THE HONEST NEED FOR CLOSURE
The city council has directed staff to come back on the 6th of
December with the draft ordnance to review, to get a final vote
on. If the vote is in the affirmative we will become part of the
2016 Comprehensive Plan. The journey will end for us as it has in
the past except this time we have the confirmation from
developers that this zoning, R9600 with incentivized clustering,
will actually work. And then this decision will likely be
appealed to the Growth Management Board by S.A.V.E., the non
profit organization responsible for our lives being placed on
hold for the past generation.
In light of a now established science component that states that
Zone 1 properties are part of a separate drainage from Cole
Creek, that water from Zone 1 properties flows away from the
north and not to Cole Creek, S.A.V.E. continues to fight the new
zoning clarification. The entire three creek fishery that makes
up the Critical Species Habitat is intact, safe from developers
and hopefully will stay that way in the future. Zone 1,
established as apart from that by all means does not satisfy
S.A.V.E. It's hard to put into words just how frightening this
attitude is when we have worked so long to establish the truth
about Zone 1 of the Fitzgerald subarea.
The facts are there, the truth is established and what more can
we do to be able to move along with our lives, albeit now old, to
hopefully be able to help our son with the brain disorder that is
killing him. We can't regain the years that we have lost and we
can't regain the value that our properties once had but we need
to be released from the control brought on our lives by a non
government organization that has no more authority than ordinary
citizens, that has damaged us for an incredibly long time. And
by now established facts they have no right to do this to us.
TO MAKE A LONG NINETEEN YEAR STORY SHORT
One non profit organization, S.A.V.E. has refused to stand down
on their claim that Zone 1 is integral in the health of Cole
Creek which is part of the three creek fishery established as The
Critical Species Habitat. The belief that there exists ground
water emitting from Zone 1 that is completely necessary for the
health of salmon in Cole Creek is based on the two images seen
below, which is the bulk of the water, this photo taken in July
of 2016. That amount of water truly is as scant as it appears.
The water in the photo is flowing south, travels under the road,
39th Ave S.E., and continues down south, then west to 35th Ave
S.E. where it is turned south on the east side of 35th, carried
down and under 240th Ave S.E.. Cole Creek is north of Zone 1 and
turns to flow west to North Creek. There is no association of
water between Zone 1 and creeks north and west. If there was a
reasonable amount of water flowing from Zone 1 the fact that it
flows south and not toward the three creek fishery is simply
enough truth one would think to give we property owners the
ability to move on.
As of the last hearing S.A.V.E. changed its stance and now claims
that the tree cover of Zone 1 properties is integral to the
health of the three creek fishery by using data that does not
agree with the most recent study done in 2015 using private money
that includes the pit tests that have been validated by the
science component now finished that complies to the requirements
of the Growth Management Board.
In the 19 years, an unbelievable amount of time, we have grown
old, years that we can never recover. It begs the question as to
what sort of laws allow a non profit to use assumptions,
incorrect, to rule our lives.
The story, the why of Zone 1 of the Fitzgerald subarea, Bothell
Washington. In the sidebar link to "Shallow Aquifer".
Note *History* and *Comments*
Thank you. Aside from being a tiny rivulet the water does not
have anything to do with Cole Creek. This is so ridiculous that
it is difficult to put into terms that make sense.
Early On, The Long Protracted Process (Available for reference)
* Some History From the stacks. reams of paper accumulated ~
More History (ie. - court ruling)
* An Open Letter To Tom Agnew And Council Persons (July 30, 2015)
In the aftermath of last Thursday, which was amazing, I've given our
situation a lot of thought and I wrote to Lynn Thompson, Seattle
Times, who wrote today's article about the situation. All the angst
toward the mayor and Mark Lamb is honestly rather new to me. I haven't
been involved in the golf course issue as much as I'd like due to time
Environmental Concerns Void Bothell Development Ordinance
The Seattle Times
But I don't know whether to be hopeless or not - or if there is any
chance that Zone 1 of Fitzgerald will ever be heard for the mis-
association with the rest of the subarea. Here's what I wrote to Lynn
to help with a little history.
Finally, it struck me. After enduring the city council hearing on
Thursday, July 30th, Bothell, shouting and general apparent upheaval...
This issue might end up in superior court?
We'd suffered through the oil embargo and following shortages of the
late 1970's. It really took its toll on the heating oil business. And
because of that we started the Canyon Park Orchard to offset, to
create income that would bolster the lack coming from the furnace
business. Oil was becoming a dirty name. A letter response from
senator Henry M. Jackson explained that oil was a strategic commodity
and that I would just have to understand the struggle with supply.
We started the orchard also with the hope of giving our kids a great
environment to grow up in, raising apples and pears, harvesting and
selling at the farm gate. It was a valuable experience. Sales grew and
media coverage was great because what we were doing was unusual, close
to Seattle. When we were about to break even the governments of
Washington and Oregon argued over which was going to subsidize the
eradication of the newly arrived Apple Maggot from the east coast. The
bug was sequestered in a back yard along I-84 and nothing was done, no
support: the bug got away. In 8 years we had to give up the orchard
operation because we were nearly Organic in practice and had far too
many varieties, 2000 trees that would be illegal to spray pre-harvest
even if we wanted to revert back to a culture of spraying chemicals on
our crop. We gave up and shut down.
Meanwhile unbeknownst to us there was an effort to turn our land along
with other property owners' into an untried experiment called the
Critical Species Habitat. We would lose the use of 60% of our property
and have an overlay of restrictions on what we could do with our land.
This was being considered while we still grew a crop and of course we
worked an honest 7 days a week to keep our jobs and the orchard all
going at once. There was no spare time, literally, and certainly not
for local politics. Turns out that we were supplying apples to the
folks who were busy creating our demise.
A long deliberation has ensued over the years and we have fought for
rights that would mean our ability to sell and get on with our lives.
This is year 19 of that pursuit. During those 19 years plus all the
years of raising apples and keeping the oil business alive we have had
but two, almost what you could call - vacations. We are now full time
caring for our disabled son T.J. who is living with a brain disorder
considered an anomaly by the Swedish hospital group that deals with
Ataxia. There will be no vacations or frankly retirement for us in
this. And the fact that we can't sell our land for anything near
market value, a market that is here today and will eventually wane
through normal cycles, means that we are likely going to have to give
up our long effort for naught. That is a fearsome loss of revenue that
would have helped us care for T.J..
I will be 70 soon. I'm not young, not the best of health and my wife
and her worries are disturbing. Our portion of the Fitzgerald subarea
was never given consideration in the pursuit of creating the
experimental habitat. "Good Science" was cited in support of the
general scope of saving a salmon run in North Creek, science that was
cited but never directly applied to us because we were never
approached, no official presence was ever conducted on our properties
during the creation of the habitat, Zone 1 of the subarea. We were
utterly taken for granted.
Now the fight to keep the original restrictions, the intact overlay of
the experiment after a recent Growth Management hearing board
decision, is furious as evidenced by the special city council hearing
held last Thursday. There was a lot of shouting, out of order behavior.
Only two of us from Zone 1 spoke, not in defiance of the effort to
revert back to the original restrictions but rather for recognition
that our lands do not meet the definition, description or the science
of the agenda. We are set apart as noted by recent studies done, paid
for privately. But the agenda to preserve the entirety of the original
scope, the total subarea, does not, will not hear our voices. Their
fervor is blind to focus beyond their original vision.
This problem could be fixed quite easily by noting the results of
recent tests, to take the Zone 1 properties out of the Critical
Species Habitat. To conserve the original concept of the experiment,
the original overlay for the subarea, is appropriate, that portion,
unlike Zone 1, that is near North Creek and the supporting creeks.
It's amazing that a simple fix has not already applied. Take Zone 1
out of the experiment.
Between you and I - I think that we are screwed. We've certainly tried
to fix it but if nearly 19 years of effort doesn't fix it then I don't
know what will.
I asked Mark Lamb to represent us during the sale of our property,
assuming that might happen. I did that because years ago I stood up
before the council and asked why we were included in the habitat when
no studies were ever done in Zone 1. I farmed this land for over 20
years. I'm quite familiar with it as you might expect. I know every
ounce of water because we worked tremendously hard to make use of
every bit of it for irrigation and never came close to having enough.
Rain use to save us to offset at best the 10 gallons a minute that we
saved and stored. And that was in a good snowfall year in the
But Mark was the only council person, he - new on council at that
time, who said in defiance of the rest of the council that he was
going to do everything possible to save our property rights. I thought
that took courage. And I consider it pay back now to hire him, the
right thing to do. I asked no other land owner to do the same. It was
just my thing.
After all this time we now have studies done in Zone 1 to prove that
the ground water is not there, as assumed. The two springs, the tiny
amount that I used for irrigation, don't supply the fishery between
240 S.E. and 228th S.E. It doesn't take an educated eye to figure that
out, just simple observation. We were simply assumed into the habitat
and the restrictions overlay. That's the best that can be said.
The poisoned rhetoric that we are experiencing IS poisoning our
chances for any honest resolution. The public are fired up for good
reasons about the fishery because that is a good thing, goes without
saying, needs saving. But what we are forced to go through is not an
honest thing. The "public" voice is totally against us and it's easy
hatred. It takes work to be otherwise informed.
The property owners in Zone 1 can't do a thing about Mark Lamb or Josh
Freed. What is - is. We're old and losing time.
Thanks for your time.
In Requiem I've removed all links that archived our attempts to save our future.
There was a culture shift that began after the Second World War, late
1940's, into the 50's, that played out for years, in fact continues. The
shift began to teach us that we needed to question authority, our job as
Americans, and that we became less self effacing and more self glorified.
We moved to the "Me" generation and "I'm Okay - You're Okay", so forth.
There is good and bad in everything and I feel that overall good prevails.
But an odd thing happened. We started to assume that what life teaches
through the rigors of hard labor and sweat was best avoided in favor of
affluency. A better economy elevated us from our roots and we distanced
ourselves from the cold earth under our feet. What was once a farming
economy became the economy of today and so it goes.
When those who somewhat appointed themselves the purveyors of "the greater
good" decided to launch an agenda to take private lands into their control,
to fulfill their dreams, they felt that their greater good allowed them to
reach that goal without due diligence, complete, because theirs was
obviously - greater. There was a land grab without complete study and that
was that. They claimed "hard work" sufficient, as defined by them. The
result was hardship for people, land owners, who through no fault of their
own became the victims of intent that was advertised "Greater Good"; so be
it. For any land owners questioning the authority of this agenda the
response was simply disdain. We were labeled "developers", to be loathed.
The following is what I wrote in the past as the epic of our land ownership
We are living a nightmare more real than words can convey. We have been
trying to get reasonable resolution to our dilemma since 1997 with the city
of Bothell and the more time that passes the deeper the problems become.
Our son has been developing a rare brain disorder, a type of Ataxia that is
thus yet undiagnosed specifically. There is little therapy for the
condition and we are taking care for him, hoping to provide for him a Trust
to see him beyond our years if necessary. We have land in the city to sell
and our local government has deemed us an Experiment, The Critical Species
Habitat, along with all land owners in a subarea, properties of various
conditions and land types.
This is a long story. I've written to both senators some years ago and was
referred back to the city with recommendations that our situation needed to
be dealt with at the local government level. Our situation only worsened
although we were able to reduce land loss from 65% down to 50%. We are also
saddled with a highway right of way certified by the Army Corp of
Engineers, a highway that has no funding or possible funding in the near
future, assumed in our life time.
The majority of the land owners in our zone, a gentle slope with few
wetland areas, are old age and have wanted to move on for a long time.
After fighting for our rights we were given adequate zoning but with LID
restrictions, the loss of half our land, and experimental land use code
that has apparently not been completed.
We have been approached by a long list of land developers who greatly
desire the chance to work with the city but leave the project before
feasibility because they can't get answers from the city that will
guarantee their investment. They all go away. I'm talking about award
winning developers who would love the chance to create quality housing in a
new type of development but working within necessarily reasonable terms.
Frustration is not something that we experience anymore. We are beat and
demoralized. Why are we enslaved to an ideologue fostered by few who have
power. Higher courts have upheld the decision in King County that this type
of action is illegal taxation. Why are we exempt from being treated in a
legal manner? Please understand that we have not been compensated for being
required to give up our land's value.
1997 - we asked the city for resolve on our zoning and there is a dossier-
long, part of the public record, that shows the enduring avoidance of our
plea. Time, long time has left us with an untenable situation and in our
personal lives fright that we will not be able to provide for our family in
The truth in this should be quite evident. We are looking back now at over
19 years in our plight. I cannot envision any sense of good reason in this
Time has passed and we are now in year 20 of our work to see closure on a
property sale that will allow us to move on. Develop-able land is very much
in short supply because of growth in the region and in any event we will
never really be able to appreciate the true value of our properties with
still applied experimental low impact development (LID) code. The developed
code is deemed workable, we hope.
Will all this sacrifice on our part be appreciated, ever? No. We are still
popularly considered "Developers" albeit necessary in a city growth
environment. We are simply ordinary folks who own some land because we have
been here throughout the cultural shift. The self appointed purveyors of
The Greater Good seek the support of younger citizens who are not yet aware
of the complications that fog perspective in what it takes to govern
society and it's easier to condemn on first seen surface evidence. The
cultural shift by its very nature condemns us without any fault on our part
but just because we are not willing to simply give up our rights and roll
In this there are lessons for us all.