Point Wells developer told to make major revisions to application

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Original BSRE drawing for Point Wells
Drawing courtesy BSRE

By Evan Smith

Developers of the proposed Point Wells condominium project just north of Richmond Beach in southwest Snohomish County will need to submit a revised proposal.

That's what a Snohomish County planner told developer BSRE Point Wells in a letter dated Tuesday.

County planner Ryan Countryman said in the letter that a revised proposal would have to address several major issues, including building a second road to the site, meeting environmental and landslide protection rules, and providing complete floor plans, parking plans and landscaping plans.

The letter gives the developer six months to make the revisions to plans for the proposal to build 3,081 condominium units along with 125,000 square feet of retail and commercial space on the industrial site, a site that is within the urban growth area of Woodway but on property that the city of Shoreline has identified for future service and annexation.

For now, all work toward a draft environmental impact statement has stopped.

Planner Countryman has told the developer that, without the revisions, the Snohomish County planning department would have to make a recommendation based on the current proposal, a recommendation that probably would be to deny the proposal.

Richmond Beach road leads to lower Woodway
and Point Wells
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Currently, the only road to or from the development is a narrow, two-lane road through the Richmond Beach area of the city of Shoreline in northwest King County. The road, Richmond Beach Drive Northwest in Shoreline, crosses the King-Snohomish County line into the southwest corner of the town of Woodway before reaching Point Wells.

Snohomish County zoning and fire-protection rules require at least two roads to and from any developments of this size.

A Richmond Beach resident working with others to monitor what’s happening at Point Wells, Tom McCormick, said Wednesday that he is pleased to see Countryman’s letter.

"The County has expressed its concerns to BSRE before, but now it’s in writing for the public to see,” he said.

He added that while he is pleased, there are many other issues that need to be addressed, like building height. He said he believes that the county’s rules limit building heights at Point Wells to 90 feet and that the 180-foot buildings planned by the developer should not be allowed.

Point Wells with freighter moored at dock
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Also, he said he believes that the county is wrongly using its relatively weak 2007 landslide hazard rules in assessing what building setbacks from the steep slopes behind Point Wells are required. Under its more protective 2015 post-Oso rules, required setbacks would be up to four times what the old rules require; at one site location, 340 feet instead of 85 feet.

Woodway Town Administrator Eric Faison noted Tuesday that the requested revised application would come close to being a new application, something that would fall under new, more restrictive zoning rules.

A Blue Star Real Estate representative did not respond to a telephone call Wednesday afternoon.

Countryman’s letter to the developer notes that BSRE is operating on its third extension for completing its plans.

Planning for the proposed development has been subject to repeated delays.

A representative of the developer had been quoted in an April 2014 Everett Herald article as saying that he then estimated that completion of the environmental impact statement would come by the end of that year.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.


Anonymous,  November 17, 2016 at 6:09 AM  

It would be nice if developers had the same rules as individuals. Why are they allowed to get extension after extension, missed deadline after missed deadline? They failed to put forward a workable plan and it should be over.

Anonymous,  November 17, 2016 at 12:36 PM  

I drove the road into Woodway just yesterday and wondered what was happening with this project. I'm so pleased to hear that Snohomish County it doing something. I wish it was more; especially in terms of the landslide issue on a site that has already seen them. And the building height is obscene. Hopefully BSRE will decide that makes the whole thing unprofitable and they will choose to end their experiment.

Anonymous,  March 7, 2017 at 11:14 AM  

As a long term Richmond Beach resident I have witnessed two major slides that flowed over the railroad tracks and about 200 feet beyond...The Woodway cliff is less than stable. Also, I saw a previously small creek that was undergrounded wash out 3/4 of the road right of way near the entrance to the proposed development. So planning for catastrophes and limiting the construction of another "City", at point wells, would seem more than prudent.

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