Redmond clear cutting

To: 48th District Democrats

The old Group Health site, the location of the proposed Overlake – Group Health Development is at the western most gate to the Viewpoint/Idylwood and Overlake Residential Neighborhoods. This land nurtures over 60 healthy Landmark native trees , some believed to be over 250 years old and also approximately 1000 healthy significant 40 + foot tall native firs. It is a true urban forest with native animals, birds, and foliage including award winning and native rhododendrons. This forest also purifies the Carbon Monoxide fumes of cars producing Oxygen that sustains animals, plants and humans, acts as a natural living water retention area, and protects against erosion and landslides on this hill. It is located between 152nd on the West and up the hill to 156th on the East and from NE24th on the South to SR520 on the North. The East edge is along 156th and adjacent to the corner of Bel-Red Road which is the main arterial leading into the Viewpoint/Idylwood neighborhood and onto West Lake Sammamish Pkwy beyond to downtown Redmond. Within approximately 100 yards, of this intersection another smaller arterial(NE24th) enters the Viewpoint/Idylwood neighborhood off 156th , and within a block of this location is another medium arterial that leads along the South border of Redmond along Northup to Lake Sammamish. A small strip of urban forest has been retained on this corner.
THE PROPOSAL is to cut down every tree on the Group Health Development site, whether all at the start, after the sale of the 1st of 13 sections or as they sell each section. They will not be replacing any on the site with the 1 gallon, approximately 1 foot tall, mitigation native trees. They are planning to cover 85% of the forest floor with concrete or buildings. They will erect multiple closely packed buildings that are 7-12 stories tall that will house 1,400 apartments(approx 3,500 people), and 5 commercial office buildings and 1, 180 room hotel/ conference center(approximately 2000+ employees). A small postage stamp grass lawn(approx 300ftx300ft plus a couple of paths) may or may not be provided.

IMPACT OUR IDYLWOOD/OVERLAKE NEIGHBORHOODS??
• CHANGES THE CHARACTER AND VALUE OF OUR “TREE CITY” NEIGHBORHOOD BY CLEAR CUTTING 1,133 LANDMARK and 40 FT +TALL SIGNIFICANT TREES (EVEN THOUGH THE CURRENT CODE RZC 21.72 STATES THAT A MINIMUM OF 35% OF ESTABLISHED NATIVE TREES MUST REMAIN IN NEW DEVELOPMENTS). NO NATIVE PLANT REPLACEMENT IS PLANNED ONSITE.
• CHANGES FROM A QUIET FOREST SETTING TO 85% CONCRETE BUILDINGS, CONCRETE STEPS & WALKWAYS, AND CONCRETE ROADS– LEAVING ONLY 15% PERMIABLE LAND FOR PLANTS, ANIMALS, AND WILDLIFE, THUS INCREASING THE PROBABILITY OF THE INCREASE OF TEMPERATURES AFFECTING THE TEMPERATURE OF THE WATER THAT RUNS INTO THE SALMON STREAMS, AND PROBABLE SITUATIONS OF EROSION AND MUDSLIDES.
• UNDER PROVIDES FOR PARKLAND (WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT BE SET ASIDE) FOR THE LARGE NUMBER OF RESIDENTS AND WORKERS ON THE SITE. THE PLAN NOW ONLY POTENTIALLY PROVIDES FOR A SMALL OPEN SPACE OF APPROXIMATELY 300 X 300 FEET PLUS A FEW PATHS, WHICH WILL ENCOURAGE RESIDENTS TO OVERFLOW TO THE ALREADY OVERBURDENED IDYLWOOD PARK AND THE FEW SMALL LOCAL CHILDRENS PLAYGROUNDS.
• A HUGE INCREASE OF DENSITY AND TRAFFIC CONGESTION DUE TO THE PLAN FOR 1,400 RENTAL APARTMENTS OF 7-12 STORIES TALL; 4-5 COMMERCIAL OFFICES WITH APPROXIMATELY 2000 COMMUTING WORKERS; AND A 12 STORY, 180 ROOM HOTEL/CONFERENCE CENTER WILL CREATE MORE TRAFFIC ALONG NE 156TH, NE 24TH, NORTHUP, NE 40TH, W. LAKE SAMMAMISH PKWY, AND BEL-RED ROAD FROM 156TH TO MARYMOOR AND LAKE SAMMAMISH THROUGH THE VIEWPOINT/IDYLWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD. AND WITH THE REMOVAL OF SUCH A LARGE AMOUNT OF THE CARBON MONOXIDE CAR POLLUTION CLEANSING TREES THERE WILL BE A RISE IN TEMPERATURES DUE TO A LOCAL GREEN HOUSE AFFECT AND A RISE IN CASES OF ASTHMA AND OTHER LUNG PROBLEMS OF NEIGHBORS.
• INCREASES AND OVERCROWD STUDENTS AT LOCAL K-12 SCHOOLS IN BELLEVUE AND REDMOND, CAUSES GENERAL COMMUTER TRAFFIC JAMS AND MORE INSTANCES OF PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

FINDINGS FROM THE TESTIMONY OF OVER 60 RESIDENTS, CONDO ASSOCIATIONS, ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS, LEADERS OF NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPS, AND MEMBERS OF REDMOND CITY COMMITTEES AND COMMISSIONS.
• There is a current Redmond city code RZC 21.72 states that a minimum of 35% of established Native Significant Trees must remain in new developments. This code has been on the books for approximately 20 years in the City of Redmond and has been followed and enforced during this period.
• The charets that the City produced of the GH proposal for inspection and vote by the citizens for their recommendations represented that approximately 35% of the trees would be retained per this code.
• The plans, diagrams, demonstrations and representations made to the Neighborhood Leaders for their approval indicated that the large number of the trees would remain to buffer the harshness of the tall buildings and hardscapes and a larger significant park would be provided
• A number of the Redmond City Committees and Commissions were told that 35% or at least a large number of the landmark trees and significant trees would remain and that a significant park with these trees and/or a series of several linked parks that would be planned around the landmark and significant trees before the plan was approved by them
• The Parks & Trails and Transportation committee testified at a study meeting recently that the Overlake and Viewpoint/Idylwood neighborhoods were already the most underserved neighborhoods as far as parks are concerned.
• The Idylwood Park is already maxed out as far as patrons, parking, and park services.
• Several Certified Arborists said that the trees could live successfully with good health for many years if they were retained in groups and with some supporting bushes or small trees around them.
• There was a former environmental analysis & impact study on the site that included the Retention of 35% of the trees
• There was not an environmental impact study on the site that included a 100% removal of the 1,133 native landmark and significant trees.
• There were repeated complaints on the lack of notice to the citizens of Redmond that there were going to be hearings or extensions of the hearing . Many people still do not know of the proposal to remove 100% of the trees.
• There is a question of whether the City of Bellevue is aware of the impact the proposal will have on them.
• One Council member(a Land Us e Attorney and hearing examiner) voted against the Exemption of the Code for retention of 35% of the trees and removal of 100% of the trees onsite. She stated that she did not believe that the Developers had met the requirements for an exemption from the Code much less an exemption for the removal of 100% of the mature healthy native trees.
WE SUPPORT THE RETENTION OF THE VALUE AND “TREE CITY” CHARACTER OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD BY RETAINING AT LEAST 35% OF THE SIGNIFICANT AND LANDMARK TREES ON THE GROUP HEALTH SITE AT THE ENTRANCE TO OUR NEIGHBORHOOD; CONTROLS ON THE DENSITY AND CHARACTER OF THE SITE; LESS CONCRETE; AND THE RETENTION OF MORE PARK LAND WITH ESTABLISHED NATIVE TREES AND PLANTS FOR BOTH DENSELY PACKED RESIDENTS OF THE SITE AND RESIDENTS OF THE VIEWPOINT/IDYWOOD & OVERLAKE NEIGHBORHOODS THAT ARE UNDERSERVED NOW.

YOURS TRULY,
THE REDMOND VIEWPOINT/IDYLWOOD NEIGHBORS

CONTACT= MARY G. WIRTA

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