by Melissa Steffan August 5th, 2011
The “Donut Hole” is up for sale. And if King County sells it, the City of Maple Valley could become 156.5 acres larger by the end of the year and gain housing and jobs.
It is a somewhat tricky proposition, though. If King County can successfully relocate the regional roads maintenance facility on a land parcel it owns called “the Donut Hole” at 228th Avenue S.E. and S.E. 272nd Street, then new development there could bring more housing, jobs, or both to the City of Maple Valley. Energized by the county’s recent call for qualified developers of the 156.5-acre spread, the city council will hold a public hearing for pre-annexation zoning at its August 22 meeting. The city could annex the property whether or not it is redeveloped, but it must allow the county to keep the roads facility there if a planned new location at the site of the current Cascade Shooting Facilities in Ravensdale does not garner required environmental permits.
Complicating the situation is whether or not developers can step forward, with feasible, well-financed proposals for the Donut Hole. If the King County cannot sell the property, it may have less reason to bear the expense of vacating the land and relocating the roads facility.
According to a recent request for qualifications, King County hopes to sell its Roads Summit Maintenance Regional Facility property so the land can be developed for residential and commercial use. The site is enclosed by the City of Maple Valley and is known locally as the Donut Hole, sometimes also as Summit Place or Summit Pit. It’s used for mining, street waste sorting and processing, and other services. Because of its environmental impact on growing nearby communities, it needs to be moved to a more rural location, the shooting range, according to the county.
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Two Respond To County’s Request For Developers’ Qualifications
As of the RFQ submittal deadline July 26, King County had received two responses from potentially interested developers, Powell Development and Polygon Homes, said City of Maple Valley City Manager David Johnston.
He said Maple Valley wants to annex the Donut Hole, now in unincorporated King County, because it is completely surrounded by the city. Otherwise, he said, “whoever’s using it will be using the city’s systems without paying any (city) taxes.”
According to a 2010 interlocal agreement between Maple Valley and King County, Maple Valley has the power to annex the property from the county if it adopts a pre-annexation zoning ordinance. Earlier this year, the city was set to pass that zoning, Johnston said.
However, the 2010 agreement said the city’s annexation development plans must allow King County to continue using its roads maintenance facility, so the city decided to wait before pursuing annexation, Johnston said. Now that King County has resurrected the RFQ process and intends to move its facility, Maple Valley will also hold its pre-annexation public hearings at its city council meeting on August 22 at the Tahoma School District Central Services Facility, he said.
If the city council passes the required zoning pre-requisites for annexation as soon as possible, the city could successfully annex the Donut Hole by the end of the year, Johnston said.
It is also expected that King County will select finalists for a Request for Proposals by August 22. According to King County Procurement Special Projects Supervisor Roy Dodman, the submittals have already been passed on to an evaluation committee. RFQs typically result in the issuance of a Request For Proposals, in which invited finalists detail their plans more fully. The RFQ stated that King County wants developer submissions so the county can gauge the potential of selling the property to boost the area’s economy and housing stock. The initial county guidelines ask developers to be ready to make sure that at least 30 percent of the total dwelling units proposed meet official criteria for “affordable housing.”
Housing or jobs?
The county’s focus on housing stems in part from its desire to get maximum value from the sale of the land, Maple Valley’s Johnston said. However, this is one of the areas in which the city and the county disagree. The city sees the property as a potential employment center and commercial zone, he said.
“We don’t need more housing, but we do need jobs,” Johnston said. Though Maple Valley’s decision to wait and allow the county to pursue the RFQ process could result in unfavorable development proposals from the city’s perspective, Johnston said the county and the city intend to work together on development in the future.
Golf Course Would Be Affected
Elk Run Golf Course currently leases a portion of the property for nine holes of its 18-hole course. The golf course would lose these nine holes if the land is developed, according to the RFQ. Elk Run Golf Course Manager Roy Humphreys declined to comment regarding the impact of land’s development on his course.
The Roads Summit Maintenance Regional Facility Property was first purchased in 1953, when Maple Valley was a rural and lesser-developed area of King County. Over time, however, residential and urban developments in the area have impacted the regional roads maintenance facility’s operations.
The new site would be on the Cascade Shooting Facilities in Ravensdale. The Roads Services Division intends to obtain a Conditional Use Permit for the Ravensdale site by 2012, according to the RFQ. If all the necessary permits are approved on schedule, construction of the new maintenance facility would be completed by the end of 2014.
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