Farming in the Sammamish Valley
The Sammamish Valley Agricultural Production District (APD) is one of the most fertile valleys in the country. If farmed to full potential, the Valley could annually supply local, organic vegetables to 80,000 people, at a value of $54 million. These sustainable, high yields are essential as climate change decreases yields in the Midwest and California.
The proposed Adult Beverage Ordinance undermines the efforts of dozens of hard working farmers in the Valley, works at cross purposes to well-established land use regulations, and is totally counterproductive to multiple King County initiatives supporting local farming with taxpayer dollars.
The Ordinance allows for commercial development on top of the Valley’s steep-sloped, environmentally sensitive KC SO-120 Ag Buffer Overlay area. The RA Buffer and the APD are an integrated environmental ecosystem. Development in the RA Buffer damages the adjoining farmlands with sediment-laden, toxic, and overheated water runoff from impervious and compacted surfaces. Groundwater flow is also degraded by commercial activity which exceeds the capacity of residential septic systems.
Land use speculation pushes out the farmers. Farmland in the Valley’s APD, when sold for farming, is typically priced at $15k-35k per acre. Recently several parcels have sold for as much as $850k per acre and another was on the market for $1.6m per acre – with intention for uses other than agriculture.
Farmers will be put out of business. Additionally, these farmers support a broad ecosystem of local restaurants, chefs, foodbanks, and landscaping companies that will be harmed by the Ordinance.
Commercial development of Rural Area and APD lands goes against many taxpayer-funded KC efforts to support locally sourced food, including the Local Food Initiative, the Farmland Preservation Program, Puget Sound Fresh, Farm King County, and the Land Conservation Initiative.
The WA State Growth Management Act (GMA) mandates that King County protect the County’s Rural Areas and APDs. The Ordinance allows for commercial development throughout KC Rural Areas and will negatively impact not only the Sammamish Valley APD but the other KC APDs as well.
Please visit FoSV’s Take Action page to learn how you can protect farming in the Sammamish Valley.