MAR 28: Action on Proposals for Ballfields and St. Ed Seminary

Email Kenmore City Council Against “Public Agency and Utility Exception (PAUE)”

Kenmore City Council EMAIL: ci_council@ci.kenmore.wa.us

Rob Karlinsey, City Manager EMAIL: rkarlinsey@kenmorewa.gov

Priority is the Kenmore City Council public hearing and vote next Monday at 7 pm to change the land use code that would facilitate construction of city ballfields at St. Ed’s. Written comments to the city council are more important than a personal appearance. Attending the hearing would be good but writing to the council between now and Monday morning is essential. See the ordinance on pages 3 – 4 of the agenda at March 28, 2016, Kenmore City Council Agenda

The council needs to hear your message loud and clear. Messages can be brief. Here is an example:

Do Not Pass Ordinance 16-0418 to Amend PAUE Regulations – The current code already provides exceptions for public agency projects and does not need to be expanded. Comparisons to other cities are not valid as other cities’ codes do not include private entity exceptions in their PAUE codes. Mitigation regulations already exist elsewhere in the city code and do not need clarification by amending PAUE regulations. Please retain the current code and vote no on Ordinance 16-0418. Please include these comments as part of the public hearing record for March 28, 2016. Thank you for your consideration.

An amendment to the Kenmore City code called the “Public Agency and Utility Exception (PAUE)” has been on the Kenmore City Council’s agenda for the past two months and is scheduled for a public hearing Monday, March 28, 2016. The new code, if passed, could/will eventually lead to construction of hi-tech ballfields at Saint Edward (artificial turf, 70’ – 80’ light poles for LED lighting, a dugout, chain link fence around the perimeter, and a concession stand). It is once again urgent that advocates for Saint Edward make known their opposition to this amendment either in writing or by speaking at the hearing on March 28. It is important is that anyone (not just an organization) but individuals who might be appellants to the Growth Management Hearing Board (GMHB) to appeal these development regulations must participate either in writing or in person at the public hearing on March 28. A critical mass of comments in opposition is essential for the council to be persuaded.

General Background from 2008 on “Public Agency and Utility Exception (PAUE)”

To allow for these projects to go on wetlands or in wetland buffers, the only option would be for the City to use the Public Agency Utility Exemption (PAUE). PAUE is a last ditch effort used by cities to keep a project moving forward after they have already failed to qualify for all necessary permits through normal channels. The PAUE exemption is only available to cities. Private developers trying to accomplish the same thing cannot apply for a PAUE exemption. The use of PAUE is similar to the use of eminent domain by cities when they want to acquire land that private property owners are unwilling to part with at any price. Eminent domain can only be used by cities, just as PAUE can only be used by cities. The clear problem with this is that it provides cities a free pass to ignore their own high standards as set in land use codes. The purpose of the critical areas code is to protect our precious wetlands and environmentally sensitive land. Instead, the city has adopted a “develop-at-all-cost mentality”. The actual intention of PAUE is to allow the installation of utilities in sensitive areas when there is absolutely no other avenue available. Most of us define utilities as sewer and water pipes, electrical lines, and such–not parks. It certainly was not created with the intention of building ballfields for which a private organization will be granted priority status when it comes to scheduling the use of those fields.

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