Frognal Estates construction gets more approval from county

By Brandon Gustafson | Apr 10, 2019
Photo by: Brandon Gustafson

The much-debated Frognal Estates property in Picnic Point appears to be heading towards full construction.

Early last week, the Snohomish County Planning and Development Services Department (PDS) released its notice of decision, granting approval for the full grading, installation of roads, utilities and retaining walls at the Frognal Estates site.

The property will be a 112-lot subdivision on 22.34 acres off of Picnic Point Road, just north of Picnic Point Elementary, a Mukilteo School District elementary school. The area is a few miles south of Mukilteo city limits, in unincorporated Snohomish County.

Ryan Countryman, a permitting supervisor for Snohomish County, sent the notice of decision to interested parties, namely those who have opposed the construction of the houses, on April 1.

“Despite the date, this is not an April Fools’ Day joke,” Countryman said. “Rather, it is the culmination of a long review process.”

Countryman also said it’s unclear when the construction will begin, and the applicant, Integral Northwest, still has some hoops to jump through.

“I do not yet know when the construction work will restart. The applicant has a few things to do – such as providing some performance securities – before the permit is actually issued.”

The construction of houses in that area has been discussed at length for more than a decade. Neighbors of the property, as well as environmental groups like the Sno-King Watershed Council (SKWC), have opposed the construction since it was first discussed in the mid-2000s, citing concerns over landslides and erosion.

Those residents, and the SKWC, have appealed decisions repeatedly, as recently as December, when crews began to log and clear parts of the property.

That week, SKWC filed an emergency petition with King County Superior Court to put an immediate stop to the logging and clearing until a scheduled hearing on forestry and grading in February took place.

Ultimately, the judge sided with Integral Northwest and Snohomish County, allowing the work to continue.

A few weeks later, SKWC entered a voluntary dismissal, dropping the legal battle and dropping the February hearing.

SKWC board member and stormwater and erosion control engineer Bill Lider said after the dismissal that SKWC didn’t believe Frognal Estates wouldn’t be approved under its current design due to “significant environmental harm and risk to the Regatta Estates residents.” Regatta Estates is a group of houses neighboring the Frognal Estates property.

Last week, Lider requested the approval be withdrawn until the Alderwood Wastewater District gives approval of the sanitary sewer design for the site, which Countryman disagreed with.

“We received your request and we will not be withdrawing the approval. This project will involve months of construction. It will be some time before the work reaches a point affecting the proposed new sewer line,” Countryman said in an email response to Lider’s request. “If the applicant has not finalized the engineering details with Alderwood Water and Wastewater District by then, the construction may need to pause or proceed differently. It is up to the applicant to risk such delays.

“Postponing commencement of construction would increase the likelihood of (work) continuing into the autumn wet season, which is exactly one of the things you have been asking us not to allow.”

Countryman said the county will have inspectors onsite to ensure proper erosion control measures are taken at the property.

 

 

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