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JULY 14, 1997

Local News

Planning commission recommends Falcon Ridge

   by Andrew Walgamott

   The Bothell Planning Commission took the wind out of Falcon Ridge opponents' arguments last week literally and figuratively and recommended approval of the plat to the City Council. But a Bothell councilmember will be asking the commission to examine the down-wind effect of tree removal in developments in the future.

   Before taking public comment on the proposed 15-unit single family housing development between Victorian Village and Pioneer Hills in eastern Bothell, Planning Commission Chair Jerry Pyle said that residents' tree blow-down concerns couldn't be regulated for in either the city or state code. At previous public hearings, residents of Pioneer Hills, which sits above the proposed development, voiced their concerns that thinning the trees on the hillside site for building purposes would change air flow patterns, resulting in more blow-downs in their neighborhood.

   Residents cited Chapter 12 of the Bothell Municipal Code (BMC), and Title 89 of the Revised Codes of Washington, but Rubstello said that the language referred to was "purpose statements" of the codes which don't provide specific restrictions or regulations for proposed subdivisions. Mike Noblet, a resident of Pioneer Hills and a Bothell City councilmember, said he will be asking the planning commission to look at including language in the BMC that would apply regulations to developments that may have a downwind effect on nearby trees and homes.

   Though Falcon Ridge was found falconless in a raptor study, the development, split zoned for R-8 (residential, eight units per acre) R-15, office professional and neighborhood business, will be located on 4.65 acres generally sloping to the south on stable soils. The northern half of the lot will be developed into single family housing while a middle band of steep slopes will be preserved as a open space tract. On the lower end of the lot, the applicant, Karl Schmeideskamp of Woodinville, may develop a 37,200 square foot lot into neighborhood business, retail, multi-family development or office space.

   Thirty-seven percent of trees on the plat will be retained. Revised tree retention plans show that 60 significant trees with diameters of 8-inches or more will be saved in the green belt, and approximately 68 will be retained among the homes. Trees will be layered in rows up the hillside to keep the development relatively hidden from Woodinville.
   A pedestrian trail proposed to meander from N.E. 182nd Place to N.E. 180th Street through the green belt was deleted from the proposal.

   The commission recommended that several conditions be met before final approval, including posting of a minimum $1,000 bond per tree retained in the construction area. Traffic mitigation fees of $96,345.20 must be paid as well.
   Also, Falcon Ridge may have to change its name, according to Duane Bowman, Bothell Co-Interim Director of Community Development. Another plat in King County might already be named Falcon Ridge. It was a minor victory for Pioneer Hill residents who argued that the name Falcon Ridge was incongruous with the neighborhood which includes Holly Hills and the soon to be developed Pioneer View.

   The City Council will hold a closed record review on Falcon Ridge July 28th. Discussion will be held to issues already raised.