Raymond Ridge Q&A
The following is a Q&A with city staff about the Raymond Ridge housing project off of Goat Trail Road in response to letters and Kristin Kirk’s Guest View column “Not all growth is good,” which were printed in The Beacon on April 4. Kevin Stoltz, of the Mukilteo City Council, provided the questions.
As an introduction to the Q&A, the city’s Planning and Community Development Department Director Heather McCartney and Assistant Director Patricia Love have also provided The Beacon with some information on the project’s history and overall process. –Ed.
Development of the preliminary plat for Raymond Ridge was approved in 2007. The plat was later sold to a well-known developer. In the economic downturn, it went back to the bank.
Approved preliminary plats are generally large, vacant pieces of land with one single-family home to be demolished. They are for “fill-in developments” around other existing developments.
The preliminary plats can be developed over six years, and the Legislature recently added an additional year, so they have up to seven years.
During the preliminary plat process, the developer designs what the plat is going to be like, including how big the lots are going to be. At this phase, the public is invited comment on the project at a public hearing.
The next phase includes removing all of the trees and installing all of the site improvements.
When all of the site improvements have been installed, including utilities and roads, the plat will then go through the final platting process, which includes acceptance by the Mukilteo City Council. This will probably occur sometime between September and December of this year. The developer can then start building houses.
The city has a simplified form of transfer of development rights for critical areas, such as Native Growth Protection Areas (NGPA). This means that the owner can transfer the number of lots that they would have gotten on the critical area portion of the lot to the non-critical area portion of the lot.
In effect, this allows for lot size averaging, which results in smaller lots on the developable area while protecting the site sensitive portions of the property. We do not have density bonuses, so no additional lots are allowed above the base zoning density.
We have about six more properties in the city that have approvals that can be developed if and when the owners decide to move forward: two plats are off of the Hidden Point subdivision, one is at Kalish Heights off of Debrelon Lane, as well as a few short plats. All of these projects have received preliminary plat approval.
There are also a couple of existing plats that are being developed with single-family homes: Arbors, off of Harbour Reach Drive, and six lots off of 93rd Place.
Q: What’s the disposition of the path used by students walking to Mukilteo Elementary and Olympic View Middle School? There is a gate in the elementary school’s fence that suggests this is an approved walking route. Will the trail go away? Will there be any mitigation for this?
A: The applicant is required to install a pedestrian path that is 7.5 feet wide within an easement to be dedicated to the Mukilteo School District. Responsibility for maintenance has not been determined, but will be determined prior to final plat approval. The design of the pedestrian path includes bollards and lights at each end of the pathway and a minimum 4-foot safety fence between the path and the rear yards of the plat.
The trail was closed while the students were on spring break to clear the area along the path and install a temporary chain link fence so that the students may continue to use the pathway during construction. The path opened again when school resumed.
Q: What traffic impact fees will be collected for this development? What traffic mitigation is planned? Are any traffic signals planned to provide access to SR-525?
A: The traffic impact fees for this development will be $1,875 per lot collected at issuance of the building permit. When this plat was approved in 2007, identified in the traffic study were existing deficiencies, and that the city cannot require the developer to upgrade the deficiencies, as they are not adjacent to the site.
There is not enough nexus between the impacts of the development and the improvements recommended by the traffic study further north. Therefore, no further improvements were required to be installed by the applicant.
Q: Is there any protection planned for the established trees or is this going to be the standard “clear cut” development? It seems as though the city has or is working toward more tree-friendly development in its development regulations.
A: The NGPA tract requires all trees to be left, unless determined to be hazardous by an arborist. Two trees within the NGPA located where the stormwater outfall will be removed, but shall be replanted per the approved mitigation plan.
Additional trees may only be cut as determined to be hazardous by a certified arborist and as approved by the Planning and Public Works Directors.
Additional plantings will be installed in the NGPA as part of the required buffer enhancement.
Due to potential windthrow and dangerous tree situations, the developer may meet the tree retention standards for the developable area by planting four native coniferous trees per lot. A note to this effect will be required on the face of the plat.
Q: The clearing boundaries appear to go into the posted NGPA. Has staff looked into this?
A: Staff walked the site last week, and it appears that the clearing limits meet the approved plans. The NGPA signs located on the property are signs that were previously on the property. The white tape also shows the boundary of the property.
The property owner installed temporary NGPA signs and silt fence last week to be inspected by the city prior to clearing the site.
The property owner was given permission to cut a pathway around the edge of the property to install silt fence. No other clearing occurs until the staff has approved the clearing limits.
Q: There’s water flowing across this area in a couple of places. Is there any wetland mitigation planned?
A: A critical areas assessment was conducted on the property in 2006 and a mitigation plan was approved for the disturbance to the stream buffer for utility installation.
There are wetlands on the property that are associated with the stream located within the NGPA.
A mitigation plan was submitted and approved for any disturbance to the NGPA for the installation of utilities and the buffer averaging as allowed under MMC 17.52C.090(C). The buffer between Lot 6 and the stream will be reduced to 35 feet, the maximum reduction allowed under MMC 17.52C.090(C).
Staff did see water on the site last week, which was due to the heavy rainfalls that have occurred.