By Kent Larsen
Seattle Zoning Battle Shifts to Washington State Legislature
OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON -- Opponents of a King County, Washington plan that
would limit the size of churches and public schools in the county's rural
areas have launched a new effort to stop the plan. Last week the county
council put a 10-month moratorium on the building of new churches and
schools in the county's rural areas, as a temporary compromise so that the
county executive's plan to limit building size could be studied. Now, a
state legislator has introduced a bill that would block the county from
limiting building size.
Washington State House Representative Joyce Mulliken introduced the measure
with the support of the Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, and other opponents of the county's anti-growth plans.
However, Mulliken admits that her measure isn't likely to pass. The state
legislature is evenly split among Democrats and Republicans, and Mulliken, a
Republican, doesn't have the support of the Democrats.
County Executive Ron Sims last year proposed that new buildings be limited
to no more than 10,000 square feet to stop what he calls "the
suburbanization of rural King County." Environmentalists backed the plan.
But the Catholic, Lutheran and Mormon Churches in the county objected to
Sims' plan, as did the interfaith Church Council of Greater Seattle, arguing
that the ban would prevent them from serving a growing rural population.
Mormon News' analysis indicates that the Church has at least 13 stakes in
the county, with probably more than 100 wards and branches. However, the
number of congregations in rural King county is not known.
Bill would prevent county from limiting church size
Seattle WA Times 20Feb01 T1
By Eric Pryne: Seattle Times staff reporter