King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci is the co-sponsor (along with Kathy Lambert) of the latest version of the Adult Beverage Ordinance. On April 27 Balducci will be hosting town halls in Kirkland and Bellevue at which “new legislation impacting wineries and breweries in the Sammamish Valley” will be discussed. More details can be found here.
On March 11 the Local Services, Regional Roads & Bridges Committee of the King County Council voted to send an even worse version of the Beverage Ordinance to the full Council, to be heard - and likely voted on - on June 12. Scroll down this page to sign up for our mailing list to get a full update of recent Committee action and our next steps. Or read below for an overview of the Beverage Ordinance issue.
Who We Are
Friends of Sammamish Valley (FoSV) is a group of citizens, businesses, and organizations with the goals of protecting the Sammamish Valley Agricultural Production District (APD) and the Sammamish Valley watershed, maintaining the character of the surrounding Rural Area, and preserving the rural lifestyle for local residents. Learn more.
WHAT IS AT STAKE
The Rural Areas and farmland of King County are currently being threatened by a proposal before the King County Council that would allow for commercial and retail businesses to operate in protected rural and agricultural areas. The Sammamish Valley is Ground Zero - a handful of businesses including remote tasting rooms and event centers are already operating illegally outside of the urban boundaries. Rather than working with those businesses to relocate into nearby Urban Areas where they belong, the King County Beverage Ordinance 2018-0241 is a de-facto rezoning that would permanently establish them in the protected Rural Area. The Ordinance also opens the way for new urban use businesses across King County Rural Areas.
Wineries, breweries, and distilleries are an important part of the region, but drinking establishments, remote tasting rooms, taverns, wine bars, and event centers draw in large crowds of people from outside the area to come sit and drink alcohol, enjoy food and be entertained. In these establishments, retail distribution rather than beverage making is the only or predominant objective, and therefore they belong in the Urban Areas where the vast majority are already legally operating.
The result of allowing drinking establishments to operate in the Rural Areas where there is no commercial infrastructure is already on display in the Sammamish Valley: increased traffic; parking in residential neighborhoods and on farmland; pedestrian safety issues; overflowing septic systems; water runoff that damages agricultural areas and rivers; lighting and noise pollution; and more environmental impacts. Specifically for the Sammamish Valley, this ordinance threatens a rural oasis that is needed more than ever as greater urban density comes to Redmond, Woodinville, Kirkland, and Bothell. Increased commercialization in the Valley would also hurt the vast majority of legally operating businesses that rely on the rural nature of the Valley as an attractive setting for visitors.
The Ordinance violates numerous state and local regulations, including the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA), by allowing urban use businesses in the protected Rural Areas across King County. This is also being done in a way that sidesteps the long-accepted GMA process as a venue for all stakeholders to be heard in debates on urban growth vs rural preservation and potentially sets a dangerous statewide precedent.
what you can do
FoSV’s position is that urban uses cannot be allowed to sprawl across the Rural Areas and the Agricultural Production District (APD) farmlands of King County. Retail and commercial buildings, traffic, parking lots, signage, and outdoor amplified sound and lighting for wine, beer and liquor remote tasting rooms and event centers, are urban uses that do not belong on APD farmland and in the Rural Areas. There is plenty of land for these businesses to operate legally inside of the Urban Areas in the surrounding cities of Woodinville, Redmond, Kirkland and Bothell.
FoSV has set forth detailed changes to King County Beverage Ordinance 2018-0241 in order to eliminate aspects of the ordinance that are most detrimental to farms and rural residents. For a more complete story, read the Rationale for Proposed Beverage Ordinance Changes that FoSV has submitted to the King County Council.
Stay up-to-date & ENDORSE FOSV
Enter your name and email address in the boxes below, and we'll send you an email only when there is something timely and newsworthy going on relative to zoning and development in the Sammamish Valley. And please consider joining the hundreds of people who have publicly endorsed FoSV’s position on the Beverage Ordinance.
Do you own a business or represent an organization that would like to endorse FoSV’s common sense position on the King County Beverage Ordinance? We would love to add you to the growing list of endorsements.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
Tell the King County Council you support FoSV's position by clicking the button above and sending them an email.
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Make a donation
Please donate to Friends of Sammamish Valley to support our efforts to protect the Valley and the rural areas of King County from urban commercialization on protected rural and agricultural land. 100% of your contribution will fund our outreach to members of the community, local businesses, and elected officials to educate everyone about the negative impacts the proposed beverage ordinance will have on the Sammamish Valley - and to work with the King County Council to find an alternative approach.
other ways to get involved
Spread the word. A concise overview with helpful maps (click here to open the PDF in a separate window) can be shared with friends and neighbors to quickly get them up to speed.
Send us your questions and comments. We're anxious to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.