MAY 12, 1997

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Local News

Riverside senior housing appealed

senior housing by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter
Hearing Examiner John Galt heard arguments from two groups appealing a SEPA application and conditional use permit for a proposed 50-unit senior housing center in Bothell near the corner of 102nd Avenue NE and West Riverside Drive. Galt heard from appellants May 6 and from city staff May 8.
   Shelter Resources of Bellevue wants to develop a 1.29-acre flat, which sits mainly on an open lot of compacted soils next to 102nd Avenue, for affordable senior housing. Trees, blackberries, and grass edge the site. Along the northern and western borders, the land drops into a Category 1 wetland. Proposed to skirt the site is a paved pedestrian/bike trail connecting the Burke Gilman Trail with Blyth Park.
   On Tuesday night, Galt heard from community activists. Ronald Reed expressed concern that the city should hold onto the land for a highway bypass. With a bypass, he said, the downtown area would begin at the Wayne Curve, and the riverfront area would become more accessible. "These are the things that are lost by putting this building here," Reed said.
   A second group of appellants questioned the site more specifically. Charles Keller, a resident on West Riverside Drive, said the site would be built on clay soils that have a high water content and a high degree of plasticity during an earthquake. Keller said the proposed building would be located in a known seismic hazard area. He said that buildings in similar soil conditions in San Francisco's Marina District had suffered earthquake damage in the 1988.
   Bruce Lewis challenged wetland reports, width of a wetland buffer area between the proposed building footprint and wetlands below the property, and stormwater quality standards. "In this case, I don't think we've done our homework," Lewis said.
   Ann Aagaard argued that the proposed pedestrian/bike trail (12 feet of pavement and 4 feet of gravel) would cut into the minimum 50 foot wetland buffer between the building and the wetland. Sixteen feet of buffer wouldn't be a buffer, she said. She also argued that the proposed Type 3 landscaping wasn't adequate for the buffer.
   On Thursday night, city staff gave testimony on landscaping, building in a seismic hazard area, highway bypass, and stormwater contentions. Galt is expected to give his ruling by May 22.