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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Letter to the Editor (1), Woodinville Weekly, March 3, 2014

In the Woodinville Weekly

I was very disappointed in the recent article The Woodinville Weekly did on the City Council’s public hearing on Wellington Hills Park. A large number of people spoke against the Snohomish County Parks Department proposal to change Wellington Hills Park into a Regional Sports Complex.  In general, people were concerned over the very real issues of traffic congestion on local roads, noise, light pollution, loss of natural habitat, public safety, lack of any input into the park’s design as required and loss of the quality of life that’s associated with living in Woodinville.  

The fact is:  the director of Snohomish County’s parks was not at the public hearing yet he was quoted in the article.  The terrible misconception is the things he said were sound bytes, clichés, half truths or totally unsubstantiated and condescending generalities.

The fact is: Snohomish County’s proposal is huge.  The south side of 240th SE would get artificial turf fields, stadium lights, a huge Costco-sized park lot and a giant activity building – all of which has approximately the same size footprint, lighting and noise impact as that of Safeco Field.

Furthermore:  the south side will be dug up and over 250,000 cubic yards of soil would be trucked across 240th and dumped on the rolling terrain of that area.  After the flattening, their plans call for a commercial mountain bike building and another large parking lot.  How this accounts for just 25% is unclear.

The irony is King County gave Snohomish County mitigation money to compensate the neighbors and the community that have to live by an essential public facility – the Brightwater Sewage Plant.  The 2005 Settlement Agreement stated there was to be a “community” park for residents near Brightwater and that they’d be included in the park design.  Somehow “Community Park” changed into a Regional Sports Complex reflecting only sports enthusiasts interests – and the consequence of that change of land use is; the sports complex would be worse for the area than Brightwater.

If the Weekly wants “fairness” and it wants to give “equal time” to citizens and to Snohomish County’s Director of Parks, then it should do a bit of investigative reporting.  If they do their homework, the proposal for a sport complex will look like a nightmare.

Linda Gray, Woodinville

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