Decision Delayed on Allowing Wash. School Districts’ Use of Rural Land

Marion Herbert's picture
Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A proposed regulation that could render some Issaquah (Wash.) and Lake Washington school district properties largely useless has been kicked down the road.

King County’s Growth Management Planning Council, which handles regional growth policies, voted at their Sept. 21 meeting to form a 32-person committee featuring representatives from the affected school districts and cities, mostly located in suburbs on the edge of the county’s urban growth boundary.

The proposal would forbid extending sewer lines to serve schools in rural areas and prevent rural schools from serving students who live inside the urban growth boundaries.

Smart growth advocates say the proposal would bring the county in line with the more than 20-year-old Growth Management Act and cut down on suburban sprawl as development follows new schools.

City Councilman Mark Cross, Sammamish’s lone representative on the planning council, says the rule would handcuff suburban school districts that could not use rural land they have already purchased for future schools. Both the Lake Washington and Issaquah school districts straddle the urban growth boundary and own millions of dollars worth of land that likely couldn’t be used for schools under the proposed rule.

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