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Emergency and disaster preparation topics at Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council monthly meeting
The Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council held its regular monthly meeting on Sept. 9. Topics discussed included King County’s emergency management plan and the Tahoma School District bond measure.
Rich Tokarzewski, Plans Manager from the King County Emergency Management Office, spoke on the county's comprehensive emergency management plan which details who does what during emergencies and is used by County officials and departments in mitigating, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from natural and technological disasters.
The plan includes identification of hazards, assessment of vulnerabilities, and planning for regional and catastrophic disasters, evacuations, mass care and feeding, and hazardous materials accidents.
More information can be found at www.Kingcounty.gov/prepare.
Tahoma School District
Superintendent Mike Maryanski discussed the upcoming $195 million construction bond measure. An additional $20 million will be matched by the State resulting in a total of $215 million that would be available for projects. The 20-year bonds would cost property owners $1.47 per $1,000 of assessedvaluation above the current tax rate. The owner of a home valued at $300,000 would pay about $441 a year more than the current tax.
Maryanski stated the construction bond measure would result in a new four-year Tahoma High School, a remodeled Lake Wilderness Elementary School, and modifications to other schools, all of which would relieve the district’s severe overcrowding.
The new high school for grades 9-12 will be built on 35 acres being purchased from King County in what is commonly called the Donut Hole along Sstate Route 516. The State Legislature approved a $4 million grant to aid in the land purchase.
When the new high school opens the existing eight schools will be reconfigured to eliminate portables throughout the district. Plans for the new high school include partnerships with local community colleges, as well as evening adult learning opportunities. Tentative opening ofthe new high school would be slated for the 2017-2018 school year.
Comments submitted on Covington's subarea draft plan
On Aug. 26 the Area Council submitted a detailed set of comments on the city of Covington’s Northern Gateway Study Hawk Property Subarea Draft Planned Action Environmental Impact Statement. The Hawk Property Subarea encompasses approximately 212 acres located in the northern portion of the of Covington.
Three Alternatives are under consideration:
Alternative 1 or “no action” maintains the status quo--gravel pit and Tar Plant. Alternative 2 would add 1,000 homes and 680,000 square feet of commercial development. Alternative 3 would add 1,500 homes and 850,000 square feet of commercial development.
Both Alternatives 2 and 3 would be master planned developments.
The Area Council identified impacts to our local communities, primarily through increased traffic, and potential impacts to the Tahoma School District, already plagued by overcrowding.
In particular, assumptions made in the transportation assessment were found to be unrealistic (e.g., the expansion of state Route 516 to five to seven lanes, with no plan or funding identified).
In addition, it was assumed there will be full build-out and mitigation of the Black Diamond MPDs, whose traffic assessments were found wanting by the City’s Hearing Examiner and all future phases are undergoing new traffic modeling and analyses.
King County Transportation Funding Issues
The Area Council’s transportation committee has initiated a project to review King County roads funding and usage to propose a better model to ensure unincorporated area road infrastructure is sustainable in the long run.
Currently, the largest component of funding for King County roads, such as the Issaquah-Hobart-Ravensdale-Black Diamond Rd, comes from property taxes levied on unincorporated area residents. However, these roads are used by both unincorporated area and city residents. Clearly, county roads are suffering from ever-increasing wear and tear without sufficient revenue streams to maintain them from all users.
Due to its broad scope this effort includes representatives from both the Four Creeks and Upper Bear Creek unincorporated area councils.
Next Area Council Meeting
The Area Council’s next monthly meeting will held Monday, Oct. 7, from 7-9 p.m. at the fire station at 231st and state Route 169. Meetings are held the first non-holiday Monday of each month.
Visit www.greatermaplevalleyareacouncil.org for more information on your Area Council and rural issues.