The Wellington Hills Sports Complex? No, it's NOT a done deal!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Passionate letter from a concerned citizen


As the sunny warm days of summer draw near an end, there are winds of change blowing through the stately old trees on Wellington Hills Golf Course. If you happen to listen, you will hear the worried whispers warning of what is proposed to arrive in early fall.  The earthmovers, bulldozers, backhoes and dump trucks are lined up ready to roar into action and crawl across the beautifully rolling hills. Their single purpose is to flatten the rolling hills into a tabletop, fit only for the construction of what’s to come. “What will happen to us?” ”How can we survive?”  

Despite the smooth answers from County employees to the many valid questions asked by community residents about Snohomish County’s proposed Business Park/Sports Complex on this site, the trees and I are not feeling reassured.

            Once the two year process of clearing, grading, flattening, filling and reconfiguring are done, the only tall structures will be large and small buildings, 70 foot tall light standards, walls, fences, backstops, and rows upon rows of parked cars.

            Gone forever the green gently rolling hills. The uncut trees are silently screaming, “Although they say we’ll remain, we can not survive the undercutting and backfilling over our roots and trunks. We will surely die a slow and painful death! Is anyone listening? Who will protect the natural order of things?”

 Many good citizens are indeed listening and asking, “What can I do to help maintain our natural, local treasure?”  And I personally ask, why allow the words of the Joni Mitchell song to come true: 

We paved paradise to put in a parking lot … and they took all the trees, and put ‘em in a tree museum and charged the people a dollar and a half to see ‘em”.

I would also suggest that if this highly developed Business Park/ Sports Complex goes ahead as proposed, your four neighborhood roads (Woodinville-Duvall, 156th/Bostian Rd., 240th and Highway 9) would effectively be gridlocked, especially during evenings and weekends.

            Going to your work or home or going shopping?  Expect frustration and slow traffic as you try to negotiate the roads surrounding the sports complex. And then there are those two parking lots for 700+ cars, is that really what's best for this area?

Will you stand with us?

Raise your voice! Demand an appropriate park!


 signed, 
A Wellington Community Resident

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Golf Scramble - Golf, Food, Raffle and Auction. UPDATED!

NEIGHBORS TO SAVE WELLINGTON PARK
http://neighborstosavewellingtonpark.blogspot.com/

FUNDRAISER FOR THE SANE DEVELOPMENT
OF WELLINGTON HILLS PARK

WHEN: September 8th, tee times start at 8:30am

Play: 4 Player Golf Scramble - entry fee $40.00/person (includes lunch)

Don’t Golf?  Come for lunch 11 to 1pm and auction - Lunch ticket $10.00

Raffle Tickets - $10/ticket for a variety of Awesome Prizes!

Auction & Bake sale Purchase coffee & baked goods between 8 & 11am & hang out with your friends and other nice people. Check out the cool auction stuff (wine, dinners, autographed guitar, artwork & more), then get ready to bid! 
The Auction closes at 2pm!  

We’re fighting for the appropriate development of the Wellington Hills Golf Course. All money from this event goes towards the legal costs to keep our community safe from over-development.

We realize the golf course property will be developed, but this is our community, Snohomish County can't just tell us it's a "done deal" and drop a commercial park in our neighborhood. Their sports complex belongs in an industrial area where pay-for-play fields are more appropriate.

Why should a residential neighborhood suffer from bulldozer development? Why cut down old evergreens, flatten rolling hills and then add field lights, artificial turf, huge buildings and blast the area with noise and excessive traffic?

The County's current Master Plan includes: two paved parking lots for 700+ cars, a 60,000 sq. ft. mountain biking building, a 50,000 sq. ft. activities building, four lighted artificial turf fields and three grass fields plus a flattened area for two additional sports fields which will be used for even more parking when tournaments are held. 

Golf fundraiser:
 To sign-up & purchase Golf Scramble tee times or buy raffle or lunch tickets:
 CALL 425-402-0302

Make checks payable to:
Neighbors to Save Wellington Park
Teri Derr
Teriderrsings@comcast.net
15122 NE 204th St Woodinville WA 98072

For Donations only: Make checks payable to:
Neighbors to Save Wellington Park
Margaret Phillips
15110 NE 204th St.Woodinville, WA 98072

Please contact SaveWellingtonPark@comcast.net to learn more about NSWP and why the proposed sports complex will affect you.

JOIN US! WE NEED YOU!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Another letter sent to Snohomish County Council

The following letter was shared with NSWP.

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To: Snohomish County Council, Dave Somers

Dear Mr. Somers:

My wife and I have lived in Woodinville area since 1979 and our home sits directly across from the proposed Wellington Hills County Park.

We are aware that this proposal came about as a result of the brightwater Sewer Plant and the mitigation funds that King County gave to Snohomish County to “mitigate” the impact of the sewer plant. The only negative impact that it (Brightwater) created is the loss of property taxes both to the state and the county due to the fact the County now owns it.

It should be noted at this point that the original Brightwater had most of the plant underground, which then would have resulted in soccer and baseball fields being built on top. However, this proved to be too expensive and thus no sports fields. At this point funds were offered to Snohomish County to build the presently proposed park. It is also important to note the property selected is on the southern boundary of Snohomish County, which adjoins King County. The majority of the users will be King County residents. Restrictions on how far such property was to be purchased took away the opportunity to look at more suitable locations.  Seems that maybe King County is getting the the better of the deal with their sewer plant in Snohomish County and now a sports complex that is better suited for those living in King County as opposed to those in Snohomish County. The result is a double impact to the residents of Snohomish County.

This brings me to point out that the funding for this proposed park in our neighborhood will bring to us the negative impacts of: lighting (the astro turf fields will be lit) increased traffic brought on by the 700+ parking spaces for use of the park and noise brought on by the tournament games that are projected to be played.

The scope of the proposed project in this area seems to have brought on by some very politically active groups, which are the soccer interests and the biking people.  As presented this will be a “pay to play” facility and therefore should be considered a commercial project.  Currently Snohomish County does not have any park in a residential neighborhood of this magnitude.

We have been told that it has been the experience of Snohomish County Parks that when parks are built property value will go up.  According to the real estate people that I have talked to they have said that considering the scope of this project we might expect our home values to drop by as much as 30%!  I would like to know what evidence does the Park Department have to make the statement of “increased property value”.  If our property values are negatively impacted what recourse do we have?

The building of Costco at the intersections of Highway 9 and 240th has already had an impact on traffic.  Before Costco we had 400 cars a day to now well over 2000 cars a day.  The parking lot for the park is basically the same size of that of the Costco store and if you consider that the fields when used in tournament play could bring in 2800 more cars and this is based upon using each of the fields for only 4 games a day which could result in even more traffic.

If you looks at 240th it is well below standards for what 240th is considered: a rural connector arterial.  Grades for a good part of the road are approaching 20%.  Throw in no less than 8 curves in the steepest part there definitely is a problem.  The speed limit on this road is 25mph but the average is 35 and above.  Since we have lived here I have observed only twice when there was any traffic enforcement.  The last time I personally thanked the officers for what they were doing and they acknowledged that this road was extremely dangerous.  It also might be noted the county has actually never had legal possession of all of 240th.

Now let’s consider where parks of this nature can be and should be found.  They should be in business parks or manufacturing areas where lighting, noise and traffic will not affect daily living. It has been pointed out that such areas do exist which was met by the reply that the Parks Department had no money to buy additional land but guess what, they made another purchase of a piece of property to make the proposed park even bigger!  We live in a residential area and do not think this park fits into our neighborhood.

In closing, the magnitude of this park is well beyond what this area can handle. People from the surrounding King County areas are also aware of the negative impact this will have on their lives. 

Soccer fields and baseball fields are great but is there really a shortage of fields in the area? Ask the people from the City of Woodinville about their soccer fields and they will tell you that they are under used.  Take a look at the fields in Redmond and you will find pay to play and pay to park and this is for a select group of people who are not in the majority. 

This proposal needs to be reconsidered with more time spent considering us “locals” and what we would like to see happen to this area. “We are going to build it and YOU are going to LIKE IT” is not what we want to hear.  Let us have a voice in what needs to be done!

Regards,

Letters written by concerned citizens

Several letters shared with NSWP: The first one was sent to the Snohomish County Council and others concerning the proposed sports complex.

The second was written by a concerned citizen and sent to a personal email list.

We have other letters of concern and we will post more of these in the coming days.

We also urge you to write your County government about this issue ...
YOUR voice is extremely important!

Here are links to the Snohomish County Council. Dave Somers is the representative for the golf course region, however it's recommended you also write the County Executive and the entire Council and the Woodinville City Council.

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August 15, 2012
To: Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon
       Snohomish County Council
       Snohomish County Public Works/Tina Hokanson
       Snohomish County Parks & Recreation/Tom Teigen/James Yap
       Woodinville City Council

Re: Proposed Wellington Hills County Park

To all concerned;

We have lived in Woodinville for the past 18 ½ years. We chose this beautiful area with a large lot precisely because of the abundant natural surroundings and quiet environment. Having survived the “Brightwater” noise and commotion of these past years we are saddened to see yet another project being planned that will directly impact us in so many ways with very little consideration given to what the neighborhood truly wants and can actually handle. (Sure there have been minor concessions given to make us feel better but not enough to satisfy our needs). It is so very obvious to the majority of us here that this is not the correct place for a ‘sports’ park, that it feels very much like another project being planned “for us” rather than “with us”. We raised children here and they were involved in soccer for many years so we see the value in that. However we as homeowners also see the value in quiet neighborhood parks and having soccer fields/sports fields located away from neighborhoods as much as possible for the safety and sanity of the people living in those neighborhoods.

This entire process has been so rushed and hastily planned that the neighbors who are going to be directly impacted have had little chance to digest and respond to the amount of changes being proposed. This kind of project should involve the neighbors and the county working directly together on a 50/50 basis, not just a few select people on a committee supposedly representing the greater neighborhood.  There is so much at stake here that it would be such a waste of time, money and resources to make decisions so quickly and not please the greater majority of people not to mention preserving the environment most affected. One would have to ask, ‘who is this mitigation project really benefitting?”

We are all for a quality, peaceful, neighborhood park here but definitely not a sports park of the magnitude that is being suggested by the parks department. The landscape and natural layout of this property are so unique and beautiful it would be a shame to scrape it flat and mold it to other uses. Why is it so necessary to ‘bend’ this outstanding natural habitat to accommodate people rather than using what is naturally here and having people ‘bend’ to its  natural design in the form of a completely unique habitat and park for everyone to enjoy? Beautiful landscapes and natural formations are becoming more and more rare and unusual as the land is manipulated and transformed to cater to the current popular sports and that seems like such a shame. According to Tom Teigen the only real stipulation for the proposed park use is that it be for ‘active use’ and that can be defined in the context of a neighborhood park in a multitude of quieter, less invasive ways other than a lot of outdoor soccer fields, an indoor sports facility, a mountain biking complex and parking for 750 cars. Active use could be defined as retaining the current golf course as well.

If ‘safety is the overriding factor in the park design’ as stated in the design criteria provided by Snohomish County via Tom Teigen and Bruce Dees, then how in the world can this location even be considered for a park this large and complex? Traffic issues have been at the forefront of discussion since this park became known to us and it makes no logical sense whatsoever to bring that many cars into this area  Regardless of the ‘traffic calming’ devices that may be installed the simple fact remains that there will be too many cars for the road and the neighborhood to safely handle. Not only will it be more difficult for the neighbors to access their own streets but the issue of emergency response is of real concern as well. We understand that there will be great care taken and many studies done to resolve traffic concerns but to date we have not seen any evidence of either current studies taking place or information resulting from previous studies (except for the reports regarding the massive changes that have occurred on 240th St. since the opening of Costco at the bottom of the hill).  We have seen firsthand the major impact of traffic on our roads and the blatant disregard for the posted speed limits, running lights at Costco and the greatly increased usage of 240th St.

Common sense needs to be applied to this project.  Let’s not try to squeeze a large sports complex into a small neighborhood where it just doesn’t fit. There have been other options suggested to the county that could handle a sports complex much, more easily and effectively allowing the opportunity to create a distinctly unique park to be located here at Wellington. The majority of neighbors here are not supportive of the proposed park as it now stands and also feel that they are not being properly heard. Sometimes sacrifices need to be made to preserve valuable natural habitats rather than just to make money as this proposal suggests. There needs to be a more agreeable way to mediate this issue and allow for more compromises to benefit the directly affected neighbors and fill the county’s needs as well. We firmly believe this is possible if we are given the time and opportunity to do so. Thank you for your support in this matter.

Sincerely,

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Sorry to bother you through email, but I thought this was important enough to send this email out as an FYI to my friends in the area - because this issue has really caught a lot of people by surprise and most don’t know anything about the size of it.

Please pass this message on to your Woodinville friends and neighbors if you too don’t agree with this new Wellington golf replacement park plan by Snohomish County. Although I don’t oppose a park in this space and a few fields, my question is do we really want a mega Starfire like soccer complex right in our backyards? Shouldn’t it be somewhere in between. This will change the rural landscape of Woodinville forever.

This is supposed to be a mitigation park from the Brightwater Sewage Plant hassles of construction and it’s turned into a mega pay to play revenue generating theme park for the county in an unincorporated area that can’t represent themselves like a city can. Thank you Snohomish County. A park this size realistically should be located in a more open industrial area (like Starfire is, like Northcreek is, like 60 Acres is) that can support it.

The families of Woodinville should have a say in the type and size of this park and the impact it will have on our community. So far Snohomish County has tried to steamroll this project under the radar with no one having any clue of the magnitude of this project – just above Costco. Let’s help try and slow it down and hopefully get a park that is the right fit for this area.

Thanks,


Friday, August 10, 2012

Action on Wellington Hills Golf Course

Breaking News!
Woodinville Washington, August 6, 2012

Balloon down! And ace neighborhood reporter, Heidi Ondrasik, (with her camera) was there. Everyone enjoyed the moment, except for Gus Hacksalott from Bothell WA.  Gus said the balloon came quietly down behind him and ruined his swing of the 7th tee.  He finish 10 over for the day and caddy Carl Spackler said, "hot air hazards are just part of the game of golf."






Those who've lived here awhile ... remember when our summer skies were filled with colorful balloons (and the occasional landing on the golf course)?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Possible reasons why Snohomish County called an unexpected Master Planning Meeting

10.  They forgot to mention additional sports complex features: a Carousel and a Gun Range.

  9.   Due to complaints about the 700+ car parking lot on the pretty golf course, they will now be digging an underground parking garage for 1,500 cars.

  8.   Borrowing an idea from Disneyland, instead of a 60,000 sq. ft. mountain bike building (whatever that is), they now want a Matterhorn Mountain with several Zip Lines.

  7.   It has taken time for them to gather stacks of bibles for swearing on purposes.

  6.   The Snohomish Council just realized Wellington Hills Golf Course is not in Everett and it’s too far away for lunchtime use.

  5.   Someone looked up the word, “Fault Zone” and now they’re a bit concerned about tipped over food carts and spilled Port-a-Potties.

  4.   Someone suggested NASCAR for Wellington Hills and the County wants to take a closer look at that plan.

  3.   They just realized with the millions of mitigation monies from King County that 30 ft. tall bronze statues of themselves would be more appropriate than a measly sports complex.

  2.   Independent studies have recently been released definitively stating: Children prefer video gaming 20:1 to kicking a ball and parents don’t know how to tailgate PS2 and Xbox 360.

  1.   Now that the City of Woodinville is amassing National Guard troops along the King/Snohomish County Line, complete with tanks, drones and crazy wild dogs, Snohomish County just realized Maltby would be a better location for a sports complex.

regards,
Bill Stankus


Friday, August 3, 2012

Will you push back?

If you saw a vandal throw a rock through a neighbor’s window, would you call the police?  If a loudmouth insulted your family, would you tell them to shut up? 

What if there was a terrible winter’s storm and power was lost, would you help your neighbors if they were cold and hungry?

What pushes you to stand up and do the right thing? What is your tipping point?

Well, here we are, being told by Snohomish County that your house and property is no more important than a vacant lot in some urban area.

I say this because that’s exactly what’s happening.  Snohomish County has decided to drop a sports complex on top of the Wellington Hills Golf Course and they don’t give a rat’s ass about how it will negatively change your daily life and alter the quality of living you’ve come to expect in a quiet residential locale.

Make no mistake about it … if they build their over-sized commercial sports complex there will be constant and loud noise spread over a wide area.  And that noise will be during your weekends and evening hours. And, there will be traffic congestion and there will be a lowering of your property’s value.

So I ask, can you afford to be a bystander regarding this issue?

The choice is simple … don’t let bureaucratic bullies change your life.

Please, contact … Neighbors to Save Wellington Park.

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written by
Bill Stankus
August 3, 2012

How to Get Involved

Neighbors to Save Wellington Park

How to Get Involved


Frustrated by Master Planning for the Wellington Park near Woodinville, community members have formed Neighbors to Save Wellington Park (NSWP). The NSWP have hired an attorney to counter plans by Snohomish County to convert the Wellington Hills Golf Course into a regional sports complex. NSWP believes the Wellington Hills Golf Course site offers wonderful potential as a community park without the destructive impacts in the proposed regional sports complex design.

Neighbors coming together to make their voices heard will make a difference and NSWP needs your support! 

Here are the ways you can become involved:

·  Volunteer your time.  Please contact us at SaveWellingtonPark@comcast.net or through this blog and let us know what time commitment you can make or if you’d like to be part of the NSWP core group.

·   Attend public meetings held by Snohomish County and the City of Woodinville and voice your concerns. If public speaking isn’t something you can manage, then please come and show support of NSWP – large numbers of attendees does make a difference! 


Want to write a letter of concern about the proposed sports complex?
emails for representatives on the Snohomish County Council: 
Go here.


For the Woodinville City Council go here.

·   Donate to NSWP to help cover the legal costs. All donations received will be used for legal expenses. You can donate by mailing a check to:
Neighbors to Save Wellington Park
Margaret Philip, Treasurer
15110 NE 204th St.
Woodinville, WA 98072
There is no current plan to become a 501(c)3 charity and therefore donations are not tax deductible. 

·   Visit our Facebook page: Neighbors To Save Wellington Park.
Information about our upcoming meetings and volunteer opportunities are updated frequently. Please leave comments and share these sites with others.

                          Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012