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Hearing Examiner gives nod to Northridge UPD/FCC

Appeals expected from all parties

Northridge UPD/FCC by Jeff Switzer
BEAR CREEK--Hearing Examiner Stafford Smith has given approval to another urban development on Novelty Hill Road, this time to a Quadrant-backed 1,046-acre project called Northridge, with as many as 1,500 units and an estimated population of 4,150 over a five- to 15-year period.
   The approval reflects weeks of hearings in which a local group participated, the Coalition for Public Trust (CPT), as well as the City of Redmond, trying to influence the impacts of the proposed development.
   The recommendation, while in favor of the developer rather than the opposition, is nevertheless being appealed by all sides:

   "We're very disappointed with the way the aquifer and water issues were addressed," said Rosemary Ives, Redmond's mayor, who was also concerned with the lack of guarantees of police services for the project and the impacts to Redmond's parks and recreation programs.
   Ives said the $800,000 to $900,000 in transportation mitigations are "totally unacceptable," given Redmond's identified $4 million in mitigations for such a project.
   "We're not talking about just houses here, we're talking about maybe 5,000 jobs, as well," she said. "Our greatest criticism is with King County and the whole process. There is no other issue that will affect the quality of life more significantly for the Redmond community than this irresponsible land-use decision."
   Mary O'Farrell, who represented the Coalition for Public Trust at the Northridge hearings, favors the mid-point review, but feels King County is not requiring nearly enough by way of traffic, water, and noise impacts to the rural area.
   "I'm disappointed that the public's concerns were not dealt with more adequately," she said.
   O'Farrell said she felt the expert testimony offered by the coalition was completely ignored in favor of county staff recommendations, and that the citizens left the hearings feeling "very skeptical" about the whole process.
   Northridge is proposed to include 229 acres of residential uses, including single- and multi-family, an eight-acre neighborhood shopping center adjacent to Novelty Hill Road, a 122-acre business park, public facilities, and 602 acres of open space.
   The King County Council has the last word on the project, and the appeals and public hearings before that body are expected in August.