An early history of Grace Cole Nature Park

Key events in the history of the efforts to preserve the land now comprising the Grace Cole Nature Park:


  • Aug. 12: LFP Stewardship Foundation incorporates.
  • Dec. 3: Foundation members appear before City Council, presenting eyewitness and photographic evidence of permit violations by both Rob Hill and George Petrie. Citations are issued soon thereafter. Test pits which are ordered filled on the Hill site as a result of this testimony remain open as of the date of the purchase of Hill’s land by the City.


  • Jan. 22: George Petrie approaches the Foundation with a proposal which would involve building 7 houses on the combined Hill/Petrie lots and the sale of the remaining unbuildable land to the LFPSF. The Foundation declines the offer.
  • Apr. 7: Mr. Petrie submits application to LFP for the purposes of subdividing his property and building three houses on it. LFPSF prepares to oppose the development in public hearings.
  • Sep. 2: after encountering unexpected public opposition for his proposal, Mr. Petrie withdraws his application to build three houses.
  • Sep. 8: Rob Hill is granted a Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance (MDNS) for his proposal to build four houses
  • Sep. 29: LFPSF files an appeal of the Hill MDNS with the City of Lake Forest Park. More information on this case can be found here.
  • Nov. 17: Board of Adjustment hears two cases. In the first, the Foundation’s appeal of the MDNS, the BofA finds for Mr. Hill. The second hearing, covering Mr. Hill’s request for a Reasonable Use Exemption (RUE), draws a large number of citizens opposed to the RUE. So much testimony is presented (the hearings start at 6:00 PM and continue until after midnight) that the hearing is continued until Dec. 8.
  • Dec. 8: further hearings on the Hill RUE. This hearing starts at 7:00 PM and continues until after midnight.


  • Jan. 12: Board of Adjustment finds in favor of granting Mr. Hill’s RUE, with the condition that the state Department of Ecology confirms Mr. Hill’s Wetland delineation.
  • Mar. 29: A joint team from the state Department of Ecology and the Army Corps of Engineers inspects the Hill property in order to verify Mr. Hill’s Wetland delineation. Both the DoE and the Corps submit written opinions to the City stating that Mr. Hill’s wetland delineation, the basis for his RUE, is erroneous.
  • Apr. 5: LFPSF files an appeal of both the MDNS and the RUE in Superior Court of King County. Claudia Newman, of Bricklin and Gendler, is the Foundation’s attorney in the case.
  • Circa June: Amid widespread protests over the LFP Board of Adjustment’s handling of the Hill case, the Board is disbanded.
  • Aug. 31: Proposition 1, which would secure funding for the purchase of open space (including the Hill and Petrie lots) and active parks in LFP, is approved by LFP City Council for the upcoming Novermber election. Grace Cole is a key member of the Prop 1 campaign committee from its inception.
  • Oct. 11: Judge Mary Yu, in Superior Court of King County, finds for the plaintiff (LFPSF) and remands both the MDNS and the RUE back to the City. Neither case is ever re-opened by the City.
  • Nov. 7: Proposition 1 gets a 52% “Yes” vote at the polls, short of the 60% needed to pass the bond measure.
  • Dec. 14: A hearing is held before the LFP Hearing Examiner in which George Petrie applies for a Reasonable use Exemption to build a large house in Sensitive Areas on his property. The proposal was opposed by the Foundation and other concerned citizens on legal and technical grounds. The application was denied. The Foundation’s statement to the Hearing Examiner can be found here; the Examiner’s decision can be found here.


  • Mar. 20: Another Petrie RUE hearing before the Hearing Examiner, this time for a single house. Following testimony from LFPSF and concerned citizens, Mr. Petrie’s RUE is granted with the condition that the footprint of the house (including the garage) not exceed 2500 square feet.
  • Aug. 16: following submission of a grant application written by the LFPSF, King County Executive Ron Sims recommends the granting of $225,000 for land acquisition for, and development of, the Grace and Carl Cole Memorial Nature Preserve. The City of LFP is committed to an equal amount of matching funds, to be obtained from Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) income.


  • Mar. 28: Gov. Gary Locke signs SB 6396, written by Sen Darlene Fairley. This bill includes $400,000 for the Cole Nature Preserve.
  • Jun 19: LFP Mayor David Hutchinson signs purchase and sale agreements for the Hill and Petrie lots.


  • Circa January: LFP City Council changes the official name of the Preserve to the Grace Cole Nature Park.
  • May 5: LFP Mayor David Hutchinson signs purchase and sale agreements for the Madden prroperty, expanding the Cole Nature Park to its original goal of approximately 14.5 acres.


  • September-October: Boardwalk and pond viewing platform are constructed.
  • October 28: Opening day. See photos here.