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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Voters approve enhanced protections for King County open space

Summary

More than 156,000 acres of open space land in King County will enjoy extra protection at no cost taxpayers, thanks to a charter amendment vote of the people Tuesday.

Story

More than 156,000 acres of open space land in King County will enjoy extra protection at no cost taxpayers, thanks to a charter amendment vote of the people Tuesday.

By overwhelmingly approving the "Open Space Preservation Act" with roughly 80 percent of the vote after the second day of counts, King County voters provided enhanced protection for high conservation value rural acreage either owned or held in a conservation easement by the county. The rural acreage includes the Raging River Natural Area, the Snoqualmie Forest, Cougar and Taylor Mountains and much more.

"These properties were selected for their high value in safeguarding the county's many natural resources, habitat, recreation opportunities, and rural economy," said King County Executive Kurt Triplett. "The overwhelming voter support shows just how much King County residents care about protecting these lands and the quality of life that they support. It is a tribute to the vision of former Executive Ron Sims, the King County Council, Cascade Land Conservancy and others."

The amendment strengthens protections against the sale or transfer of 96 protected properties by the county, and it permanently preserves the conservation-oriented uses of the lands by precluding any change in the uses allowed at the time of acquisition.

The amendment does not require the purchase of new land. King County already owns the proposed Open Space Amendment-protected land or the development rights to the land, and there are no direct costs associated with the amendment.

Initiated by the Executive, supported by land conservancy groups and rural and urban citizens, the Metropolitan King County Council placed the Open Space Preservation Amendment on the ballot based on the recommendation of the King County Charter Review Commission, a group of citizens appointed to review and recommend changes to the King County Charter every 10 years. The Charter is the basic structural document of the King County government, similar to a constitution.

The King County Council could remove lands from the adopted inventory only by a supermajority of seven affirmative votes out of the nine council members. A supermajority vote would likewise be required to add lands to the list, such as recently acquired conservation lands.



King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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