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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kitsap County Commissioners back Woods View Development
Kitsap Sun, Sept. 23
On Monday, the Kitsap County Commissioners ignored the spirit of the GMA by continuing to support the Woods View Development, a 78-house development on 17 acres in the county's rural area.  Although the development is near the Manchester LAMIRD, it creates an urban density of 4.5 dwelling units per acre and includes an urban sewer system.  The Beaver Creek Conservation Group promises to appeal.

Lake Stevens plans workshop to discuss cottage housing developments
Everett Daily Herald, Sept. 22
On October 1, the City of Lake Stevens will be hosting a public meeting on whether to allow cottage housing.  This form of development is designed to be more community-oriented by increasing density.

Mistake May Not Impact Mill Project
KAPP, Sept. 23
Last week the state Community Economic Revitalization Board awarded the City of Yakima $25 million to redevelop 200-acres of a former Boise Cascade mill site. Then the Board recanted, apologizing that it had failed to properly conduct its scoring of the projects that received money.  Well, it now seems life can go on and Yakima will receive its money after all.  The redevelopment should be a huge boon to the city, although one has to wonder what industry is going to support the new huge amount of commercial and residential life when the city’s economy has stagnated for the past 20 years.  Let’s hope the wine industry continues to flourish.  Down river, the Port of Kennewick mulls its options for redeveloping the Vista Airfield (Tri-City Herald, Sept 23).

Cle Elum water issue heats up
Daily Record, Sept. 22
Cle Elum is about to adopt an ordinance to permit developers who annex to the city with more than two acres to purchase the city's excess water rights.  Under current ordinance, such a developers must bring in sufficient water rights to serve the property.  While this probably isn't the end of the world, the policy seems favor large developments and sprawl over the individual property owner.  Additionally, the city will be in a worse position in the long-run to provide sufficient water to its citizens, especially as global warming reduces snow pack.
Continuation of hearing on height limits draws dozens
The Olympian, Sept. 22
In an ongoing saga, Olympia debates at what height redevelopment should be allowed in its isthmus.  Great concern has been paid to the views from the Capital Building of Budd Inlet.  Others want a park along the shore.  Others probably just hate development.  But if Thurston County is going to curb its sprawl and create more livable communities, Olympia needs to lead the way by providing residential and commercial capacity downtown.

Olympia sued over parking lot
The Olympian, Sept. 23
The City of Olympia has been sued by the owners of Ken Schoenfeld Furniture for allegedly contaminating their property.  The McHughs (who one the property), allege runoff from a city’s parking lot has contaminated their property making obtaining future mortgages and sales difficult.  The City counterclaims that it is the property of the McHughs that is contaminating the City’s property.  The lawsuit sounds like NIMBY opportunism to me.  The City is in the last stages of selling the parking lot to Colpitts Development Company to build a seven-story, 126-apartment building complex.

Homeless settle into 'Nickelsville'
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 23
On Monday, advocates erected about 150 fuchsia-colored tents on public land in Highland Park of Seattle to draw attention to the needs of homeless people.  Besides giving a black-eye to Mayor Greg Nickels, it is unclear what will be actually accomplished by the demonstration.  The advocates hope to build on the fuchsia tents with wooden shacks; meanwhile, Mayor Nickels is sending staff to do outreach and post a 3-day eviction notice.  To the north in Snohomish County, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding apartment complexes to shelter 19 homeless families (Everett Daily Herald, Sept. 22).  King County was awarded its own public housing money last week (Seattle P-I, Sept. 20).

State looks to jump-start frog population

Seattle Times, Sept. 23
Five hundred Oregon spotted frogs (Rana pretiosa) are being tracked at Fort Lewis with radio transmitters.  The native frogs currently face an 80% mortality rate in the region due to invasive species, including bullfrogs and plants that taking over native habitat.  Ninety percent of the native habitat at Fort Lewis is already invaded.

Red dye to color Burnt Bridge Creek in water-quality effort

The Oregonian, Sept. 22
The Burnt Bridge Creek will soon look a bit, well, burnt.  The state Department of Ecology is dyeing the creek red/orange to measure luminosity so it can understand the creek’s dissolved oxygen problems.  Let’s hope this research helps save fish and habitat, otherwise, the creek’s bridge to the future might well be burnt.

Spent Nuclear Fuel dug up near H Reactor

Tri-City Herald, Sept. 23
Good news: clean-up begins around H-Reactor of 8-inch bits that exceed radiation exposure limits by a multiple of 200,000.  Bad news: recent Hanford clean-up contract contested (Tri-City Herald, Sept. 23), creating uncertainty around the new Tri-Party Agreement on clean-up.

Now it's easier to recycle fluorescent bulbs in the Puget Sound area

Everett Daily Herald, Sept. 23
Bartell Drug is accepting your CFLs at its 56 stores in the region.  CFLs that are not recycled or properly disposed of at a hazardous waste landfill can contaminate soil and drinking water.  CFLs are known to reduce IQ, especially among children.  Bartell’s program is noteworthy as current drop-off locations are both difficult to find and often expensive.

PDC: Clear Pike, fine Realtors PAC

Bellingham Herald, Sept. 23
The State Public Disclosure Commission has found that the “Realtors Quality of Life Political Action Committee” violated the public disclosure law in disclosing $954,000.  How this will affect this fall’s campaigns is unclear.

Architecture out, "built environments" in at UW

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 22
I am loath to include anything about the University of Washington, but they seem to continue to be on the right track with so many things to protect the environment.  Earlier this year they announced a new “College of the Environment.”  Now they’ve got a "College of Built Environments” to “reflects our core responsibility to 21st-century challenges -- urbanization, climate change and livable communities.”  My alma mater Washington State University isn’t out of the sustainability movement either.  Wazzu thinks its offering


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