Point Wells update

Sunday, September 2, 2012

BSRE Architect's conception of Point Wells development
By Jack Malek

The Growth Management Hearings Board met over the summer to hear Snohomish County's request for an extension to the compliance deadline of April 25, 2012. At that hearing were the following parties of record: Save Richmond Beach (SRB), the Town of Woodway, and the City of Shoreline as "Petitioners"; the Tulalip Tribes as "Friends of the Court"; Blue Square Real Estate Developer (BSRE) as "Intervenor"; and Snohomish County as "Respondent."

The Petitioners (SRB, et al) argued that Snohomish County's efforts appear focused on facilitating the BSRE project and not on the more important task they are charged with, and that is for their plan to comply with the Growth Management Act (GMA) and with the State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA). The Petitioners requested the Board impose sanctions, but they were denied.

The Growth Management Hearings Board did however make the following statement that recognized the Petitioners concerns:

"The Board has little sympathy with [Snohomish] County's six-month, front-end delay while the County sought to ensure that the BSRE application was vested. In the Board's view, this dispute is about more than filling out the right paperwork to pass SEPA and GMA muster. All the parties anticipate that real people - perhaps thousands - will live at Point Wells. Their on-the-ground demands for roadways and other facilities and services must be realistically anticipated and resolved, without imposing gridlock on their neighbors. The Board understands [that] necessary decision-making takes time, but the County remains in non-compliance until it brings its Plan into accord with the Board's FDO [Final Decision and Order]."

A six month extension was granted to Snohomish County, and this past August, Snohomish County presented a revised plan for the area, changing the designation from "Urban Center" to "Urban Village."

By its present definition, an Urban Village is smaller than an Urban Center, is less dense, and requires that the Village be located next to a principal arterial road. While this sounds like progress, the County is simultaneously working to change the definition of an Urban Village to allow for greater size and to remove the requirement that a Village be next to a principal arterial road. 

The end result seems little more than a name change with no substantial gains towards solving the traffic issues and complying with the GMA and SEPA.

Snohomish County continues their effort to appeal King County Superior Court's December 2011 decision that prevented BSRE from vesting and building. If the decision is successfully appealed, BSRE's Urban Center project application would then be vested, and they could resume their original project of 3000+ condominiums. This hearing is expected to occur in mid to late November, 2012.

To support SRB’s efforts, become a member.
Useful Websites:
Calendar of upcoming events:
  • October 24, 2012 - Compliance with GMA and SEPA Due
  • November 7, 2012 - Compliance Report/Statement of Actions Taken to Comply and Index Compliance Record
  • November (TBD) - King County Court of Appeals Hearing
  • December 6, 2012 - Comp


Tom Jamieson,  September 3, 2012 at 8:22 PM  

Richmond Beach already has a definite sense of place. People come down to Richmond Beach. It is a frequent destination for many throughout Shoreline, and for people from neighboring communities. They don't stop there on their way anywhere. They go there to be there...for the quiet, for the view, for the sunsets, for the salt air. Some park their cars alongside the quiet road for ten or fifteen minutes , to enjoy a brief respite from their otherwise hectic day. Skateboarders slalom down the deep westbound streets, fearless. Kids stand on the bridge to Apple Tree Lane, waving at the Sounder or the Amtrack or the freight passing underneath. A rebel bus driver dismounts his steed at the terminal stop, and feeds the seagulls, glancing occasionally over his shoulder, hoping not to get caught. Though it has no promenade of a Seaside, Oregon, or waterfront amenities of a Kirkland, people and pets of all ages walk the scenic stretch from Saltwater Park past the cute little bungalows at the bottom of Richmond Beach Road, up over the curved berm to Point Wells. As unexpected as the Seattle Underground, is The historic Cabin, a reminder of Richmond Beach's birth, of the early days of James J. Hill's Great Northern Railroad, where locals now stop to wet their whistle, watch the game, and chat or shoot pool with their friends and neighbors. Along the beach, at the north end of Point Wells, the less prominent 'Peter Point' is a destination for dozens of gay, nude sunbathers who, every summer, trespass daily the BNSF right-of-way , and flout the Homeland Security defense of Point Wells, to pitch their 'tents' and catch some Rays under an open, tower-less blue sky. Richmond Beach could not have been designed. It emerged. That is its charm. For all the commotion over Point Wells's indisputable impact to traffic and safety, its impact to Richmond Beach as an evolved public realm, the impact to Richmond Beach's sense of place, has been ignored.

Anonymous,  September 3, 2012 at 10:31 PM  

What a wonderful comment! I agree completely! (although I didn't even know about the nude beach! HA HA!)

I wonder when the "Richmond Beach deserves it folks" will start their commenting though??? Those folks amaze me with how they practically wish for the worst to happen to the Richmond Beach area and the families who live there.

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