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Update: Woodinville City Staff Propose Annexation in Tourist District

The land proposed for annexation is the county-owned parking area by the Northshore Athletic Fields in the Woodinville Tourist District.

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Update Oct. 17, 1:25 p.m. A Woodinville city staffer emailed the following to Patch after an inquiry into the Oct. 24 meeting details: 

There is a meeting on October 24th between the County Executive and a few City Council members on behalf of the City; however it isn’t a public meeting, nor is there an agenda.  

Original story from Oct. 16:

The issue of annexation came up again at last week’s Woodinville City Council meeting.

Woodinville City Manager Richard Leahy proposed annexing the King County-owned parking area adjacent to the Northshore Athletic Fields in the Woodinville Tourist District. The annexation would allow for tourist-related business development, he said.

The proposal came in a list of recommendations for the 2012-2013 legislative agenda with King County.

Councilor Paulette Bauman said at the meeting that she didn't recall the idea, but Leahy said they first brought it to the council in January and that it's part of a long-term vision and on the long-term agenda of county issues.

The intent would be to relocate the parking lot, perhaps to the north side of the road along the Tolt pipeline, Leahy said. Then the current parking area would be available for potential tourist-related business development.

"It would fill in the last gap between the roundabout and the Columbia/Ste. Michelle intersection," he said, adding that it would make the area more pedestrian-friendly.

No one from the city has spoken yet with the owner of the athletic fields, officials from Redhook Brewery or the wineries, Leahy said.

"There's a lot of cooperation that's needed," he said.

Deputy Mayor Liz Aspen said she would like the city to clarify how the land is currently zoned and said she had heard it's zoned for agriculture or parks.

While Leahy thought the 2012-2013 legislative agenda (with or without this annexation proposal) should be set before a meeting with county officials next week, Mayor Bernie Talmas said the council should wait until after the Oct. 24 meeting.

"I think we should test the waters at the meeting next week," he said. "I think we have enough to talk about."

What do you think about this proposal? Does it make sense since it's in Woodinville's official tourist district? Do you think the nearby businesses and county will support the idea? Tell us in comments.

Ron Olson October 19, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Lisa: I've been told that King County had no problem with the local newspaper being invited to this meeting, as a matter of fact, the Executive's Office supposedly suggested it. That doesn't sound like a private meeting. I was also told that Woodinville has a 4 point agenda to discuss with Dow Constantine at the 10/24 meeting, and that discussion of annexation is on the list. What do you know about this?
Lisa Baumann October 19, 2012 at 05:33 AM
Ron, There is a four-point agenda (with a link to it in the story above) proposed by Woodinville City Manager Rich Leahy for the city's 2012-2013 legislative agenda with King County. I don't know exactly what the agenda is for the Oct. 24 meeting but the mayor said at the council meeting he didn't want to discuss the annexation of the athletic fields parking lot at the Oct. 24 meeting. So far, I've been told by the city that the meeting is not open to the public. I've left a message for the county about this as well and will let you know as soon as I know something more.
Ron Olson October 19, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Lisa: If the meeting is next week and there's no public notice as of today, I'd assume this is a not a "Public" meeting. But it is private, where observers CANNOT attend? The invitation to meet was made by King County, but who is hosting the meeting and who is responsible for making it a private meeting? King County suggested that the local newspaper could be invited. The Executive's offer didn't specify that it should be a private meeting. The Woodinville council decided to send only 3 councilmembers, but that doesn't mean the meeting isn't open to the public, and the council didn't ban the public. I don't understand the whole idea about public and private meetings, not just for this issue, but for meetings in general. Who made the decision in this case, and who can we petition to make sure the public is not excluded? If UGB adjustments and items that affect the GMA were not on the agenda, I would have no problem with a small group discussion regarding local business issues. But I think we need to establish some strict rules in Woodinville to keep city business open and transparent, to use Kathy Lambert's words. Help us out here.
Lisa Baumann October 19, 2012 at 06:14 PM
City of Woodinville officials are the ones who told me it was a closed meeting. I am checking to see if there's a way to open it. Here's a link to open meeting law in Washington state - http://www.atg.wa.gov/OpenGovernment/InternetManual/Chapter3.aspx
Ron Olson May 08, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Woodinville city council elections are right around the corner. It's time for the candidates to ask for campaign contributions. In the last Woodinville election, the biggest contributors were a local realtor, a former mayor, and a developer that were all seeking annexation of some prime valley land for conversion to commercial development. The contributors supported the campaign of Les Rubstello. Les stated to the public in his campaign literature that sacred valley land should not be sacrificed for commercial development, but after accepting huge campaign contributions from the Windermere realtor that represents the non-Woodinville resident land owners, Les made an about face and voted based on contributions, and not in the best interest of the citizens he is supposed to represent. Paulette Bauman also abandoned her constituents. She is up for re-election. You can count on Paulette accepting contributions from developers and non-resident realtors, too. It really sucks that our government is so corrupted by money. Why do I bring this up? Because Paulette Bauman and Les Rubstello are trying to get the annexation issue back on the table again, despite the fact that King County said no, despite the fact that Woodinville taxpayers footed an enormous bill for the failed annexation effort for non-residents, and despite the fact that our tax money would be better spent on improving public safety here so that we don't have another resident murdered in their own home.

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