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SEATTLE-King County officials voted this week against pursuing additional land restrictions on the county’s timberlands, allowing two new deals to progress that would prevent future residential developments.

Forest owners have recently begun buildings homes and proposing residential developments on areas that have been deemed Forest Protection Districts. The county has tried to prevent this development by placing restrictions on developments in these areas.

However, this week the county decided to toss plans for a proposed ban on home building on newer lots, allowing two major land-preservation deals to progress. Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek, the county’s two largest timberland owners, have agreed not to divide any of their holdings for 18 months in exchange for the city’s agreement not to place restrictions on timberlands.

This deal will keep the majority of timberlands in the county from being divided and sold to individual owners, and allow the two deals to progress. One deal, the Snoqualmie Preservation Initiative, will protect about 3,400 acres of forest north and south of Snoqualmie from home building. The other deal, proposed by the Evergreen Forest Trust, involves the purchase of Weyerhaeuser’s 100,000-acre Snoqualmie Tree Farm for $185 million. The company will pay for the property by issuing tax-exempt bonds and sales from environmentally sensitive logging.

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