Monday, July 21, 2014

Planning Meeting 7/22 -- the Future of Parks in Snohomish Cty

This Planning Commission Meeting will be held on July 22nd, 5:30pm - 9:00pm, Snohomish County Offices, 1st Floor Public Meeting Room 2, Administration Building-East 3000 Rockefeller Avenue Everett, WA 98201

The meeting will address a couple of other agenda items, and then adjourn to allow a "study session."

This study session will describe a new Parks and Recreation Chapter of the General Policy Plan (GPP) and a new Parks and Recreation Element (PRE) that is being considered as part of the county’s 2015 Plan Update. The new Parks and Recreation Chapter includes goals, policies and objectives that were previously located in the Capital Facilities Chapter and Parks and Recreation Plan. The PRE includes information previously found in the Parks and Recreation Plan.

This is a link to download the agenda for the meeting.

The Planning Commission will be discussing several documents that could affect how the County creates, maintains and measures usage of parks in the future. There are three documents you should look at: the memorandum about the Planning Meeting , the proposed Parks and Rec section of the General Policy Plan, and the draft Parks and Rec Element being considered for inclusion in the 2015 Update.

Why does any of this matter enough to drive to Everett?

You have the right to make a public comment at the beginning of the study session, for up to 3 minutes. You can address the Planning Commission directly and explain your concerns about Wellington Park, particularly relating to community involvement in the design of the Park.

The proposed policies, definitions, and goals in the Parks GPP section and the Parks Element for the 2015 Update will be discussed and possibly amended. Once finalized later this year, they will be the policy and the plan for how the County handles parks over the next 10 years. There are some important concepts in both documents that could have an impact on the fight to save our community Park:
  • How do we define active recreation?
  • How do we differentiate between neighborhood, community, regional and special use parks?
  • How many of each do we need in particular areas?

If you can make it to the meeting, please come. If you can't make it to the meeting, you can become a Party of Record by submitting a written request or testimony to Sally Evans, Planning Commission Clerk, PDS, M/S 604, 3000 Rockefeller Avenue, Everett, WA 98201 or via email at Sally.Evans@snoco.org.

If you need a map or parking information for the meeting, try this link to the SnoCo site.

What's up with Wellington Park?

It's been hard to navigate the new SnoCo site, and many of the links from the old site no longer exist. But there's a new area with information about Wellington Hills, so take a look.

This is the Park as mentioned in the Parks and Rec "Planning" section The introduction is different, and mentions that a "public process to determine site design has been initiated.." Clearly, they're not referring to any efforts they have made to date to determine what the community wants.

If you click on the "Report List" on that page, you can get to a list of documents related to the Park. It includes many of the documents submitted for the Land Disturbing Activity ("LDA") permit application(resubmitted January 15, 2014) with an updated environmental State Environmental Policy Act("SEPA") checklist. If you'd like a quick description of what's in each document, check out our new page .

In general, the Parks Department and the County Council have been quiet about plans for our Park. They've had a few discussion items on the County Council agenda, including a request for additional funding for Bruce Dees (the architect designing the sports complex). The Park and its status have been mentioned in Tom Teigen's reports during Operations Committee meetings; his discussions repeat the misinformation about consultations with the community, and try to put a positive spin on the sports complex design.

The last Operations Committee meeting was on June 24th; the next meeting has been cancelled so the Operations Committee may not meet until mid August. If you're interested in listening to any of the Operations Committee meetings, you can find the agendas, minutes and videos here.

Despite the relative silence in public, we believe the Parks Department is continuing to work on the sports complex plan and will present that plan soon. We need to be prepared to discuss and refute information compiled to support their planned tournament facility.

Join us and fight for our community Park! Help fund the legal effort to save our Park! Come visit and enjoy the open spaces!

Neighbors to Save Wellington Park

“Dedicated to creating a park that is consistent with our rural community”

SaveWellingtonPark.com
Neighbors to Save Wellington Park is a Washington State Non-Profit Corporation

Please donate by check payable to “NSWP” and mail to:

NSWP
PO Box 1805
Woodinvile, WA 98072

Or use your PayPal account or major credit card by clicking the “Donate” button.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Which Park Do YOU Want?

The difference between Tambark Creek Park and Wellington Park is striking. Tambark Creek Park is in Bothell, opened in June 2013 with a large artificial turf sports field, off lease dog area, childrens play area, 2 picnic shelters and nature trails. Park facilities were built with mitigation funding from the Brightwater Sewage Plant agreement - the same deal funding the purchase and completion of Wellington Park.

Tambark Creek Park is on flat land, and the Parks Department built one artificial turf field. The Wellington Hills site is on top of a hill, with numerous critical wetland areas, challenging geology and streams that feed into Little Bear Creek. Tambark Creek Park is in the middle of a suburban development; Wellington Hills is on the rural side of the Urban Growth Boundary, accessed by winding, 2 lane country roads.

The tidy facilities at Tambark Creek Park were not acheived without sacrifice:


They have fences around the play area,

Lots of parking for players, friends and coaches -- this lot has 75 spaces



And a nice clean play area overlooking the field with its lights.

Looking at the open areas, you have to wonder what else is coming.



Of course, there seems to be some confusion about where to water, to maintain the new trees and plantings...


We want a Park at Wellington Hills, but it doesn't need to have artificial turf. We can work with the rolling hills and giant trees to develop a Park appropriate for THIS site, instead of just copying other facilities built on flat land. We need to have a say in designing the Park for this community.

The Parks Department Master Plan includes approximately 25 acres of impervious surfaces -- 4 artificial turf fields, parking for 700+ cars, expanded roads inside the sports complex and buildings that have no funding. We want a Park that complements this site, celebrates the hills, giant trees and hilltop perch, and provides recreation for all ages -- not built primarily to host sports teams that pay to use the fields.

Join us and fight for our community Park! Help fund the legal effort to save our Park! Come visit and enjoy the open spaces!

Neighbors to Save Wellington Park

“Dedicated to creating a park that is consistent with our rural community”

SaveWellingtonPark.com
Neighbors to Save Wellington Park is a Washington State Non-Profit Corporation

Please donate by check payable to “NSWP” and mail to:

NSWP
PO Box 1805
Woodinvile, WA 98072

Or use your PayPal account or major credit card by clicking the “Donate” button.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

More on SnoPUD's Plans for Wellington Hills

Today Jim Whitehead provided a copy of the notice sent to residents along Bostian Rd, about planned electrical work.

This is a copy of the notice and map of the planned work:





Phase 1 work is the upgrade along Bostian Road between 227th and 240th Streets; Phase 2 work is along 240th. Due to uncertainty about overall plans at Wellington Park, SnoPUD has scheduled work along 240th for roughly next spring. If you're having trouble reading the fine print on the notice, try this link to google drive

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

SnoPUD's Plans for Wellington Hills

Yesterday, Snohomish County PUD had workers walking along Bostian Rd, preparing for the new construction this fall. Jim Whitehead, a surveyor for Snohomish County PUD, explained that SnoPUD plans to upgrade the power supply in this area to reduce the threat of power outages and provide more power to residents.

SnoPUD workers have been out before, and each time they have stated that the improved power supply is to benefit neighborhood residents, not prepare for the tournament level athletic facility that the Parks Department wants.

Here's the information we have now:

  • Power lines will be upgraded to handle more power, for the area served by the Turners Corner substation.
  • Some new poles will be installed, some poles will be reused.
  • Some poles will get new transformers
  • This area, from roughly Wellington Hills Park to the end of Bostian, will go from being completely dependent on the Turners Corner substation, to having access to both the Turners Corner substation and a substation at Brightwater sewage plant. If power goes out to Turners Corner, residents in this area can receive power from the other substation. Restoring from a large power outage will be easier, because sections can be put back online more gradually.
  • SnoPUD is in the process of securing easements and tree trimming permits right now. Construction permits have not yet been submitted.
  • Work is expected to begin in October or November 2014.

A better, more reliable power supply is great for residents of Wellington Hills. It's also very convenient for anyone dreaming of a sports complex... After discussing the project with Mr. Whitehead yesterday, I searched the SnoPUD site for details, but found nothing. When asked about the lack of information and transparency on the SnoPUD site, he explained that putting information out on the website is a totally different process.

Let's hope that SnoPUD is more forthcoming with information about this project soon - otherwise, this sounds very much like the early days of planning for a sports complex at Wellington Park.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Come out to the Park!

This is a post from last August, showing some of the beautiful areas around Wellington Park. The Park is green again, and offers a wonderful area to get out with your family, friends and dog! Bring a ball, frisbee, disk golf set, picnic or walking stick, and just enjoy the quiet green space.

The Parks Department is still waiting with sports complex plans in hand, requesting more money for their tournament facility designer, and hoping to start destruction of the Park we know, just as soon as possible.

Please come visit the Park and see why this neighborhood values its rolling hills, giant trees and peaceful landscape more than the traffic jams, noise and parking lots that the County wants to bring here.

Come to the Park! If you'd like a guided tour by our local photographer and blogger, Bill Stankus, please send us an email at NeighborsToSaveWellingtonPark@gmail.com. He's available on weekends, and would be happy to share his knowledge of this special area with you.

Help save this area by supporting the legal battle to keep Wellington Park as a community Park, and remind all the County Council members that this little hilltop is not the right place for a tournament facility!


We drive through the Park every day, trying to appreciate the beauty of the landscape in the few minutes it takes to traverse from top to bottom. It's not until you actually walk the Park that you understand just what an amazing space this is.

It's open and green. It's quiet. The breezes sweep through over the rolling hills and bring a constant supply of fresh air. From the minute you leave your car in the small gravel parking lot and step out onto one of the many wide mowed paths through the meadows, you can forget the streets and businesses and bustle down the hill, and just enjoy a few precious moments in the Park.

Walk a circuit around the edges, or meander from one hill to the next

There are paths that take you all around the open areas, lots of shade under the giant trees, plenty of room for picnics, dog walks, photo shoots, or just losing yourself in the rolling hills.

The meadows are full of wildflowers that carpet even the mowed paths.

You can walk through the deep valleys and even venture off into the forest before you go back to your car.


Don't worry - even if you have to leave for today, you can come back tomorrow and enjoy it again.

Or can you?

The sports complex proposal would bulldoze the large stand of trees where you left your car, and then dig a huge pit two stories deep to make room for 4 artificial turf fields.

The Parks Department wants to level all those rolling hills and cut down many of the giant trees. If you stood at the bottom of the deepest valley, you probably noticed you couldn't even see the rest of the meadow from there. That's a lot of dirt to move.

Today, you can get to the Park easily, without too much traffic. The tournament facility would bring hundreds of extra cars to this site, all running just a little late and all desperately needing a place to park. The meadow where you walked would be paved, to accomodate 700 cars at a time - just like Costco. And when you wanted to get here again, drive through the Wellington Hills neighborhood, or just get down highway 9 to Woodinville, you would be forced to join the throngs of cars going in and out of the latest tournament facility.

If you drove to the Park through the Wellington Hills neighborhood, you might have noticed the main road, Bostian, is narrow with little shoulder room. It's only two lanes and it winds through a rural neighborhood that's a favorite for bicyclists. We work hard to share the road with the many cycling groups, particularly on weekends. Bostian is the only way into many of the residential neighborhoods, and it's an alternative route from Woodinville to more northern suburbs.

The sports complex proposal includes widening 240th, the road through the current Park, but it does absolutely nothing for traffic anywhere else. The intersection of 240th and Bostian has a stop sign on 240th, no turn lane, no stop light. Bostian traffic moves faster than the speed limit most of the time. Turning onto Bostian once you leave the Park can mean waiting awhile to turn safely, even today. Imagine what that looks like if you want to use Bostian to get to the tournament facility!

This site does not have the infrastructure to support a tournament facility; forcing a commercial complex into a rural neighborhood on top of a hill will only result in destruction and continual frustration. Put the sports complex where it can be better utilized and more easily accessed. Add a few features to this Park, that fit the site and the rural neighborhood, so that people can visit, relax and enjoy this wonderful space. Save the Jewel that is Wellington Park!

If you'd like to help stop the Parks Department's quest to over-develop Wellington Park, please make a donation to support our legal fight. We're winning and we need to finish the battle to ensure that Wellington Park will remain a neighborhood Park and not be destroyed in a vain attempt to squeeze a commercial facility into a small rural site.

Come visit! Get your friends to visit! Once you see the Park and the limited roads that support it, it's obvious what a bad idea the sports complex proposal is!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Primus Wall Photos and Traffic Delays

Every day, the scene changes at Primus. The pile of sand is now a mountain, and the blocks that made up the bulging wall are now coming down. Bill Stankus has been visiting the site almost daily, and has posted some great pictures of the transformation. Check out his photo blog , and see what's new today!

We all survived the great closure of Woodinville - Duvall road last weekend, but the construction delays are far from over. With all the heavy equipment in the area and work on so many areas, it can take 20+ minutes to go one or two miles. It's particularly tough on residents trying to head east from the Wellington area to local schools, shopping and jobs. If you need an alternative route, you can always go through Hollywood Hills. Traveling this adventurous detour, it's obvious that the construction on a main arterial, Woodinville - Duvall Rd, is having a big impact on rural areas. Suddenly traffic on small winding roads has increased many times over.

With significant delays on a main road, drivers will use their smart phones to find another route. Snohomish County's proposed sports complex would bring an overwhelming number of vehicles to a small neighborhood. When the recommended routes get clogged, drivers will find another way. Suddenly the rural roads we all depend on, to get in and out of our homes, will become just as jammed up as the main routes.

What would you do if you couldn't get down the hill to Woodinville? Can't let your children stay for after school activities? Can't make your bus to work? Can't go to the grocery story during construction hours? And how would help get to you? With no shoulders on rural roads, how does traffic get out of the way to let the fire truck or the ambulance go by?

There are some very basic but important reasons why commercial complexes are supposed to be built in a commercial zone. The Parks Department, the Council and the Executive need to work with the community to design an appropriate Park for this neighborhood, and find a more accessible, commercial location for their proposed sports complex.