Tuesday, April 5, 2016
By Evan Smith
Progress on the proposed Point Wells project keeps getting slower.
A Snohomish County planning official said Monday that the county expects to release its draft environmental impact statement for the project in July rather than in June as reported here a month ago.
After the county releases the draft statement there will be a 45-day period for comments before officials start work on a final environmental impact statement.
County Planner Ryan Countryman said that the draft statement won’t have information about developer BSRE’s response to a request for plans to meet a requirement for a second road to and from the proposed condominium development.
Developer BSRE has proposed building 3,081 condominium units along with 125,000 square feet of retail and commercial space on the industrial site in southwest Snohomish County across the King-Snohomish county line from Richmond Beach. The site is within the urban growth area of the Town of Woodway in southwest Snohomish County.
After the comment period, contractors working for the county planning department will write the final environmental impact statement, something that Countryman expects by the end of 2017.
To write the final environmental impact statement, Countryman says, planners need the developer to respond to requests for several pieces of information.
He said that the developer still hasn’t replied to questions about the correct number of condominium units, the correct number of parking spaces and a second road.
The only way into and out of Point Wells is by a two-lane road, Richmond Beach Drive NW in Shoreline, a road that crosses the King-Snohomish County line into the southwest corner of Woodway before reaching Point Wells.
Snohomish County’s fire code requires at least two ways into and out of any large residential development.
Once county planners have the final environmental impact statement, they can make a recommendation to a Snohomish County hearing examiner for planning and zoning matters.
Countryman said in February that, without the missing information, county planners could not recommend approval of the project.
The hearing examiner will consider written and oral testimony before deciding whether to approve the plan, reject the plan, approve the plan with conditions, or remand it to the Snohomish County planning department for further revisions.
Approval with conditions could include asking for a smaller development.
A hearing examiner’s decision can be appealed to the Snohomish County council, with a possible further appeal to the Snohomish County Superior Court.
In addition to getting a permit from Snohomish County, the developer needs to get approval from the state Department of Ecology of an environmental cleanup on the site, which for decades has been used for petroleum shipping and storage. The operator of the oil facilities has yet to start the cleanup process.
Also, the project needs approval from a county design review board.
Evan Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.