Three Lakes

A blog for members and friends of Three Lakes Neighbors for Responsible Growth, dedicated to monitoring and maintaining the rural environment of central Snohomish County, Washington

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Rural Cluster Hearings

I attended the Snohomish County Council Rural Cluster Subdivision (RCS)Ordinance Revision hearings this afternoon at the county council hearing room on the eighth floor of the County Admin Building in Everett. Also attending from Three Lakes were Bev Setzer and Dan Crossman. (Background information)

I got there a bit late so didn't get signed up to testify, which meant I had to wait until the end.  I slipped into one of the few empty seats near the back and listened to testimony from a variety of citizens about the proposed changes to the current Rural Cluster Subdivision ordinance.

Most of the persons testifying were from the Seven Lakes area or the Three Lakes area, which have had a history of opposition to the RCS concept as developers have tried to apply it. The SNOPORCH people resubmitted their petition with over 600 signatures asking for abolition of the entire classification. Kristin Kelly from Futurewise submitted a new petition essentially supporting the proposed changes with over 300 signatures gathered in the last few days.

From the other side (opposing the changes to the ordinance) there were landowners who are concerned about their inability to get the "full value" from their property if the density bonus was decreased. Also testifying were several builders, representatives of the Real Estate community, and some technical experts who had problems with various nits of the changes.

Since I was at the end, and most of what I wanted to say had already been said, I described some of the problems we had had with the process while fighting our local RCS, and made a plea for them to do a better job of balancing the power between the various factions.  As I see it, the Developers have the upper hand since they will make the money off the development and can spend that money on lawyers to get things done their way.  The neighbors and other citizens of the the county have to pool their resources to force the developers to follow the law.  The PDS should be the balancing force, making everyone follow the law, but in fact they tend to support the developers, allowing them to get away with things that are clearly not legal.

The Council decided that more hearings will be necessary so they continued the hearing until January 7, 2009 at 6:30 pm. This will allow working people to come to the hearing and provide further comments.

After the hearing Bev and I talked with a gentleman from 7-Lakes and with a reporter from the Snohomish Tribune, who will be doing an article. I'll update this and link it when if it is posted online.