King County To Map Slide Risks: Snohomish Puts Off Development Controls

By Carolyn Adolph

County governments across the region are wrestling with how to deal with development in potential landslide zones. Snohomish county considered a moratorium on development. But it backed away from that proposal Monday morning.

Now King County is beginning its own response to the Oso disaster. King County's landslide hazard map is from the 1990s. It's a flat image that doesn't reveal much about the nature of the risks, or even zoom down to street level.

King County executive Dow Constantine says the county will seek federal funding for an updated map.
John Starbard is director of the department of Permitting. He says an improved map could allow the county to place notices on the titles of houses that are now in slide zones.

He says "if you are a potential buyer of a property, that would be a level of awareness that you don't have now and it likely would cause some follow-up questions from a potential buyer about 'tell me more about this risk'."

Starbard says the county hasn't made a decision about putting notices on titles, but it is among the options being considered. A new map would also give the county information it can apply to new developments.

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