A rendering shows the City of Kenmore’s proposed renovations to the ballfield at St. Edward State Park. City of Kenmore / Submitted art

State parks commission schedules meeting on St. Edward ballfields

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will meet on Jan. 26 to hear a report on the current status of the St. Edward State Park ballfield lease and improvement proposal by the City of Kenmore.

No action will be taken, but members of the public are welcome to attend and will have an opportunity to provide comment. The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Jan. 26 at Hampton Inn and Suites, 4301 Martin Way in Olympia.

The city plans to renovate the existing ballfield to a new public sports field. The new field would accomodate two little league baseball fields, two youth soccer fields, one full-size soccer field and one full-size cricket field.

Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey said there haven’t been any changes made to the proposal since the city presented the information to the commission last year, and he added that he thinks the commission will likely vote on the matter at its March meeting.

More information about the project can be found online at www.kenmorewa.gov/athletic-field-saint-edward.

Invalid ordinance

The State of Washington Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) has declared City of Kenmore Ordinance 16-0418, which is related to the ballfield renovations, does not comply with the Growth Management Act (GMA).

The ordinance has been declared invalid by the GMHB due to inadequate documentation of the best available science in the amendments, and it has been remanded to the city for action to comply with the GMA. Compliance is due May 30, and a telephonic compliance hearing will be held on the matter at 10 a.m. July 17.

The ordinance was adopted by the Kenmore City Council on March 28. It makes changes to the Public Agency Utility Exception (PAUE) to the city’s Critical Areas Regulations in Kenmore Municipal Code 18.55.

The GMHB issued their decision on Nov. 28 after a group of citizens (John Hendrickson, Rebecca Hirt, Judith Finn, Ann Anderson, Elizabeth Mooney, Ann Hurst and Janet Hays) petitioned the board for review on May 31. The petitioners raised concerns about the PAUE amendments being motivated by desires to expand the ballfields at St. Edward State Park, a project they believe will do environmental harm.

“The ballfield issue did speed it up,” Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey said at the March 28 council meeting before the ordinance was approved. “Preliminarily, it looks like we’ll have little to no (environmental) impact (on the wetlands) with the ballfield.”

Since March 28, Karlinsey said they found out the proposed renovated ballfields would not be located in wetlands, only in wetland buffer areas.

“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet,” Karlinsey said last week, adding that only being in a wetland buffer area changes what the city needs to do to mitigate the environmental impact to the park.

For the St. Edward ballfields project, he said they would be pursuing a wetland variance, which has strict guidelines and aggressive mitigation, but he wasn’t sure if they would continue to pursue amendments to the PAUE.

More information about the case can be found on the GMHB website at gmhb.wa.gov/CaseDetail.aspx?cid=1656.

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