3.4.2008 FINAL:
creating zoning within the critical species habitat.

BOTHELL REPORTER NEWSPAPER 3.19.2008 Bothell is going "green" with adopted ordinance By JOSHUA ADAM HICKS Bothell-Kenmore Reporter The Bothell City Council adopted an ordinance March 4 that establishes new low-impact development (LID) standards for a portion of the Fitzgerald neighborhood, located in northeast Bothell. The measures are designed to protect critical habitats near North Creek and its tributaries, but they also leave questions about how practical developing the area will be in the future. "This is a good trend in that everyoneís going 'green', said Councilmember Bill Evans. "Now itís a matter of how it affects development costs." The new regulations require between 50- and 60-percent forest cover for all future developments within the North Creek Fish and Wildlife Critical Habitat Protection Area (NCFWCHPA). They also limit impervious surfaces such as concrete and asphalt to between 15 and 20 percent of an area. City Council rejected a proposal for stricter regulations in December. "Council became concerned about what those standards would do," said Bothell community development planner Bruce Blackburn. "They didnít want to create standards that were so stringent that nobody had uses for their land." Numerous properties in the Fitzgerald neighborhood will be primed for denser development once an arterial road known as the Bothell Connector is completed. That corridor will lead from Everett to Woodinville via 39th Avenue Southeast in Bothell. Evans said he believes developers will do best by assembling large portions of property, which would give them the flexibility to meet the new requirements through transference and credits. "Hopefully the area can be marketed that way," Evans said. "The idea is to protect natural habitats, and I certainly think the regulations do that. The real test is going to be when the first proposal to develop property occurs." Developers who donít meet the new requirements in one area can acquire credits by preserving comparable portions of land within the NCFWCHPA, and also by using LID methods that reduce surface- water runoff. LID techniques include the use of vegetative roofs, porous concrete, rain gardens and other practices that keep stormwater from rushing off into local waterways. Reducing runoff protects streams from erosion, pollution and infusions of warm water ó all of which are lethal to fish populations. Recent scientific studies indicate that North Creek and its tributaries provide an unusually healthy habitat for salmon. The NCFWCHPA is a particularly productive area that is, to date, largely undisturbed. City Council decided in 2006 to keep it that way by creating its new low-impact development regulations. The process took 17 months and nine public hearings. The city could implement similar low-impact development regulations in other parts of Bothell depending on how things go with the Fitzgerald neighborhood. "Itís all new stuff right now," Blackburn said. "Itís exciting stuff with some science behind it, but itís still new."    [top]