Ball fields might get legislative reprieve

Two Snohomish Little League teams may not be called “out” at the end of May after all.

The North Snohomish Little League and the South Snohomish Little League have been using ball fields that were built without permits on farmland. The two groups face a May 31 deadline to get permits for their facilities.

If the backstops, bleachers and other field amenities are still up after the deadline, the leagues face fines of $250 a day.

Local leaders, however, are hoping to get a bill passed in Olympia that would let the illegal ball fields stay.

Although five bills were proposed this year, only one – sponsored by Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish – looks like it has a chance of making it out of the dugout and going to a vote.

But that bill will require ball-field owners who want their sports fields grandfathered under the zoning requirements to register with the county, which would then designate those properties for recreation.

That may lead to a time crunch, with the leagues and the county unable to wrap things up by the end of May.

Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon said that might not mean the game is over, though, if the legislation passes.

“Certainly, I’ll consider an extension to that deadline,” Reardon said.

Neither league has yet asked for the deadline to be extended.

It’s a go: The full County Council has approved a consultant contract that was derailed last week on a 2-1 vote.

With the full council at this week’s meeting, a contract to hire a biologist from Waldron Resources to work on county road projects was approved 4-1. The biologist will help the county get permits faster from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Councilman Jeff Sax voted against the contract again. He’s said the county shouldn’t have to pay for help so another government agency can process permits faster.

Trade talk: Miller Shingle Co. wants to swap land with the county. The company has 6.4 acres next to the county’s White Horse Trail, but wants to trade that for a half-acre piece of county property next to the Centennial Trail.

It would be a straight swap, and money wouldn’t change hands if the County Council approves the deal.

The Miller Shingle property has been appraised at $87,000, and the county’s property at $25,000. Both pieces are undeveloped. The county is interested in the Miller Shingle property because it’s next to Highway 530 and may be useful as a parking lot for the White Horse Trail.

Bring it on: The county has changed the rules for the types of trash it will accept at its new solid-waste facilities. Demolition debris, stumpage, land-clearing slash and wood waste can now be dropped off at the county’s garbage disposal sites.

Claim of the week: The State Patrol wants $924 from the county for repairs to the rear bumper of a 2004 Ford Expedition. The state trooper who was driving the vehicle followed a deputy sheriff into a parking lot off Machias Road. The deputy began backing up his vehicle as the state trooper passed behind the county car, and the two collided. The bill covers damages and one day of down time.

Next week: The County Council will get a briefing on the year-end report for the 2004 budget at the council’s next finance committee meeting.

How you can get involved: The meeting is open to the public, and starts at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, in the Jackson Boardroom, sixth floor, county administration building.

Reporter Brian Kelly: 425-339-3422 or

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