Lakewood residents mull 73-home development
August 28, 2008 · Updated 10:56 AM
MARYSVILLE A developer got an earful from Lakewood residents when he showed his plans for a 73-home development in Lakewood last week.
Laurey Tobiason is finalizing plans for The Firs at Twin Lakes on a 10-acre tract of land just east of Crystal Tree Village and west of the new Costco. The Seattle developer emphasized that his project has only about half of the density allowed under Marysville zoning and pointed out the different amenities included in project, including playgrounds and greenbelts.
But residents of the adjacent Crystal Tree mobile home park gave Tobiason an earful, as they lambasted the Marysville traffic and zoning officials present with complaints about too many cars on local streets. Residents also said they didnt want children walking through their 55-plus mobile home park, and several said oil and other automobile-related residue would enter the groundwater system and ruin nearby Gissberg Twin Lakes.
Were just looking at a monumental amount of people, said Crystal Tree Village resident Lorren Olsen, who added that he didnt move into an 55-and-older park to deal with a bunch of kids.
Tobiason used a map to show a circular drive and a stretch of trees along 25th Avenue NE that will be saved and used to provide a buffer for the adjacent Crystal Tree Village. Ingress would be from the east on a street south of the Costco parking lot leading to tree-lined drives. According to him the lots will be mostly 35 feet wide by 85 feet deep, and the homes will likely be 2,500-square-feet with three bedrooms, about 28-feet-wide on average.
The density that is proposed here is well below what is allowed, Tobiason said. We have far more open space than the city requires.
JoAnn DeLazzari read a list of demands her fellow Crystal Tree residents wanted addressed, including extending 25th Avenue north to 172nd Street NE, and moving a small playground from its planned location at the northwest corner of the proposed development. An infiltration pond in the center of the development will remain dry most of the year according to Tobiason, and could be wet during heavy rains, when storm-water will move down to the water table. DeLazzari said that could put children at risk for West Nile Virus complications, and she reeled off a list of other objections.
Marysville had several officials at the meeting; including senior planner Cheryl Dungan, who bore most of the ire residents unleashed concerning traffic and road access. Some of the concerns could be addressed, she said, emphasizing that the developer had not even applied for permits and that Thursdays meeting was a preliminary community meeting required by Marysville ordinance.
This is the very beginning of the process, Dungan emphasized.
After the meeting Tobiason noted that with the R-12 zoning he could be putting a lot more units on the plot of land but he is more interested in building quality projects the market wants. The land is owned by Joel Hylback, and Tobiason will have other contractors build the houses. They said it would be at least one year until work starts on the development.
Neighborhood meetings are very good ideas; we do them voluntarily, said Tobiason, who has been building in Snohomish County for more than 25 years. I fully understand how the people feel.
He had previously met with folks from the project to the north, and they are more favorable to his plans. Some of the opinions expressed at the meeting were off-topic and Tobiason said hes working hard to produce a quality neighborhood.
I think theres some venting going on, he said. Ive been doing this for 30 years and I pretty much expected that.
Most of the objections had to do with effects of other projects, he added. Our project is a very small part of that.
For the city of Marysville, the shoe is on the other foot concerning another development just south of the new Lakewood Crossing shopping center. Lighthouse Projects is planning a 43-unit rural cluster development north of 156th Street NE between 45 Road and 19th Avenue NE. The 43 units would be squeezed into a corner of a 40-acre plot of land just outside the citys Urban Growth Area. The UGA is the citys future footprint and usually a town cant regulate development outside its boundaries. Because Marysville serves areas outside its border with water and sewer services, it can require developments to be built to tougher city standards. City administrator Mary Swenson told the City Council on Feb. 12 that she was bothered by the proposal and would withhold sewer services if it was built as planned.
Utility connections are the carrot and stick to get cooperation from developers, Hirashima acknowledged, adding that developer Lighthouse Projects has talked to her department and is open to changing its plans. The citys biggest complaint is the nature of small developments like rural clusters, which allow lots of 9,600-square-feet, an urban density in a rural area. Most of the Lakewood area is county-zoned for five acres, but the immediate area is zoned for one-acre parcels, an anomaly according to Hirashima.
Planners would prefer to write one big master plan showing where roads, utilities and other features would go, starting from whole cloth as opposed to dealing with a patchwork quilt. That allows logical connections built with economies of scale.
If clusters are built here and there the city will later have to put in sewer and water lines at a much greater cost. Snohomish County allows some developments the city will not, and the Lakewood area is dealing with enough problems, Hirashima said.
Were sort of caught in between the city and the county codes, Hirashima said. This area is a perfect example. Its starting to urbanize and as we see some of the impacts to the area were trying to minimize those.