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King County Adult Beverage Ordinance unanimously rejected

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick
Feliciana Winery & Tasting Room is one of nine local establishments that are in violation of Washington state Environmental Policy and Growth Management acts. Photo by Bob Kirkpatrick

 

SEATTLE —A unanimous order issued on Tuesday, May 26 by the Washington State Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) has overturned King County’s controversial Adult Beverage Ordinance challenged by Friends of Sammamish Valley (FoSV) and other petitioners. 

The order, according to a May 31 press release from FoSV, cites a dozen grounds for invalidation under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and the Growth Management Act (GMA) and faults the county repeatedly for ignoring the ordinance's potential environmental harm and impacts on infrastructure. 

“We are extremely pleased that the GMHB validated what thousands of citizens, organizations, and businesses have been telling King County for more than two years,” said Executive Director of Friends of Sammamish Valley Serena Glover. “The Adult Beverage zoning ordinance would have had far-reaching, negative impacts on the environment, farming, rural character, open spaces, safety, and more in the Sammamish Valley and broadly across rural King County.”

Glover, along with the advocacy group Futurewise, led the petitioner’s appeal to the GMHB.

The wording of the board’s decision, Glover said, is notably direct.

“It observes with clear disapproval that the County, in its environmental review document, declines to even acknowledge areas of potential impact and utterly fails to identify necessary areas of environmental review,” she said. “The decision is also noteworthy because invalidation of city or county legislation is not common, but instead reserved for the most egregious cases, and because the decision was rendered early in the appeal process.”

Despite strong opposition from farmers, rural and urban residents, environmental and community groups, and local businesses, the King County Council nonetheless adopted the ordinance by a 5-4 vote. The ordinance, sponsored by Council member Kathy Lambert, was endorsed by a handful of illegally operating adult beverage businesses. After the Dec. 4, 2019 vote, Lambert said the council had taken "significant steps" to protect agricultural lands. 

“Opposition to the ordinance centered on its opening up of protected farmland and rural residential areas to adult beverage businesses such as remote tasting rooms, bars, and event centers where the primary activity is retail sales. The Growth Board’s Order upheld these concerns,” Glover said. “The Board recognized that while sponsors claimed the ordinance would tighten up regulations around the winery, brewery, and distillery businesses, it would actually have the opposite effect — legitimizing a group of existing adult beverage zoning violators and opening up areas set aside for farming and rural residential uses across unincorporated King County to more of the same activities.”

This battle is far from over, however, as the county has several options it can pursue including asking the GMHB to reconsider its decision, filing a petition for review in Superior Court (following a motion for reconsideration), conduct an environmental review in which the public would have the opportunity to weigh in, or write a new ordinance that is narrow in scope amending its home occupation code.

“We will be actively involved in these next steps with the county,” Grover said. “Regardless of the path, we will demand the County immediately start enforcing code in order to deal with the nine well-documented rogue violators in the Sammamish Valley. The code clearly states that sales are limited to products produced on-site in these rural locations. The violators all truck in alcohol produced elsewhere.”

Friends of Sammamish Valley (FoSV) is a group of citizens, businesses, and organizations with the goals of protecting the Sammamish Valley Agricultural Production District (APD) and the Sammamish Valley watershed by maintaining the character of the surrounding rural area and preserving the rural lifestyle for local residents. For more information visit GoFoSV.org, or contact Serena Glover at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. She can also be reached by phone at (425) 985-2992.

City and chamber create 'microsite' for businesses

  • Written by Madeline Coats

Woodinville’s business community will soon find one consistent and reliable space full of resources due to a recent partnership between the city and the chamber of commerce. 

Council voted unanimously to approve the microsite proposal brought up by the city’s Economic Recovery Task force during a virtual meeting Tuesday, May 19. Up-to-date business resources regarding COVID-19 will be located in a subsection of the chamber website for citizens and business owners. 

"We want to make this easy for businesses and residents," said Kimberly Ellertson, executive director of the chamber. "We want them to be able to go to a place where they can find all of these resources as opposed to searching different blog posts. It is a way to consolidate all that information into one COVID-related page within our [Woodinville Chamber] website."

Roughly $7,125 was proposed for the overall project, with the possibility of an extended marketing plan. The proposal estimates this project will be fully covered by funding from the 2020 Port of Seattle Economic Development Grant.

Cynthia Allyn, director of marketing for the chamber, serves as project manager for the microsite. She is responsible for the overall implementation of the site, as well as marketing efforts to provide resources to all Woodinville businesses. 

The microsite is designed for all Woodinville businesses, not just chamber members. The marketing of the microsite will incorporate direct outreach via the city’s business license list, printed collateral, social media, e-mail marketing and more. 

The work plan includes the development, deployment and marketing of various resources for citizens and businesses. The proposal also allows for a contract between the chamber and local business Ontra Marketing Group for web design and development of the microsite. 

The webpage will function as a marketing platform for local businesses to share links for their products and services. According to the proposal, these business listings will likely be divided into categories by restaurants, wineries, nonprofits, service providers, etc. 

The site will highlight financial resources for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, grants, and Paycheck Protection Programs, as well as unemployment benefit updates for employees. Ellertson said another section of the microsite will link webinars from area organizations, such as the Association of Washington Business, for employers to gain knowledge and information during this challenging time.

Ellertson said the site will also include a Back-to-Business Toolkit with step-by-step documentation for businesses to use in their reopening phase. 

The target launch date for the microsite was May 28, although it is not yet available on the chamber website. 

Community leaders across the state launch support network

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick
Getty Images Pearl Jam is one of the performers scheduled for All in WA's virtual benefit on June 10.

 

All In WA, a coordinated statewide relief effort that is driven by an alliance of philanthropic and community leaders, companies, community foundations, and frontline nonprofits across the state kicked off on Wednesday, May 27.

The groups are coming together to provide immediate critical and emergency support for workers and families who have been acutely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

The organizations' overall goal, according to a May 25 press release, is to raise $65 million to fund the effort. Things are off to a great start with $20 million in initial commitments from the likes of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the Ballmer Group, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, and Howard and Sheri Schultz.

"Washington state was at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our state will be at the forefront of a safe recovery," Gov. Jay Inslee said in the May 27 press release. "All In WA is helping to fill the gaps in funding across the state to provide relief to those who are suffering and to lay the groundwork to restart our economy in a safe, supported and sensible way. I'd like to thank Jeff Bezos for his pledge to match donations and all the other generous donors and businesses who are making this possible."

Bezos will match individual donations under $1 million to All In WA causes up to a total of $25 million.

"Individuals, families, and communities across Washington state are struggling as a result of COVID-19, and I commend Governor Inslee and the First Lady for inspiring thinking big so that All In WA can help those who so desperately need it," Bezos said. "It's been inspiring to watch the people of this state band together and push through this crisis, and I'm excited to see that continue as we raise money for this important cause."

According to Washington State Employment Securities Department, one in five workers across the state have filed for unemployment benefits, which means individuals are at risk of not being able to pay rent or the mortgage on their homes and could see a reduction in the amount of food they can put on their tables.

All In WA intends to address those needs.

"For Microsoft and all of us that live and work in Washington state, All in WA provides inspiration and opportunity to come together to strengthen our community safety net and help those most in need," said Microsoft president Brad Smith. "We are proud to partner with so many on this important initiative."

All In WA is managed by a list of leaders across the state. All funds donated to the All In WA Fund will be distributed in the form of grants to nonprofit organizations. A fund advisory group has been established to oversee the grantmaking. 

The primary role for the advisory group according to the information posted on the All In WA website is to affirm strategic direction on the funding approach, inform funding guidelines as needs evolve, highlight gaps in the proposed grant dockets, identify funding opportunities, and ensuring accountability of the fund.

Visit www.allinwa.org for more information or to contribute to the fund. 

A virtual benefit concert to help promote and raise funds for the All In WA effort is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 10 and can be streamed on Amazon Music’s Twitch channel (www.twitch.tv/amazonmusic) and www.allinwa.org. It will also be aired statewide on KING 5, KONG, KREM, KSKN, and KVEW/KAPP TV. 

Scheduled to appear  is Pearl Jam, Macklemore, Brandi Carlile, Ciara, Russell Wilson, The Black Tones, Dave Matthews, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Pete Carroll, Mary Lambert, Joel McHale, Ben Gibbard, and Allen Stone.

Photo: Target closes shop early in wake of protests

Photo by Bob Kirkpatrick


The Woodinville Target closed up shop early Monday evening and boarded up the entry to the store. It was the lone business in town to do so in the wake of recent protests, some of which involved looting and rioting. The large demonstrations against police brutality held across the country are in response to George Floyd's homicide in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25. 

Kenmore receives Municipal Excellence Award from AWC

OLYMPIA —The Hangar at Town Square in Kenmore was among five city projects statewide to receive the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Municipal Excellence Award.

“This year’s projects demonstrate some of the ways that Washington’s city leaders are applying innovative solutions to their diverse needs,” said AWC CEO Peter B. King. “I hope these will be a source of ideas and inspiration throughout the state.”

Kenmore’s extensive downtown redevelopment is anchored around The Hangar, a new community building on the Town Square public plaza. The complex serves as a gathering place at the center of the city’s plan for a revitalized residential and commercial district, and the aviation theme honors the city’s ongoing seaplane heritage. 

Residents can casually meet friends at the on-site coffee shop, enjoy a public art performance, or reserve one of two meeting rooms for larger community gatherings free of charge. Revenues from private development covered construction costs of the public spaces, and public-private partnerships were leveraged to ensure compatibility with the city's vision.

This is not the first award the city of Kenmore has received for its Downtown Kenmore redevelopment projects. In 2016 Kenmore was awarded the Washington State Governor’s Smart Communities Award for serving as a model for other smaller communities wanting to encourage economic growth and revitalize their downtown, increase housing and activate retail in the city center. 

Kenmore also the recipient of the 2019 VISION 2040 Award from the Puget Sound Regional Council for its downtown creation project. This award recognizes innovative projects and programs that help ensure a sustainable future as the region grows.

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