Port Blakely files appeal

FALL CITY - Port Blakely Communities has filed an appeal to a hearing examiner's recommendation that its proposed Treemont development be approved for 83 lots instead of the 194 lots the company had originally applied for in 1988.

"We think it's a really strong appeal," said John Adams, senior vice president of real estate for Port Blakely.

"This seems to be a pretty drastic reaction, this denial," he added of the recommendation.

In his recommendation, King County Hearing Examiner Stafford Smith cited traffic, environmental and rural-character issues for recommending that the project on 235 acres west of Fall City be scaled down to 83 lots.

That split the middle with a recommendation made earlier this year by the county Department of Development and Environmental Services. The agency suggested that the Treemont plat application be approved for 47 lots.

In its appeal, Port Blakely states Smith committed several errors in making his decision. The company believes it has mitigation in place to protect nearby Patterson Creek from construction of a new road, Southeast 19th Street, to access the site. The mitigation had already been approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Port Blakely also contends that the city of Redmond never asked the company to mitigate potential traffic impacts at intersections along State Route 202 within the city, which Smith said in his recommendation was one reason for his decision. And he was also wrong to use rural character as justification for the decision, the appeal states.

"The Washington State Supreme Court has already ruled that approval cannot be denied to a vested project based on alleged impacts on 'rural character,'" the appeal says.

Written responses to the appeal are due at the King County hearing examiner office by Tuesday, June 18. The matter will then go before the Metropolitan King County Council, which heard the Treemont plat application once before in 2000 and remanded it to Smith.

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