of Kirkland.
How chips define the evolving world order | Guest column

Semiconductor chips are the new oil that the world can go to war over.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Cartoon by Frank Shiers

Cartoon by Frank Shiers… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
My bold New Year’s resolutions – late, as usual | Whale

I was born late — exactly three weeks — despite my mother’s… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
For some state lawmakers, short session is all about re-election | Roegner

The Washington state Legislature opened on Jan. 10 against a backdrop of… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Greg Asimakoupoulos
Jan. 6, 2021: A date that will live in infamy | Guest column

Jan. 6, 2021. Sadly, for most Americans, that date has become one… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Are we driving more recklessly during the pandemic? | Roegner

Have you noticed — pre-snowstorm — more people taking chances with reckless… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com
Don’t fool yourself: COVID’s tentacles are long enough to reach even you | Robert Whale

From March 2020 until recently, it seemed to me that COVID-19 always… Continue reading

Most Read