GMA: 35/65 rule a Draconian measure

By Julia Hossack
Special to The Seattle Times

May 2, 2004

I am writing to express my concerns regarding the proposed 35/65 rule, which would mandate that rural property owners leave 65 percent of their property with native vegetation.

I have several objections to this proposal:

There is no scientific basis for this rule. I have a degree in geology, and I have studied concepts such as slope, angle of repose and sediment load. In all of my coursework, there was never any mention of a blanket 35/65 rule.

It would create a fire hazard. Remember the forest fire in Carnation last summer?

Rural landowners need to be able to make their own decisions about clearing undergrowth based on topography, well capacity, proximity to fire stations and water mains, number and types of structures, and the presence of livestock.

There would be more muddy pastures. In this climate, it takes a lot of land to keep horses without generating a lot of mud, especially during the rainy season. (I believe the figure is about 1 acre per horse.)

Middle-class families can't afford the amount of land that would be required to provide 1 acre for each horse and meet the 35/65 requirement. Their only alternative would be to keep their horses in pastures that are too small.

It isn't necessary. Most of us rural landowners have neither the time nor the desire to clear all of our property. We enjoy looking at natural stands of forest and seeing wildlife in our back yards. That's why we live here!

The major developers are the ones who are doing the wholesale clear-cutting.

It's unconstitutional. This proposed ordinance is nothing more than theft stealing land without just compensation and that's illegal. The people of this county have had enough economic troubles lately.

We don't need the county government reducing our property values by making most of our land useless to potential buyers.

It's an open invitation for lawsuits that would waste taxpayers' money. If this ordinance passes, I'll be very surprised if it isn't challenged in court. Why waste our money passing laws that are sure to end up in court?

In short, the proposed 35/65 rule is a Draconian measure that only a bureaucrat could love.

Shame on King County for even considering such a thing.

Julia Hossack writes from Duvall.



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