Dear Somerset Residents,
With the upcoming 2024 Washington legislative session, a bill potentially threatening to override existing covenants with single-family restrictions may be on the horizon.
Reflecting on recent legislative activities, it's worth noting that during this year’s session, HB1110 was passed, authorizing the construction of multiplexes and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) across most of Washington in an effort to create affordable housing. HB1110 exempted Associations and Common Interest Communities with pre-existing covenants largely due to the advocacy of Innis Arden Club (an HOA), their legal counsel, Peter Eglick (who also represents the SCA), and lobbyist Dylan Doty. They effectively garnered a supportive opinion from former Washington Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge, stating that the legislative invalidation of existing covenants could be unconstitutional.
As the Legislature is now preparing for the 2024 session, this protective stance is met with a differing legal viewpoint from Ted Hunter, a local land use attorney. He stated during a Legislature work session on October 26th that a statute overriding restrictive covenants may likely survive a judicial challenge, depending on the legislative findings based on evidence.
In response to the potential upcoming bill, Innis Arden Club is spearheading the formation of a coalition of larger Associations and communities to collaboratively fund legislative representation opposing the covenant override. The goal is to prevent this potential bill from making it through the legislative process. Additionally, we understand that an override on single-family restrictions could have an effect on our other covenant provisions.
The SCA Board is currently deliberating our participation in this alliance and giving thoughtful consideration to financially supporting these proactive legislative efforts. While we place great importance on protecting our covenants, we would also like confirmation from our members that they support this as an appropriate use of SCA funds. Please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your opinion on or contribute to this matter.
Chloe Chen, CRC Chair, on behalf of the
SCA Board of Directors
From the Washington Emergency Management Division:
Air quality continues to fluctuate throughout the state. Stay indoors as much as possible, try to keep your air indoors as clean as possible and limit outside activities.
This air quality map as of noon, Sept. 8 comes from https://www.airnow.gov/
and this is the site to look for individual air monitors around you:
https://tools.airfire.org/airtools/v1/pnw-smoke.html (both are mobile friendly).
Also, information from state Health & Ecology officials on health impacts of smoke from fires (updated with COVID-19 guidance) https://wasmoke.blogspot.com/
As some of you are certainly aware, on July 20th at approximately 4:30pm there was an electrical discharge from the PSE lines running over Somerset into tree(s) that had been allowed to grow too close to the high-voltage lines. A loud explosive noise caused more than 20 of you to call 911. Several trees and a fence caught fire. Our neighbor, Bellevue City Councilman Conrad Lee, sent us the photo below of what he witnessed from his house.
SCA President Francis Brito and I visited the site on July 31. Francis sent an email that evening to the PSE manager with our concerns and a request for answers. This email has been shared with the City Council, Olympic Pipe line and CENSE. Our focus is to help maintain safety in our Community, especially in this case, neighbors along the PSE corridor. Our requests include that PSE: send an expert in this matter to the site to conduct a comprehensive and detailed review of the entire corridor as it passes across Somerset and provide us a copy of their report, send us a copy of PSE's emergency response procedures and any plans to modify them in response to this incident, send us a copy of the coordinated emergency preparedness plans for the areas where the PSE and Olympic Utilities run within the same corridor through Somerset.
A big thanks to those of you who heard the explosion and called 911! This brought the Bellevue Fire Department to the scene rapidly to extinguish the flames and prevent a much bigger problem. Don’t ever be afraid to call 911 if you see/hear something concerning. The more calls occurring for a given event, the more information 911 is able to provide to emergency responders to help ensure they bring sufficient equipment and are prepared for the scene when they arrive.
Please share this post with your Somerset friends and feel free to send me feedback on this message or other concerns.
Stay safe everyone!
SCA Preparedness Chair
Due to COVID-19 response, the Somerset Preparedness Meeting originally scheduled for Thursday April 23rd, 2020 at Somerset Elementary has been postponed indefinitely.
The March 2020 issue of the Somerset Sun announces this meeting but, unfortunately, went to press prior to this action. We apologize for any confusion. The meeting will be rescheduled once we have an all-clear to plan a safe gathering.