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Council denies Wedge development appeals

appeals denied by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--In a 4-3 vote, the City Council endorsed the hearing examiner's approval of two proposed projects in the Wedge community that would place 32 single-family homes on four acres.
   Mayor Bob Miller, Deputy Mayor Don Brocha, and Councilmembers Lucy DeYoung and Scott Hageman voted to deny the appeals of area residents, who argued the conflict with existing development, invalid traffic counts, and comprehensive plan inconsistency. Councilmembers Art Saulness, Marsha Engel, and Barbara Solberg voted against, with Saulness favoring a remand to the hearing examiner to address issues raised by the council and citizens.
   The council approved three amendments, affirming that the homes would be single-family detached, addressing the sight-distance issues through the curve of NE 186th Street and 136 Avenue NE, and changing the walkways from the development to 132nd Avenue and along 136th Avenue from 4-inch crushed rock to asphalt with extruded curb.
   Several councilmembers voiced concerns about the project and the way the recently-adopted comprehensive plan reflects more thorough consideration, while the existing zoning code has yet to be reworked.
   "We've had density credits used before, in the periphery," Brocha said. "We're caught in the middle of the comp plan and the zoning code, and we need to address the issue of using density credits in existing neighborhoods. As much as we don't want to do it, we're stuck with what we have."
   The council-amended crushed-rock walkway was required through the SEPA process, a decision which was not originally appealed.
   Councilmember Engel offered a philosophical context for the approval, noting that development need not be negative, but imply growth into a healthy community.
   "We're not looking at the effects, but rather the short-term prospects," she said. "I think we've made a big mistake going with King County's zoning code as our interim zoning code. The citizens of Woodinville know what's best for Woodinville."
   The Stone Hill Meadow and Stone Hill Village developments were proposed by Goshen Development/Bob Prehall and M2JD Holdings LP/Marty Robinett, respectively. Stone Hill Meadow applied for 18 units on their two acres; Stone Hill Village applied for 14 lots. The projects are adjacent to each other at 13405 NE 184th Place.
   The moderate density zoning allows five to eight units per acre, six units per acre in this case. The code allows up to 150 percent for providing a certain number of units as affordable housing, boosting the density to nine units per acre, though the two developments average eight per acre.
   Councilmember Lucy DeYoung criticized Engel and Solberg for "grandstanding for the neighborhood" and opposing the projects, given their previous positions on the need for affordable housing in town.