‘Donut hole’ still open for debate
August 18, 2008 · Updated 3:40 PM
Maple Valley is in a holding pattern when it comes to the “donut hole,” but the waiting should end soon.
The donut hole, which is off Southeast 272nd Street and 228th Street Southeast, is formally known as the Summit Pit Gravel Site. It covers about 160 acres and, though within city limits, is owned by King County, which uses 13 acres for a transportation facility site. Also, nine holes of Elk Run Golf Course are on the property.
Development of the property has been a topic of discussion for more than a year by King County, and city officials have been dealing with the potential of 2,000 housing units in a few different ways.
Most recently, according to interim city manager Christy Todd, the city commissioned a consulting firm to put together a development feasibility report that took four months and a lot of man hours to complete.
Todd said the report looks at scenario one, which evaluates what could potentially occur if the donut hole is developed to its maximum potential, and scenario two, which considers what would happen if it’s developed at a lower density that matches the surrounding neighborhoods that have six homes per acre.
Work began on that feasibility report in March. The City Council accepted it July 14.
“The next day, three people from the city went to the (County Council’s) growth management and natural resources committee and entered that (report) into the testimony,” Todd said. “The committee met two more times but didn’t take action on any of those items, and they forwarded the entire thing to the committee as a whole. We anticipate having to go back to the committee-of-the-whole meetings to testify more before they make their final decision.”
On Aug. 5, the committee forwarded the proposed comprehensive plan amendments to the County Council, which is scheduled to host a public hearing at its Sept. 29 meeting.
“This proposal is the culmination of almost 20 hearings, including five public hearings held throughout rural and unincorporated King County,” said Councilman Larry Gossett, chairman of the County Council’s Growth Management and Natural Resources Committee.
Gossett said that “the issues and concerns of the more than 200 people who testified are reflected in the plan that we have sent to the (full) council.”
The comprehensive plan is a blueprint for growth and development in the county’s unincorporated areas. It also sets policy on issues such as annexations, transportation and the environment.
City officials have long held concerns the county would sell the donut hole property to developers without any input from Maple Valley, leading to a development approved by King County that could overwhelm the city’s roads, parks and schools.
In the meantime, Todd said, the city has had a handful of meetings with the county, “but nothing substantive has come from those meetings.”
County Councilman Reagan Dunn has also proposed an amendment to the proposed zoning change for the donut hole property which is one of dozens of proposals for the county’s comprehensive plan update this year.
“What it does is it puts a condition on the development of that land that there has to be a joint planning process,” Todd said. “All along, Maple Valley has asked for joint planning. We’ve asked for early annexation of that site once it’s rezoned. We haven’t gotten what I would call any substantive movement on that issue.”
Until the County Council considers the proposed amendments to the county’s comprehensive plan, which is updated every four years, Maple Valley officials have to wait.
“We’re sort of in a holding pattern right now,” Todd said. “We’re waiting for King County to make a decision.”
Staff writer Kris Hill can be reached at (425) 432-1209 (extension 5054) and email@example.com