Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NSWP has applied for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status

On November 1st, NSWP applied for tax exempt status under IRS code 501(c)(3). Although we cannot guarantee the IRS will approve our application and recognize Neighbors to Save Wellington Park as a 501(c)(3) organization, "An organization that files its application before the [27 month] deadline will usually be recognized as tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRC from the date of its creation, if it meets exemption requirements." IRS Pub 4220

By filing for federal tax exempt status, we are once again emphasizing our commitment to the fight for a community Park, and the preservation of our rural area. The Parks Department is still working behind the scenes on their inappropriate design, disregarding the realities of the Park site and overwhelming community opposition. We expect them to submit their plan for a tournament athletic facility to County Council for approval soon.

Snohomish County is legally required to follow the same environmental and development laws by which we all must abide. But we depend on your donations to pay for the legal representation which holds them accountable. Will you please help us pay to protect your park and your rural neighborhood by donating today?

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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WHY?



Why would you try to put a commercial sports complex in a small rural area on the top of a hill, with no infrastructure to support the crowds it would draw?

Why would you propose building a commercial sports complex in a rural neighborhood, in clear violation of the Growth Management Act ("GMA")?

Why would you select a grossly inappropriate site for turf fields, massive parking lots and night lights, and try to use mitigation funds to build your tournament level athletic facility?

Why would you propose bulldozing the hills, filling the valleys, moving more than 200,000 cubic yards of dirt on over 46 acres -- to build a sports complex that isn't needed in this small corner of the County?

When SnoCo Planning and Development Services mapped all the public comments at the 2015 Update public hearing, Wellington Hills Park "Issues" was the only specific topic with its own special marker in the legend. This is a project that is overwhelmingly opposed by the community, and yet the Parks Department continues to promote it. Even if we don't understand why anyone would push for such a bad idea, we need to fight it. Right here, right now.

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.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Why We Need a Community Park, NOT a Sports Complex

This is a copy of a letter from one of our neighbors to Councilman Dave Somers and the rest of the County Council. The author graciously gave permission to publish it here; it is a concise explanation of why Wellington Hills should remain a community Park rather than being bulldozed to accommodate a commercial sports complex.


"We are contacting you regarding the Wellington Hills Park project which will come before you for a vote. We do not know how familiar you are with it but we would like to stress how important it is to us that this park be a community park that fits in well with the rural nature of our area. We are strongly in favor of a community park where we and our families can all enjoy the forest, trails and green fields. The park property is the former decade's old Wellington Hills Golf Course located just south of Maltby in a beautiful, forested area known as Wellington ridge and outside of the region's designated Urban Growth Area.

The Brightwater Project designated mitigation funds for a community park in the Maltby area. However, these monies will only partially fund the Regional Sports Complex being proposed by the Snohomish County Parks Department. We Snohomish County taxpayers must fund the remainder. A community park, on the other hand, could be created which would be completely funded with the mitigation money.

The current Parks Department proposal for a Regional Sports Complex is designed to host regional, national and international sporting tournaments. In so doing, the negative environmental impact of the greatly increased traffic (parking is planned for 700+ cars) on sub-standard rural roads often competing with the bicyclists who use 156th/Bostian Rd as their north/south through route; clear-cut, leveled space for 4 lighted, surfaced soccer and baseball fields plus 2 grass fields, and several "big box" buildings are just some of issues that deeply trouble us.

If you have not visited the site, we ask that you make time to do so before you vote on the Wellington Hills Park. When you visit, imagine it with forest, trails, picnic shelters, swings, dog areas, and green rolling hills with families playing Frisbee. It won't be difficult because that is about how it is now. Then picture it with very few trees, large, paved parking lots; leveled with concrete retaining walls; artificially surfaced, lighted soccer fields and several large "big box" commercial buildings. Also note that the southern border of the park is the Snohomish-King County boundary line, definitely not a very accessible location for a Regional Sports Complex to the vast majority of Snohomish County residents who would be required to pay for it. If a Regional Sports Complex is a high priority for Snohomish County and it decides to fund and build one, we doubt this location would even be considered let alone selected.

Councilman Somers, we have this once-in-a-lifetime chance to protect this property so please help us do so. Please do not approve the plan to create a Regional Sports Complex where one does not belong. The negative environmental impacts of doing so are numerous and beyond comprehension."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

More about the Parks Portion of the 2015 Update

During the upcoming meeting on October 7th, 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: Finally, there is a summary of the new GPP Parks Chapter and the old version. The comparison is an easy way to see the subtle shift in Parks policy language and the heavy reliance to be placed on the new proposed park classifications and level of service methodology. According to the summary, the proposed new chapter seems to include more about the Parks Department maintaining and developing facilities based on priorities established and input gathered from the public and other interested parties. There is no emphasis on continuing to gather and consider public input. This contrasts with the old version which specifies Parks will "continue to regularly identify and prioritize community and regional recreational needs..." In the case of the plans for Wellington Park, "public input" was gathered selectively, late in the process, and not incorporated in any significant way into plan revisions.

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? The proposed PRE specifically defines trail use as "passive" even though most hikers would disagree (pg 14).
  • How do we differentiate between neighborhood, community, regional and special use parks?
  • How many of each do we need in particular areas?

The Planning Commission is making a big effort to take public input into consideration on these issues. The public needs to be heard and the 2015 Update should reflect public interests as the County plans for the next 10 years. Please come and explain what's important to you, and what you think the County should prioritize in its plan for the next 10 years!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Planning Commission Review of 2015 Update -- Tuesday, October 7th at 5:30 - 9:00 pm

Next Tuesday, October 7, 5:30-9:00pm, the Planning Commission will meet to consider plans for Snohomish County over the next 20 years. Yet the Commission still does not have an accurate picture of the details surrounding Wellington Hills Park. You can change that.

In fact, your presence and your voice at this meeting is critical.

If you want the County to consider an alternative vision for Wellington Hills Park, this is one of the last opportunities you will have to affect the outcome. Your personal statement could make the difference in the future of our park, our neighborhoods, and ultimately your home.

Please consider speaking on one of the following topics:
  • your experience living in the Woodinville/Wellington area and how a sports complex will negatively affect the enjoyment of your property.

  • the County’s decision to build a sports complex before asking for neighborhood input. (Did you know that the plan for Wellington Hills Park was designed before the first public meeting was held?)

  • the County’s failure to make meaningful changes based on neighborhood input (once they finally held those public meetings).

  • the incompatibility of a sports complex within the rural Woodinville area.


If you have any questions, NSWP can give you additional information. If you absolutely cannot attend, please send your comments to us. We will be sure to present them to the Planning Commission on your behalf.

This meeting will be held on:
Tuesday, September 9th, 5:30pm - 9:00pm
Snohomish County Offices
1st Floor Public Meeting Room, Administration Building-East
3000 Rockefeller Avenue
Everett, WA 98201.

Note: if the doors to the offices are locked, please call Security on the phone near the parking garage elevators. This is the notice about the meeting on the County's site.

The County's Comprehensive Plan covers zoning, cities annexing property outside their current boundaries, reclassification of property, and potential changes in land use. This is an incredibly important issue, and most of the expected growth in Snohomish County is in the Southwest corner. Where we live. We need to ensure that residents, not special interests, have the most significant input in planning the direction our County will take.

Please become a party of record to this planning process. The email address to request becoming a party of record is 2015update@snoco.org. This will ensure that you're notified of any future decisions or hearings, even if you miss notices on the website or the newspaper.

Tell your friends and neighbors about the effort to update the Comprehensive Plan. The public survey done for the prior Comp Plan was valuable in letting County officials know how residents prioritized services. Public input on the new Comp Plan is a critical way to influence how the County deals with new growth issues.

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

Monday, September 8, 2014

2015 Update - Open House on Tuesday, September 9 -- 5:00 - 6:30 pm

This Open House will be held on Tuesday, September 9th, 5:00pm - 6:30pm, Snohomish County Offices, 1st Floor Public Meeting Room 1, Administration Building-East 3000 Rockefeller Avenue Everett, WA 98201. Note: if the doors to the offices are locked, please call Security on the phone near the parking garage elevators. This is the notice about the meeting on the County's site.

The meeting will allow the public to find out more about the 2015 Update, and discuss issues directly with Planning and Development staff.

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

The County's Comprehensive Plan covers zoning, cities annexing property outside their current boundaries, reclassification of property, and potential changes in land use. This is an incredibly important issue, and most of the expected growth in Snohomish County is in the Southwest corner. Where we live. We need to ensure that residents, not special interests, have the most significant input in planning the direction our County will take.

Please become a party of record to this planning process. The email address to request becoming a party of record is 2015update@snoco.org. This will ensure that you're notified of any future meetings, even if you miss notices on the website or the newspaper.

Tell your friends and neighbors about the effort to update the Comprehensive Plan. The public survey done for the prior Comp Plan was valuable in letting County officials know how residents prioritized services. Public input on the new Comp Plan is a critical way to influence how the County deals with new growth issues.

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Planning Commission to Consider 2015 Parks Plan at 8/26/14 Meeting 5:30 pm - 9 pm

During a Planning Commission Study Session on July 22, 2014, the Commissioners reviewed the new Parks portion of the 2015 Update. Tomorrow night, 8/26, the Planning Commission will discuss the Parks and Rec portion of the 2015 Update again.

This Planning Commission Meeting will be held on August 26th, 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm, Snohomish County Offices, 1st Floor Public Meeting Room 1, Administration Building-East 3000 Rockefeller Avenue Everett, WA 98201. Note: if the doors to the offices are locked, please call Security on the phone near the parking garage elevators.

This is a link to download the agenda for the meeting; the Parks and Rec portion is item #3.

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: Finally, there is a summary of the new GPP Parks Chapter and the old version. The comparison is an easy way to see the subtle shift in Parks policy language and the heavy reliance to be placed on the new proposed park classifications and level of service methodology. According to the summary, the proposed new chapter seems to include more about the Parks Department maintaining and developing facilities based on priorities established and input gathered from the public and other interested parties. There is no emphasis on continuing to gather and consider public input. This contrasts with the old version which specifies Parks will "continue to regularly identify and prioritize community and regional recreational needs..." In the case of the plans for Wellington Park, "public input" was gathered selectively, late in the process, and not incorporated in any significant way into plan revisions.

Why should you drive to Everett? The Planning Commission is making a big effort to take public input into consideration on these issues. The public needs to be heard and the 2015 Update should reflect public interests as the County plans for the next 10 years. Please come and explain what's important to you, and what you think the County should prioritize in its plan for the next 10 years!

You have the right to make a public comment at the beginning of the meeting, for up to 3 minutes. You can address the Planning Commission directly and explain your concerns about park planning and 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? The proposed PRE specifically defines trail use as "passive" even though most hikers would disagree (pg 14).
  • 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.