Friends of Marymoor Park

September 24th, 2003 Meeting Summary

-- see also the August 2003 meeting summary


King County has proposed some changes to the zoning for Parks and has proposed the definition of a new zoning designation - Large Active Recreation and Multi-use Park (LARMUP)- a designation that will probably be applied to all or part of Marymoor Park.

State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) review of the proposed ordinance has resulted in a Determination of Non-Significance, not surprising since the proposed ordinance is "programmatic" (that is, since it only defines a new term, and does not yet associate that term with any particular property, it doesn't do anything that could harm the environment).  Comments on the DNS were due September 29, 2003.

This new zoning category allows the "new way of doing business" that is the goal of KC Parks.  Greg Helland commented that it "doesn't, strictly speaking, change anything - it just formalizes it."

However, concerns were raised at the meeting:

  • There are few limits to development size and extent.  Rental shops, retail shops, and restaurants are individually restricted in area, but there is no aggregate limit, numerical limit, or percentage of area limit on these buildings.  There is no limit on either the individual or aggregate size of amusement, camping, RV park, or concert facilities. The result of adoption of this new zoning designation could therefore be large-scale commercial development of shops, restaurants, and amusements on all of what had been a park.

  • Public Hearings would not be required; Public Meetings would instead be used for comments on new projects under this zoning.  Barbara Dickson was concerned that the county would not be required to notify neighbors.  Experience with the public meetings on the proposed ordinance itself would appear to validate her fears - attendees were not even aware that the meetings were supposed to be about a zoning change.

  • Projects would be considered individually and in isolation; there is no longer a master plan system for managing development within a park.  There are, apparently, no guidelines or plans at all, with projects being dealt with on an opportunistic basis.  Norah did state that they are moving somewhat away from simply having people come to them with proposals and towards active solicitation (via RFQs [request for qualifications] and RFPs [request for proposal]) for new Parks-initiated projects.  Greg proposed that a community-based organization (i.e. FOMP) be involved in the development of binding guidelines for each LARMUP.  These guidelines would be general in nature, but would set limits on the quantity of certain kinds of development as well as restricting the possible locations.  Barb advocated for these guidelines to be akin to micro-zoning within the park.

More information about this proposed ordinance, and a FOMP response penned by Greg Helland,  can be found on the Zoning page.

NOTE - The Natural Resources and Parks Committee of the King County Council will be taking up this proposed ordinance at a special meeting on October 9th.  Greg encouraged all interested members to comment to the Council.

2003 CONCERT SERIES WRAP-UP - Norah Gaynor

There were 16 concerts, and things generally went very well. It rained on only 1 show (the sold-out Norah Jones show, with thunder and lightning).

There was a mid-September meeting to discuss issues - about 30 people attended.

  • There were still a lot of concerns about sound.

  • Only the Norah Jones concert was a problem with traffic.

  • Some neighbors really enjoyed the concerts

  • One "anti-WOMAD" neighbor expressed fewer concerns with the concert series than she'd had with WOMAD.

  • The County is looking for funding for an acoustic engineer to evaluate new techniques to reduce noise.  The concert series is not currently in violation of noise laws or contract clauses.

  • Overall revenue was $269,000 (budgeted revenue was $300,000).

  • The concert promoter is currently looking to book fewer acts than were booked in 2003 (20+ acts were booked this year).


Norah mentioned a couple of possible future events at Marymoor.

For 2004, Marymoor might host a dessert festival, with dessert booths, music, etc.  It would be like the dessert section of Bite of Seattle.

At some point in the future, Marymoor might host a beer festival, featuring microbrewery booths with small sample cups of beer, plus some food and music and more.  This would be a family event, though of course only adults would be allowed to drink alcohol.  Norah stated firmly that the booths would be manned by trained employees of the microbreweries, not by temp. workers, and that the microbreweries would strictly adhere to liquor laws since their licenses were critical to their continued operations.  Drunkenness has not been a problem at this event's current location.

Norah was actively seeking responses to this idea.   Certainly a couple of people in attendance felt that this event might not be appropriate for Marymoor, or that it might cause problems (such as people driving home drunk).  However, judging by other reactions, several people thought it sounded rather fun.


Michael Hobbs asked about the once-proposed connecting path(s) which would have connected the grass soccer fields (and erstwhile concert series parking) with the Community Gardens.  Such a path would be useful for birdwatchers, especially Michael's weekly bird survey which for years has included the gardens in his loop, especially in the fall.  Gardens rep. Jack MacKinnon expressed guarded support for such a connection, as long as there was a swinging gate to discourage casual use.  Michael and Jack will pursue the possibility.

The next meeting will be October 22.

These notes were made by the webmaster, Michael Hobbs, and they do not constitute an official record of the meeting.  They may have inaccuracies and omissions.  If anyone has any complaints about the content of these notes, they should direct them to Michael Hobbs at, and he will endeavor to correct them.


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