County does not treat landowners fairly in negotiations

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letters

I am writing to draw attention to a road project in Snohomish County and that some are being threatened by the Snohomish County public works to guide us through the important domain process.

The project would remove the cul-de-sac at 43rd Avenue SE and 188th St SE, widen the street and open it up into an urban thoroughfare that will serve as a thoroughfare for commuters from 156th to Maltby Road. Most people will probably love this idea as it creates a much-needed alternative route to the freeway. It’s a nightmare for the people who live on the audibly demarcated portion of 43rd Street.

For decades we have lived in our quiet rural cul-de-sac. Since 2005, when the county last changed the SW Urban Growth Area (SWUGA) boundary, our neighborhood has been surrounded by urban growth in the form of over 300 new homes and North Creek High School with all the blinding field lights and school noise Activities and games until late in the evening.

Public Works claims the new street will transform from an urban thoroughfare into a rural thoroughfare once it crosses the border at 188th. That means the county plans to build part of the new road to urban transit standards and part to rural transit standards, and somehow connect them at the SUGA boundary. Nobody can explain exactly how this is supposed to work.

About a year ago, some of the residents of 43rd Ave SE began receiving bids for the land the county needs for the project. These offerings represent less than a third of our land’s value, and the county refuses to show us how they arrived at these estimates. The county also requires that we pay our own attorneys and appraisals and show them how we arrive at our counteroffers. This month they are threatening me and some of my neighbors with significant domains, while others have yet to receive their first offer.

This project is a disaster and Snohomish County’s public works guidelines are taking a toll on me and my neighbors. We are demanding fair evaluation and compensation for our attorneys and opinions awarded for the Sound Transit acquisitions in Snohomish County.

Snohomish County’s taxpayers will most likely foot the bill for several significant domain cases, and the project will be delayed by another year or more. Is this really how taxpaying Snohomish County citizens should be treated?

Martha Baldwin

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