NEAR CARNATION, Wash. - Each year about this time and for the next several months, farmer Erick Haakenson keeps a close eye on the sky. He farms the Snoqualmie flood plain and knows he won't have much time when the next one begins.
For more than 20 years, Haakenson and his Jubilee Farms have been on flood watch. He has raised his buildings, and built berms for his equipment and cows when the next one hits. It's an accepted risk on the plain but he worries plans for a failed golf course nearby will raise his flood risks.
"A development will increase the amount of storm water that will go into the valley during flooding, it will increase flooding," said Haakenson as he watched his hungry cows chow down in the barn.
Developers want to divide the hillside above Tall Chief Golf Course into 18 lots for homes with acreage and turn the lower 40 acres into farmable land. They say they can design the development to capture storm water and hold until after the storm passes, and create a farm-like atmosphere for buyers who want to plant food on their large lots.
Peter Hayes, a broker representing the golf course owner, told King 5 he doesn't trust the farmers' arguments against the project. He said what they are really worried about is competition from whoever buys the 40 acres of new farmland.
Haakenson held his criticism of the developers and said he was sad to see his friend and neighbor who owns the golf course, go out of business. But he said living and farming on the plain has enough flood risks as it is and he isn't willing to increase it for the sake of 18 new neighbors.
A county hearings officer is considering both sides of the argument before issuing a ruling on a critical permit for the project.