Dollars & Sense: Whither Woodinville?

With surrounding cities poised for development, will Woodinville be left behind?


Buying local is important for many reasons. One is keeping sales tax here to help pay for needed local services. Less local business means less local sales tax which can bring unwanted tax increases on our homes and property.

That's why all around us the competition for local retail sales is fierce.

Redmond has completed its new downtown core. Kirkland is going vertical with multiple high-rise towers off the lake. Bothell couldn't move the river, so it's moving downtown to a new waterfront. Even Duvall has authored a recent renaissance.

This leaves one question: whither Woodinville?

The question is more complex than appearances or extreme voices would have you believe. We have at least three separate retail areas, transportation challenges, parking problems, empty storefronts, limited government resources, nearly 2 million tourists, a schizophrenic civic personality, a poor regional reputation, and, except for Woodinville Way Commercial Center and Hilltop Center, virtually no new development in the last decade. And that's just within the city limits.

So I ask you, yes or no, whither Woodinville? And most importantly, how best do we plan ahead?

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Al Taylor April 03, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Like the wine that is manufactured here, Woodinville's success requires patience and time to prepare--short cuts will adversely affect the end product. I don't recall anyone ever raving about a big box wine or extolling a vanilla city like Lynnwood. Take your time Woodinville, please, take your time!
Sharon Peterson April 03, 2012 at 11:57 PM
The City of Woodinville and the City Council are actually doing the right due diligence by planning zoning and growth carefully. I echo Al Taylor that we DO NOT want "another Lynnwood" with big box stores everywhere. Studies like the Sustainable Development study, the careful wine district and downtown zoning planning and the fact that the City won a 7-year battle with a developer at the WA State Supreme Court level which gives it the right to self-determination are helping to set the city up well to foster growth in the right way (instead of sloppy, urban sprawl.) I applaud leaders like Jeff Glickman, Mayor Bernie Talmas, and Susan Boundy-Sanders who think about the long-term future. I encourage the city's leadership -- both staff and Council -- to make sure Ordinance 532 is written in a way that respects what the citizens have clearly stated re: how growth should occur so that areas of "country living" in Woodinville remain truly that while the downtown is transformed into a bustling, modern environment in the way the new downtown master plan has set forth. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day either!
evb April 06, 2012 at 07:09 AM
That actually gives me hope. I like it when towns/cities keep the character intact, creating a walkable downtown with unique stores and preserving old buildings when it makes sense.
Randy Koetje April 10, 2012 at 03:01 AM
The downtown plan has been in work for over eight years, no positive results yet. Residential construction does not exist. The city has failed to embrace the wine culture, agricultural and rural community just beyond its borders; officials often state that non city residents “don’t count”. The city prefers the status quo, a “not in my back yard” approach. When I cast my vote to become a city I did so with the understanding that we as a unified community would BUILD something meaningful. Instead we are a city in conflict, with limited resources that are disproportionately spent on “protecting” the R1 at the expense of the R4 and R6 zones, and a hope that multifamily housing downtown is the only option for meeting growth targets. What we observe is a process run amok, with unlimited schedule and wasted budget. The city must start making decisions as a unified community. We must engage the non R1 residents who represent a 2/3rds majority. City elected officials need to be visionaries that are effective in formulating end results, without getting bogged down with every minor detail. Like any successful business, the Council should establish a scope, schedule, budget and expectations for every assigned task. The City Manager should insist on this!
Jeff Thomas April 10, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Insightful analysis, Randy - from where does our leadership come?


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