A proposed 55-and-older retirement community with 73 manufactured homes in Carlsborg won’t be going forward as is in the near future.
Clallam County Hearing Examiner Andrew Reeves announced on Aug. 16 through county documents that he denied an application by Chris Anderson, owner of CA Homes Inc., for the proposed development, Atterberry Landing.
Reeves listed multiple issues leading to his decision including a lack of information on multiple concerns particularly on the development’s impact on Matriotti Creek and local habitat.
Donella Clark, the county’s senior planner, said Anderson can apply for reconsideration within 10 days of Reeves’ decision by Aug. 26 or file for an appeal in Clallam County Superior Court within 21 days, by Sept. 6.
Anderson chose not to comment on the decision or his next actions for the property.
Mary Ellen Winborn, Clallam County’s director of community development, said she planned to speak with Anderson at some point after Reeves’ decision was made.
She said following Reeves’ requests fully are accomplishable, but “it’s just how much money (Anderson and his staff) want to spend. It’s really up to them.”
Anderson previously said the proposed homes would range from 1,200-1,700 square feet each with an attached two-car garage and sell for about $125,000-$150,000, with each home leasing the property. It would have used 8.8 acres of the undeveloped 15.5 acres.
Since the project went public, several Carlsborg residents, including some with the group Concerned Atterberry Neighbors, have been vocal in opposition of the project.
Reeves agreed with some of their arguments at a June 1 public hearing where he required Anderson to turn in a revised site plan and reports on critical areas, traffic impacts, stormwater, landscaping, lighting and pedestrian circulation. The hearing was continued to July 13 and the public comment period was extended at that meeting to July 21 because citizens felt they needed more time to see Anderson’s new documents because he turned them in that week.
Reeves’ decision to deny the claim was announced five days after an announcement on the proposal was expected.
In his statement, Reeves said “insufficient information exists to determine whether the proposal is consistent with the County’s environmental policy and critical areas code … and whether adequate provisions have been made to ensure that the public health, safety, welfare, use, and interest are protected.”
One point of contention on the project was the classification of Matriotti Creek as either a Type 2 or 3 stream, which would require larger buffer areas depending on the rating. County staff determined it was a Type 3 stream and would require a 100-foot buffer, however neighbors reported a Critical Areas Map by the county listed as a Type 2 stream requiring a 150-foot buffer.
Regardless of the rating, Reeves said there was “insufficient information to determine whether the proposal is consistent with the county’s environmental policy and critical areas code.”
He added that the creek is classified a Class I Aquatic and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Area for at least one endangered species, steelhead, but a Habitat Management Plan was not submitted.
Reeves said the county also requires applicants undertake restoration activities for degraded buffers before any permits are issued but Anderson hadn’t provided any information about the degraded buffers to Matriotti Creek.
Reeves also was displeased with information provided about how the site would handle stormwater being discharged into Matriotti Creek.
He said “the applicant drew a rectangle on its revised site plan to indicate that a detention pond would be sited within the proposed buffer for Matriotti Creek” and no information about the site’s hydrology, flow rates or modeled flow rates.”
While not every detail is needed for a preliminary stormwater plan, he said, “simply drawing a stormwater pond on the site plan, however is no substitute for providing actual information and analysis on how stormwater would be addressed on the property and, importantly, how stormwater would be treated (even just conceptually) to prevent pollutants from entering Matriotti Creek.”
Reeves felt there were several other issues not addressed in the proposal, too.
Those included safety concerns for entering and exiting the site from Atterberry Road, planning for overflow parking and its impact on emergency vehicles, a lighting plan to prevent glare on neighbors and a landscaping plan to screen neighbors to the west and south of the site.
Reeves said due to the limited application, the public wasn’t given an opportunity to fully engage in the review process and he lacks necessary information whether or not the proposal complies with the county’s code.
Previously, Anderson said he was following county staff’s requirements for what he turned in for his application, which Reeves acknowledged saying the lack of requirements is a problem with the county’s code and not because Anderson was withholding information.
At both public hearings, county staff recommended the project move forward and despite the denied application, Winborn said she appreciates Reeves’ decision.
“There are always opportunities to do better,” she said. “He has a lot of issues he has to weigh. We’re very fortunate to have him.”
Looking at how to do better, Winborn said they “definitely have to make some of our maps more clear” in reference to the Critical Areas Map referencing Matriotti Creek’s stream type.
Winborn said they are going to use this application to learn from because “it has potential to happen in other areas.”
County staff also will look at more neighborhood buffering, such as with landscaping, too, she said.
As for countywide planning in updating Clallam County’s codes, Winborn said discussions indirectly address issues with this plan such as with working in and around Carlsborg’s Urban Growth Area.
Debra Stevens, a spokesman for the Concerned Atterberry Neighbors, said she and her neighbors are relieved by Reeves’ decision.
“It’s a huge pressure off,” she said. “We’re just thankful that following the law prevailed … there was just so much (of the plan) that’s not there.”
Charles Meyer, another spokesman for the Concerned Neighbors of Atterberry, said he and other neighbors feel Reeves made a complete outline of concerns the neighbors raised.
However, they feel there needs to be more light shed on the county’s process for development applications, he said.
In letters to Reeves and in public testimony, neighbors expressed frustration about how how they were surprised by the rezoning of the property in November 2016 to allow modular homes on the site. Meyer said county staff legally did what they were supposed to do — listing meetings regarding changes to the Carlsborg Urban Growth Area in the Peninsula Daily News but no one saw postings of the proposed project on its site until several days after they were allegedly placed.
Even if neighbors did take notice of the meeting announcement in the newspaper, Meyer said, it was in regards to the Carlsborg Urban Growth Area, which the proposed property falls in, but not neighbors across or down the street from Atterberry Road, so they may have disregarded it.
“Whatever process (the county is) following, doesn’t serve the public even though it’s legal,” he said.
Going forward, Stevens said if Anderson moves forward with the proposal again, they’d follow it thoroughly.
“We’re very dedicated about it,” she said.
Winborn said if Anderson does resubmit his plan following Reeves’ suggestions, then he would have to pay the county’s application fees again.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.