Vision Statement: Our community's Rural Character will be supported by facilitating strong local ties and communication between the public, organizations, and government; promoting locally owned businesses and supporting quality education; protecting the environment, and maintaining landowners' rights and responsibilities; promoting controlled and well-planned growth with appropriate infrastructure; ensuring proper representation for rural interests and needs; and supporting the health and safety and the privacy of our vibrant community.

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About the Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council

The Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council (GMVUAC) is an all-volunteer, locally elected advisory body to the King County Council. All members reside in the unincorporated portion of Tahoma School District #409 (see Service Area Map). The Area Council represents and advocates with King County state officials and other organizations for our unincorporated area's citizens' interests. Regular meetings occur on the first Monday of each month. (Read more ....)


May Meeting

The Area Council will hold its regular monthly meeting on Monday, May 5, from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM at the Maple Valley fire station (SE corner of intersection of SE 231st St & SR-169).

All members of the public are invited to attend. During the Public Comment period at the start of each meeting, members of the public can address the Area Council on any local issue. 

Current News

Landsburg Mine Cleanup Plan

On December 12, 2013, the Area Council submitted comments to the State Department of Ecology (DOE) regarding its Landsburg Mine Cleanup Action Plan.

Several months were spent reviewing the Consent Decree between State and the Personal Liable Parties (PLPs) involved in the dumping of toxic materials in various mine seams in Landsburg over many years.

The plan includes groundwater treatment with infrastructure facilities at the north and south portal areas to contain, treat, and dispose of contaminated groundwater should it be detected at the Site.

However, the Area Council identified several issues to DOE. While there is monitoring, there is no specific system to resolve issues, if a fracture to the system occurs. Groundwater will be monitored-indefinitely. Indefinitely does not necessarily mean “in perpetuity.” Courts have interpreted indefinitely to mean “temporary.”

The Area Council also expressed to DOE concerns that monitoring might end and facilities to contain contaminated groundwater can fail. DOE and the PLP’s have set up a system that assumes nothing will escape the seam and migrate to private wells. PLP’s are freed, if they go out of business, as such, there appear to be no protections set in place to ensure permanent protection. This is considered a serious flaw in the plan.

Read GMVAC's comment letter on this issue here.

Master-Planned Development in Covington

On August 26, 2013, the Area Council submitted a detailed set of comments on the City of Covington’s Northern Gateway Study Hawk Property Subarea Draft Planned Action Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The Hawk Property Subarea encompasses approximately 212 acres located in the northern portion of the City of Covington. It abuts SR-18 on its northwest boundary. It contains both land within the city limits and land in unincorporated King County. The subarea directly abuts the Area Council’s southwest boundary just west of Cedar Creek Park.

Three Alternatives are under consideration: Alternative 1 or “no action” maintains the status quo--gravel pit and Tar Plant. Alternative 2 would add 1,000 homes and 680,000 sq ft of commercial development. Alternative 3 would add 1,500 homes and 850,000 sq ft of commercial development. Both Alternatives 2 and 3 would be Master Planned Developments (MPDs).

In conducting its review the Area Council tasked four of our standing committees--Flood Control/Surface Water Management (Chair: Warren Iverson); Natural Resources/Parks (Chair: Les Dawson); Growth Management (Chair: Peter Rimbos); and Transportation (Chair: Susan Harvey)--to address key aspects of the DEIS. Each committee specifically evaluated potential impacts on our constituents, as well as the mitigations proposed to alleviate such impacts.

Among several issues addressed in Area Council comments Transportation has the most impact on our constituents, yet possessed insufficient proposed mitigation.

A Final EIS was released in November 2013 that addressed some of the Area Council's concerns, but still was grossly insufficient in identifying and mitigating potential traffic impacts. A Public Hearing was held before the Covington City Council in January 2014. The Area Council provided further comments. Nevertheless, on January 28, 2014, the Covington City Council passed the Ordinance approving the development. Read GMVAC's written testimony here.

2013 Ballot and Citizens' Survey

The 2013 Ballot and Citizens' Survey mailed in February to all rural unincorporated area residences located within the Area Council's coverage area — the Tahoma School District minus the City of Maple Valley — are being received and tallied. The one-page survey includes questions on King County services, transportation, land use and permitting, and levies and taxes. Space is available for written comments. Also included is a brief ballot section for Area Council elections.

Newly elected members in all four of or Community Areas were: Rhys Sterling, Lorraine Blacklock, and Craig Duckering in Hobart; Todd Mitchell in Francis; Sue Neuner, Charles Meis, and Anne Meis in River Heights; and Craig Duckering and Rhys Sterling, who were seated in Ravensdale to fill two of its three open positions. Re-elected in the following Community Areas were: Warren Iverson in Hobart; Steve Heister and Peter Rimbos in Francis; and Susan Harvey in Ravensdale.

The Area Council expresses its thanks to all who take a moment to fill out and mail back their surveys. The Area Council has held such elections since its inception. Citizen surveys have been conducted for over 13 years to gain an understanding of citizen opinions on issues of importance to our rural area. A summary of survey responses will be posted on this website and in local newspapers. These results will also be shared with our King County and state officials. Results will be shown as percentages of total votes cast.

Click here for 2009 results.

Click here for 2013 results.

King County Unincorporated Area Roads

King County Department of Transportation (KCDOT) instituted a new “Tiered Level of Service” in 2012. With revenues projected to be insufficient to sustain the preservation and maintenance of the entire county road system, KCDOT has prioritized which roadways will be serviced to keep them in working order, while allowing other roadways to deteriorate due to lack of maintenance and preservation. As a result, the "Tiers" are:

Tier 1 — “spine” of the County road system (e.g., Issaquah-Hobart Rd.), 105 mi (7%);
Tier 2 — connectors for Tier 1 roads (e.g., Cedar Grove Rd.), 166 mi (11%);
Tier 3— highly used “local” roads (e.g., Sweeney Rd. SE), 193 mi (12%);
Tier 4 — residential “dead-end” roads, 510 mi (32%); and
Tier 5— local roads having alternate access, 590 mi (38%).

All five Tiers will be addressed when it comes to regulatory compliance and safety considerations, but only the highest tiers for preservation and maintenance. In the greater Maple Valley are,a about 60% of the unincorporated roads are Tier 4 and 5. To see a Map of the Tier classifications for all Unincorporated Area roads, click here.

Master-Planned Developments in Black Diamond

On September 20, 2010, the Black Diamond City Council voted 5-0 to pass an Ordinance approving with conditions two Master Planned Development (MPD) applications submitted by Yarrow Bay in and around the City of Black Diamond. The MPDs total 4,530 single-family and 1,520 multi-family units, for a total of 6,050 dwelling units on 691 acres, and 1,165,000 sq. ft. of commercial and office space, all on the rural/suburban fringe of our southeast corner of King County.

Hearings before the city's Hearings Examiner were held in July 2011 on Development Agreements which provide more detail by phase. These development agreement hearings included oral testimony by many members of the public, organizations, local jurisdictions, and King County government agencies. The Hearing Examiner recommended approval of the development agreements but with 24 "Implementing" conditions added, many of which were proposed by the Public and supported by the Area Council.

Using the Hearing Examiner's recommendations as a basis, the Black Diamond City Council started their development agreement Hearings with Public Testimony in October 2011. The Area Council testified on Rural Area issues. The Public requested many "Supplementary" conditions be added to the MPD Ordinance. The Development Agreements were approved in December 2011 and are currently the subject of litigation.

In September 2012, the first phase (Phase 1A) of the Villages MPD was appealed by a group of citizens. The Hearing Examiner conducted public hearings, during which Area Council members testified specifically about traffic impacts. In December 2012, the Hearing Examiner approved Phase 1A subject to a series of conditions achieved by citizens through the appeal.

The Area Council will continue to monitor the proposed MPDs and the inordinate impacts they will have on SE King County traffic.

Items of Interest

Ravensdale Park

The Area Council and local stakeholder groups have actively participated with King County Parks to achieve a neighborhood friendly plan that maintains a connection to the rural community. Phase 1 upgraded two fields and is complete. Phase 2, begun in mid-2012, will add two multi-purpose fields on the west side of the park, additional parking, restrooms, a concession stand, play structures, an open area, trails, and maintenance facility.

Funding for Phase 2 has been received from the City of Maple Valley with matching funds from the State, plus additional funding from the State. Work will begin in April 2014 with completion by late summer of 2014. See photos above of the Phase 1 finished product.

Ravensdale Community Meadow

The Ravensdale Community Meadow will bring to local residents a multi-purpose recreational area that can be enjoyed by all ages. The Meadow is being developed on the land between the Ravensdale Post Office and the Fire Station and will border on So. 272nd St. on the north and the Ravensdale/Black Diamond Rd. on the east.

The large center portion of this land was cleared and graded in December 2012 with $50,000 funding provided by King County. Existing trees and plants around the edges will remain to provide a shield from the roads and a natural setting. On August 24, 2013, Ravensdale residents held a work party to trim up the trees surrounding the Meadow and clear rocks and small underbrush from the cleared portion. Future plans call for a gravel walking path around the perimeter, a picnic area with two picnic shelters, informal sports areas, and eventually a community center building.

The Ravensdale Park and Ravensdale Community Meadow projects are being managed by the Ravensdale Park Foundation, which consists of local baseball and soccer groups and local residents, with the support of King County. We can all be very proud of this contribution to a productive and working neighborhood park and community meadow.

Reserve Silica

Reserve Silica's 2011-2012 attempts to re-zone its resource property to Rural Resident RA-10 has been withdrawn and the lands will retain their minerals/mining land-use designation and zoning.

Reserve Silica's requests was submitted through the 2012 Major 4-Yr Update to the King County Comprehensive Plan (KCCP). The Area Council opposed this change in both oral and written testimony to the King County Council. Instead the Area Council supported conversion from mining to forestry designation so as to be compatible with the surrounding Forest Production District zoning.

In December 2012, the King County Council, through an amendment to the KCCP, voted to allow Reserve Silica to come back to the KCCP Committee in 2013 to propose a residential clustered development "demonstration project" on up to 50 acres of their 402-acre property. If such a proposal is brought forward, it will be evaluated as part of the 2013 interim KCCP review process. The Area Council is monitoring this very closely and remains wary of such precedents being set.