RE: REZONE ISSUES IN THE FITZGERALD SUBAREA -- THE CITY
OF BOTHELL, STATE OF WASHINGTON
I had written Senator Patty Murray regarding our long,
protracted, rezone hearing process, asking for advice on
dealing with delays that have forced our land ownership
situation from a possible R-4 zoning into an experimental
zoning referred to as a critical species habitat. Critical
species habitat zoning would include very restrictive
development codes that are previously rarely tried and code
unwritten in what is described by the city's environmental
engineering consultant as being entirely experimental,
requiring 100 to 200 years in old growth forest creation.
The reply that I received from the senator, as expected,
suggested that we needed to pursue resolve on this issue
with our local government, a process that had already begun.
We continued on that path.
The following is a condensed timeline of events that have
taken place, to date, since letters were exchanged with the
Starting In 2005
* All subarea requests for rezone were denied except for two
requests, Berry/Phillips, that had been pending since 1997.
These two rezone requests were scheduled to be heard in the
* The Bothell city council voted to create a transportation
corridor, The Bothell Connector, through the Berry/Phillips
properties, as well as others, bisecting them and removing
homes. The Bothell Connector would provide a medium to high
volume solution to regional traffic snarl problems, a very
long awaited and badly needed remedy.
* In rezone deliberations, the council broke the Fitzgerald
subarea up into three zones for zoning consideration
purposes. Zone 1 included the properties, including
Berry/Phillips, that were farthest from North Creek, the
valley's major stream. Zone 3 is adjacent to North Creek and
zone 2 in between.
* The property owners involved in Zone 1, 17 in total...
Map Of Properties [popup]
...united to try to convince the city council to review the
appropriateness of including Zone 1 in the restrictive
development codes that did not appropriately apply to dry
hillside properties that were to be separated from the
Critical Species Habitat by the linear north-south
construction of the Bothell Connector project.
* The city council voted to up-zone the Zone 1 properties to
the highest residential zoning of R5400A.
* The city council voted to hire an environmental
engineering firm, Parametrix, to survey the Critical Species
Habitat properties and to make recommendations on low impact
development restrictions. This was done in part to satisfy
the Washington State Growth Management Board's requirement
that the city provide facts and findings to substantiate
their claims regarding a critical species habitat.
* The environmental engineering firm's recommendations for
low impact development (LID) restrictions precluded land
development feasibility and developers refused involvement
in the planning at that point.
* The property owners are faced with the highest residential
zoning classification taxation available and the inability
to sell the properties in light of the experimental LID and
the Bothell Connector arterial bisecting their properties.
They have not been paid for the arterial dedicated right-of-
way land and are, and have been for years, in a stressful
state of limbo facing loss of property due to taxation. In
the Berry's case, they are farmers who operated on sweat
equity investing with cash as they went. Their land is their
sole investment for retirement and they are stuck without
recourse in this unfortunate turn of events.
Meanwhile the lands immediatly surrounding the east and
north sides of Zone 1 are under development at R 6-8. The
lands immediately to the south are existing apartments. And,
again, on the west, the Bothell Connector defines the island
effect created for Zone 1 properties.
For more information regarding this...
Video coming soon.
Note that there are many details that fill in the timeline
but are avoided here for brevity's sake.