King County Council puts “Open Space” amendment on November ballot

July 20, 2009 3:29 pm
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Just in from the King County Council:

Council places Open Space Preservation Amendment on November ballot

Proposed amendment to King County Charter seeks to protect rural acreage

A proposed charter amendment that would provide enhanced protection for rural acreage either owned or held in a conservation easement by King County was placed on the November general election ballot today by the Metropolitan King County Council.

Voters will be asked whether to add an appendix to the charter that contains a list of properties deemed to have a “high conservation value” and therefore provided with enhanced protection against sale, transfer, or change of use, with some limited exceptions. Removing a property from the protected list would require adoption of an ordinance by a supermajority of at least seven Councilmembers and must include findings of fact that justify removal of the property from the list.

The properties under consideration are located throughout unincorporated rural King County and are already set aside for conservation. The County either owns the properties outright or holds development rights in them.

The Council also adopted a companion ordinance listing the 95 properties that will receive protection if the proposed charter amendment is approved. The properties are deemed to have high conservation value and comprise nearly 150,000 acres of rural land, including the Upper Raging River Forest and Snoqualmie Forest.

The Open Space Preservation Amendment was recommended to the Council last year by the King County Charter Review Commission, a group of King County citizens appointed to recommend changes to the King County Charter. The charter is the basic structural document of the King County government, similar to a constitution.

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