Changes continue to roll in the Donut Hole

The county will begin closing its Roads Maintenance Facility located at Summit Place, also known as the Donut Hole, this year.

The county will begin closing its Roads Maintenance Facility located at Summit Place, also known as the Donut Hole, this year.

The city and the county are in the final phases of completing the annexation of the Donut Hole property — which is currently part of unincorporated King County — into the city of Maple Valley.

“It’s been sort of an ongoing saga since I was first elected to council nine years ago,” King County Councilman Reagan Dunn said of the Donut Hole.

The Donut Hole is 156 acres of unincorporated land within the urban growth boundary off Kent-Kangley Road Southeast and Southeast 228th Street that is home to nine holes of Elk Run Golf Course, a stand of trees and the county’s 13-acre roads maintenance facility. The county is the owner of the property.

The county and the Tahoma School District are in negotiations for the district to buy 35 acres of the property for the site of the new Tahoma High School.

“We (the county council) are going to be reviewing the final draft of that in the next three months probably, with the hope it (the sale) will close by the end of the year,” Dunn said.

The school board recently approved the schematic designs for the new school and the district is now moving forward with the detailed design work, and plans to break ground next spring.

Additionally, he added, the lease with the golf course was terminated this spring and the property will be vacated by the end of the year.

As for the roads facility, which is owned by the Roads Division within the county, it is likely it will close it two phases, Dunn said.

The first phase will be to close the open gravel pit that is on the site and is known as Summit Pit. Dunn said that roads services is planning to close those operations this October and merge them with the Diamond Pit site.

“Some other services will remain there, probably until next spring,” Dunn said.

The next unknown for the property is how the remaining acreage — after the sale of 35 acres to Tahoma — will be zoned.

“Right now the county is working with the city to determine what the zoning density will be,” Dunn said. “Obviously, the county executive and the roads division who owns it want to see it higher density because that increases the value of the property. My view is that it should be zoned in a way that is consistent with the city’s vision for the property. I think we have an obligation to not pack too much density in there.”

Maple Valley City Manager David Johnston said that the city will be working through it’s vision for the property as part of its comprehensive plan update it is doing over the next year.

“I think one thing that is safe to say is that the current policy that is in place to fill the area with homes will not stay the same,” Johnston said.

Dunn said that he doesn’t believe that the failure of the county’s Proposition 1 in April, which would have helped to fund the county’s transportation programs, had an effect on moving now on closing the Roads Maintenance Facility.

“A chunk of the revenue, not a lot, was designated for unincorporated area roads,” Dunn said. “It wasn’t a substantial amount.”

He added that movement and change in the Donut Hole have been a long time coming.

“I am glad we have been pushing this as hard as we have,” Dunn said.