Final EIS for Treemont released

With the Sept. 10 release of the Final Environmental Impact

Statement (FEIS) on the proposed Treemont subdivision, the residents of the Fall

City, Carnation and Sammamish are finally getting a chance to take another

look at the project.

For some members of those communities, the project will

undoubtedly serve as yet another sign that the

hills are alive with the sound of hammers, saws and road-grading equipment.

For others, the impact may come in the form of concerns over traffic,

zoning, water runoff and the environment, particularly as the large project

takes root near Fall City.

Through the FEIS, the King County Department of

Development and Environmental Services (DDES) has attempted to answer

questions while providing alternatives. The public will get the chance to comment

on the document _ and the proposed development _ in November.

As has been the case with other developments in the region, the

process has taken time, study, effort and a lot of citizen input. The

proposed Treemont subdivision is immediately east of Sammamish,

approximately eight miles northwest of Issaquah,

five miles southwest of Carnation and two and one-half miles northwest of

Fall City, on State Route 202.

The developer, Port Blakely Communities, submitted its original

plat request to King County on Dec. 30, 1988. At that time, the 239-acre

site was zoned G _ or general _ permitting residential development with

a minimum lot size of 35,000 square feet and a density of one

residential lot per acre. The draft EIS was issued in August 1994. Following initial

review and public comment, Port Blakely reduced its original plan

for 239 lots to 194 lots with single-family detached housing. The

company also addressed modifications to its drainage plans, including a

provision to put most of the project's storm water runoff into the Snoqualmie

River instead of Patterson Creek.

The site is presently undeveloped forest and pastureland, including

the former Matt Dairy Farm, which dates to the 1920s. DDES identified

approximately 28 acres as "sensitive areas," incorporating wetlands,

wetland buffers, steep slopes and steep slope buffers. The single-family lots

would cover approximately 165 acres, or 69 percent of the property.

Approximately 41 acres would be retained as open space.

As part of the planning process, DDES also addressed three

alternatives for the property.

Alternative one provides for only 47 lots, or one home per five

acres. The houses would be clustered with resultant road and structural

development on only 15 percent of the property. Alternative two provides for

100 lots, with an average lot size of about 1.36 acres, while the third

alternative recommends no action be taken on the property. However, the

department states the site could be developed in the future at a density of one unit

per five acres.

Whichever path the county takes, construction of roads and utilities

on the site is expected to commence in either the summer of 2000 or

the spring of 2001.

Several areas have been addressed in the document and will

undoubtedly be revisited during the public

hearings. These include site access which, under the basic plan, will rely on

S.R. 202 as the primary entry point to the development. Two additional roads

are planned for the northerly portion of the site for connection with

Southeast 8th Street via the existing Treemont North development.

Current and anticipated traffic levels on S.R. 202 and other roads in

the area were the subject of a supporting study. Notably, residential traffic

from the development _ once it is completed _ will add to current levels

westbound on S.R. 202 for vehicles heading into Redmond; Duthie Hill Road to

the Issaquah-Fall City Road for vehicles enroute to Issaquah and Interstate

90; and east on S.R. 202 into Fall City proper, for vehicles heading to

S.R. 203 northbound or towards Preston and Snoqualmie.

Additional debate will probably ensue over drainage of the property

_ which contains 17 identified wetland areas - and its impact on

the Snoqualmie River and Patterson Creek. The base proposal calls

for three storm water drainage facilities, two of which would exit into the

creek with the third discharging into the river.

DDES calls for strong mitigation activities during the

construction phase of the project, particularly to limit erosion and sedimentation

impacts on Patterson Creek. The waterway is identified as containing runs

of coho and chinook salmon, as well as rainbow and cutthroat trout.

With proper mitigation activities, the report states, there will be "no

long-term impact on the fisheries."

In its submission, Port Blakely identified four major goals for

the project:

• Respond to demand for single-family housing for a sector of the

market desiring conventional detached residential units.

• Recognize the developmental constraints and opportunities of

the site and mitigate potential environmental impacts.

• Retain a moderate amount of open space and natural features

between the Urban Growth Area and the rural areas.

• Develop the site to its highest and best use, consistent with King

County Subdivision regulations.

Whether the neighbors believe Port Blakely's plan succeeds in

the those areas will be addressed through public hearings. During the

initial 1994 Environmental Impact Statement hearings, opposition from local

residents was vocal and loud.

"(I) believe the impact of this development would be

devastating," wrote one Fall City resident. "I

am especially concerned with the effect it would have on wildlife,

Patterson Creek, and of course the private wells that many of us have."

Another resident wrote that she had moved first from Bellevue

to Klahanie, and then to the Fall City area to get away from development in

those areas. "Now we have found that one block (or less) from our home …

there will be 239 new residents on 236 acres, just three months after we moved,"

she added. "When is enough, enough out here?"

Other owners stated they supported the alternative limiting

development to 47 lots, if development of any kind was required.

These issues and comments will come up again in the public

hearings on Treemont, which are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 2.

DDES advised a public notice will be circulated prior to the meeting to all

property owners within 500 feet of the project site, and to anyone who

participated in the 1994 EIS hearings.

Copies of the Final Environmental Impact Statement are available

for review at the King County library branches in Fall City, Redmond,

Carnation, Duvall and Issaquah. In addition, copies of the document may

be purchased for $15 from the King County Department of

Development and Environmental Services, 900 Oakesdale Ave. S.W., Renton,

WA, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. On

Wednesday, the office is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Questions concerning the FEIS or public hearings may be directed

to Rich Hudson, EIS Project Coordinator, at (206) 296-7157 in Renton.

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