More arguments to air at hearing over Sammamish trail



King County, WA - Once a cinder-strewn strip of railroad tracks only a robber baron could love, the East Lake Sammamish Trail remains little more than a concept as King County's legal jostle with the trail's neighbors continues.

Monday, a hearing examiner will listen to still more arguing in the decade-old flap. The meeting, set for 9 a.m., will be in the Sammamish Water and Sewer District office at 1510 228th Ave. S.E.

At issue are environmental exemptions for the county's trail plan.

Stretching nearly 11 miles between Issaquah and Redmond, the old right of way skirts a seven-mile section of shoreline now covered by city regulations and occupied by a collection of million-dollar waterfront homes.

King County bought the Burlington Northern Santa Fe right of way for $2.9 million in September 1998. Two months later, area residents went to the polls and created their own city.

Should it ever be completed, the Sammamish trail would create yet another link in a chain of trails connecting Puget Sound to the region's two largest lakes and the Cascade Range. It would connect with the Sammamish River Trail through Redmond, Woodinville and Bothell, and with the Burke-Gilman and Elliott Bay trails through Kenmore and Seattle.

Waterfront-property owner Mike Rundle says he and his neighbors want the trail. "We just don't want this."

County Councilman Dwight Pelz isn't convinced.

"This is how wealthy people do civil disobedience," he said. "With stucco and asphalt."


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