Greater Maple Valley Area Council

P.O. Box 101

Maple Valley, WA  98038

 

January 11, 2010

 

 

King County Executive Constantine

King County Chinook Building

401 5th Ave. Suite 800

Seattle, WA  98104

 

Executive Constantine,

 

The Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council (GMVAC) has deep reservations regarding the adverse impacts that two massive Master Planned Developments (MPDs) proposed by Yarrow Bay in and around the City of Black Diamond. These include: (1) The Villages: 3,600 single-family and 1,200 multi-family units for a total of 4,800 dwelling units on 535 acres, and 775,000 square feet of commercial and office space and (2) Lawson Hills: 930 single-family and 320 multi-family units, for a total of 1,250 dwelling units on 156 acres, and 390,000 square feet of commercial and office space. These two proposed outsized developments total 4,530 single-family and 1,520 multi-family units for a total of 6,050 dwelling units on 691 acres, and 1,165,000 sq ft of commercial and office space.

 

These MPDs are proposed on the rural/suburban fringe in the southeast corner of King County where existing transportation infrastructure already is severely strained. The GMVAC has monitored traffic patterns and volumes in and around the greater Maple Valley area for decades. We remain concerned with the inadequate options associated with our severely pressed transportation corridors, as our major roadways and minor arterials throughout the area are used up to capacity for a good part of each day.

 

We have specific concerns regarding the adverse transportation impacts on SR-169 (Maple Valley Highway) and SR-516 (Kent-Kangley Road), as well as KIng County roads, major intersections, and local arterials throughout southeast King County region. Estimates of impacts on traffic flow on SR-169 show a near doubling of vehicles when the proposed developments are complete. In addition, major intersections throughout the area will be unduly clogged. All adversely impacting the movement of people, goods, and services.

 

Rural Area citizens have consistently showed in our Bi-Annual Advisory Surveys that Transportation is a key issue. In addition, the Area Council believes the proposed Yarrow Bay MPDs do not meet the Transportation Concurrency requirements of both the King County Comprehensive Plan and the State Growth Management Act. Consequently, we are asking King County to hold Yarrow Bay and the City of Black Diamond to the requirements of the King County Comprehensive Plan, on which our members have worked closely with you and King County Council members in the past. We cannot allow the associated adverse impacts that greatly increased traffic will do to our existing clogged major transportation infrastructure.

 

The status of the MPD proposals are as follows. DEISs were issued in the Fall of 2009. Very comprehensive comments were submitted by the public, government, local groups, and the Muckleshoot Tribe. KIng County, under interim Executive Triplett, provided very detailed comments that parallel many of our concerns. Unfortunately, it is clear that after reviewing the FEISs, issued on December 11, 2009, many of these comments were not fully addressed by the Black Diamond Planning Department staff. The Appeal period was closed on December 28, 2009 with hearing dates TBD in the “first quarter of 2010.”

 

We request that King County critically assess the proposed MPDs and push for a delay in this rapidly moving process so that further study can be made of these proposals and the City of Black Diamond’s inadequate responses to King County’s DEIS comments. We wish to ensure the City of Black Diamond meets the requirements of the King County Comprehensive Plan and the State Growth Management Act, especially its Transportation Concurrency requirements and Level of Service standards.

 

In conclusion, the proposed developments as put forth in the FEISs appear to violate multiple provisions of the King County Comprehensive Plan and the State Growth Management Act’s Transportation Concurrency requirements and fail in any way to acknowledge other projects currently in planning that would only exacerbate the impacts of these two massive projects.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions, as we will continue to monitor the subject proposals. Thank you for your time and due consideration of our concerns.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Steve Hiester (hies_skel@hotmail.com)

Chairman, Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council

 

 

cc:  Director Harold S. Taniguchi, King County DOT (harold.taniguchi@kingcounty.gov)

Councilman Reagan Dunn, King County Council District 9 (reagan.dunn@kingcounty.gov)

Mayor Peter Lewis, Auburn (plewis@auburnwa.gov)

Mayor Rebecca Olness, Black Diamond (rolness@ci.blackdiamond.wa.us)

Mayor Margaret Harto, Covington (sscott@ci.covington.wa.us)

Mayor Suzette Cooke, Kent (Mayor@ci.kent.wa.us)

Mayor Noel Gerken, Maple Valley (council@maplevalleywa.gov)

Mayor Dennis Law, Renton (dlaw@rentonwa.gov)