Holmes Point Zoning

Holmes Point Zoning

After four years of close cooperation between FHNA (formerly DCNA), the King County Council, and local residents, during which numerous adjustments were made to accommodate all interested parties, the Council passed the Northshore Significant Tree Ordinance in 1998, and the zoning Holmes Point SDO in 1999.

The Holmes Point zoning SDO retains significant trees and restricts site disturbance when land is developed in the Holmes Point Planning Area. It was passed as an SDO, but implemented by p-suffix zoning, as Ordinance 13576.

Council members Jane Hague and Maggi Fimia, who represented our district at different times, played particularly important roles, as did the King County staff of DDES, who carried out the survey of the factors which justify the legislation.

The ordinance is needed because the Holmes Point bluff along the Lake Washington shoreline is composed mainly of glacial debris, and is particularly prone to erosion from storm water runoffs down the short, steep course of Denny Creek (340 foot vertical drop in 1 1/3 miles). Approximately 60% of the Holmes Point Planning Area is classified by King County as landslide prone, and there have been at least 11 landslides in a recent two year period.

The ordinance aims to reduce the severity and destructiveness of erosion and number of landslides, by retaining large trees and part of the natural vegetation when land is developed, including the more level land at the head waters of Denny Creek. This helps retain water and protects against destructive storm runoff. It also helps maintain the character of Holmes Point, with its wildlife habitats and Class II salmonid bearing stream.

The ordinance allows approximately 2/5ths of an R-4 zoned lot to be cleared completely and covered with impervious surfaces; with a like amount which can be landscaped, with all trees removed except for significant (the largest) trees. The remaining 20 percent of the lot must be left undisturbed. Even so, significant trees can be removed for safety reasons and trimmed for view.

The Holmes Point Planning Area consists of the land south of St. Edwards Park and west of Juanita Drive. South of NE 120th Street, the eastern boundary runs along 80th Avenue NE, and then due south of it to the Lake Washington shoreline.

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