Progress made in Maple Valley on Donut Hole annexation
By KRIS HILL
Covington Reporter Assisitant Editor
August 31, 2011 · Updated 6:09 PM
The series of nine ordinances amended the city’s Title 18 code and adopted preannexation zoning for the property, a 156 acre site of Kent-Kangley Road and Southeast 228th Street owned by King County, explained Ty Peterson, community development director for Maple Valley.
“These have been under review in some form or another for more than two years,” Peterson said in a phone interview on Aug. 23. “In January of this year the City Council took under consideration the Planning Commission recommendation on these ordinances.”
The plan, Peterson added, was for the council to vote on the ordinances on Feb. 28.
On Feb. 17, however, Brian Ross, managing partner of Kirkland-based developer YarrowBay, sent a letter to King County terminating a purchase and sale agreement. YarrowBay had at one point planned to pay $51 million for the property with the idea that a master planned development with more than 1,600 residences as well as retail and commercial businesses.
Prior to that, the county sent a notice of objection Feb. 7 to the city concerning the preannexation zoning proposal. The county was objecting to when vesting for the project occurred under the zoning. The other objection involved the county’s belief the city must adopt a transfer of development rights or TDR program in the zoning measure.
“Originally the county wanted a 20 year vesting period for a master planned community,” Peterson said. “So, we’ve basically changed our wording to allow for that vesting process.”
After YarrowBay walked away from the purchase and sale agreement, Peterson said, the city put the pre-annexation zoning process on the back burner. There had been considerable staff work put into the project as well as several public hearings on the proposed changes.
Now the city has compromised, Peterson explained, by using the language for the zoning and allowing for a vesting period to make the ordinances compliant with the Interlocal Agreement between the two governments.
“By the fact that the county put that language in their letter and the council passed that language (Aug. 22), that’s essentially what was agreed upon,” Peterson said. “We also introduced (Aug. 22) but won’t be bringing back for action until Sept. 6 an ordinance that creates a Transfer of Development Rights program.”
Once the TDR program is adopted, Peterson said, the city would in theory have compliant preannexation zoning in place for the Donut Hole.
“The next step is the county has the obligation to annex by a certain date,” he said. “At the staff level we’ve been working for some time on an annexation interlocal agreement. The bulk of that work is done.”
From there the city will communicate with the county that the City Council has approved the pre-annexation zoning.
“The agreement calls for the working group to start meeting again and hash out details for annexation,” Peterson said. “Because it’s a single land owner and because there’s no residents on it and the land owner is a government, then we can annex through an interlocal agreement, state law provides for that.”
Contact Covington Reporter Assisitant Editor Kris Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or (425) 432-1209, ext. 5054.