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Hillside housing proposal sent back to planners

  by Andrew Walgamott
   WOODINVILLE--The city council passed on an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan that could've allowed as many as 226 townhomes on the west side of the Sammamish Valley. Voting unanimously 6-0, the council remanded the proposed Snoview development, above Schuyler Rubber on the Woodinville-Redmond Road, back to the Planning Commission for further study last week.
   At issue had been rezoning of the 40 acre hillside property from R-4 (residential, four units per acre) to combinations of R-4 and R-12, and R-4 and R-18. The developer's agent, Patrick O'Boyle, had wanted to jump zoning on the parcel because as much as 70 percent of the land is unbuildable due to steep slopes, wetlands and buffers.
   The net effect would've been to bring between 150 and 226 dwelling units to 11.9 acres on lower sections of the property. O'Boyle admitted a zoning of R-18 would've been "too much," but said R-12 wasn't high enough to break even on the project.
   In August, the Planning Commission advised against approving the Snoview comprehensive plan amendment. A letter to the council states, "such an effective density is out of character for the area." The commission also said the change was not concurrent with capital facilities, road and pedestrian path improvements.
   "We believe this change, if approved, will do our [Comprehensive] Plan a disservice and establish a precedent which any developer may wield when requesting a land use and subsequent zoning change," the commission concludes. Councilmember Barbara Solberg and Deputy Don Brocha have both said they have no reason to break with the Planning Commission's recommendation.
   During discussion last week, O'Boyle said he was looking for a yield of 160 units on the parcel. Councilmember Lucy DeYoung asked Planning Commissioner James Clayton if he felt comfortable with 160 units. Clayton replied he was more comfortable with 120 units. The commission will now reconsider Snoview.