4,000 acres added to voter approved Open Space program
StoryIn 2009, King County voters adopted a charter amendment protecting King County’s “Curtain of Green” by providing enhanced protection to more than 150,000 acres of high conservation value property owned by King County. The Metropolitan King County Council has expanded that protection with its adoption of legislation adding 4,000 acres into the County’s High Conservation Value Property Inventory.
“Acquiring open space properties conserves, preserves and protects our natural and scenic resources,” said Council Chair Larry Phillips, co-sponsor of the ordinance. “Not only does it reduce urban sprawl and provide natural corridors in urban areas it also serves to mitigate the effects of human activities that contribute to climate change.”
The Open Space Protection Amendment adopted by voters in 2009 provides additional protection to properties that are of particular value because they provide habitat, wetlands, undeveloped shoreline, creeks or other natural conditions. These high conservation value properties must be owned by the County, either in full or through a conservation easement. The Open Space Protection Amendment makes it more difficult for the County to sell, develop, or otherwise change the use of properties included on the High Conservation Value Inventory.
The legislation adopted by the Council will add approximately 4,000 acres on 225 parcels in natural areas in four Council Districts. The parcels being added are all owned by King County (either in fee or with an easement). Most of them are contiguous to other properties already listed as high conservation value property and all are associated with natural areas that have been identified for conservation purposes.