An Open Letter ~ 11.15.2013

We are living a nightmare more real than words can convey. We have been trying
to get reasonable resolution to our dilemma since 1997 with the city of Bothell
and the more time that passes the deeper the problems become.

Our son has been developing a rare brain disorder known as Multiple Symptoms
Atrophy. There is little therapy for the condition and we are facing having to
care for him, to provide for him a Trust to see him beyond our years if
necessary. We have land in the city to sell and our local government has deemed
us an Experiment, a Critical Species Habitat, along with all land owners in a
subarea of various conditions and land types. 

This is a long story. I've written to both senators some years ago and was
referred back to the city with recommendations that our situation needed to be
dealt with at the local government level. Our situation only worsened although
we were able to reduce land loss from 65% down to 50%. We are also saddled with
a highway right of way certified by the Army Corp of Engineers, a highway that
has no funding or possible funding in the near future, assumed in our life time.

The majority of the land owners in our zone, a gentle slope with few critical
areas, are old age and have wanted to move on for a long time. After fighting
for our rights we were given adequate zoning but with LID restrictions, the loss
of half our land, and experimental land use that code has apparently not been
completed for. We have been approached by a long list of land developers who
greatly desire the chance to work with the city but leave the project before
feasibility because they can't get answers from the city that will guarantee
their investment. They all go away. I'm talking about award winning developers
who would love the chance to create quality housing in a new type of development
but working within reasonable terms.

Frustration is not something that we experience anymore. We are beat and
demoralized. Why are we enslaved to ideologue fostered by few who have power.
Higher courts have upheld the decision in King County that this type of action
is illegal taxation. Why are we exempt from being treated in a legal manner?
Please understand that we have not been compensated for being required to give
up our land's value.

1997 - we asked the city for resolve on our zoning and there is a dossier-long,
part of the public record, that shows the enduring avoidance of our plea. Time,
long time, has left us with an untenable situation and in our personal lives
fright that we will not be able to provide for our family in need. 

The truth in this should be quite evident. We are looking back now at nearly 17
years in our plight. I cannot envision any sense of good reason in this anymore.

The Berry Family

3.4.2008 FINAL:
creating zoning within the critical species habitat. (popup)

  • Some History (popup)

  • The 39th Avenue Land Sale (popup)
  • Notes/History from...
    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
    new year.
    * 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.