For the second time in almost a year, Clallam County Hearing Examiner Andrew Reeves denied development of a proposed 55-and-older manufactured home development in Carlsborg.
Reeves announced his decision via letter on July 27 denying the proposed 66-manufactured homes on 8.66 acres of a 15.5 acre lot on the corner of Atterberry and Hooker Roads based mostly on a continued dispute over how far buffers must go from Matriotti Creek to new construction.
Builder Chris Anderson, owner of CA Homes, Inc., has 10 calendar days, to file for reconsideration on Reeves’ decision. Anderson could not be reached for comment.
In his letter, Reeves acknowledged Anderson “made significant strides” after denying Anderson’s first proposal for a 73-home park by providing new plans for stormwater, traffic, lighting and more.
However, Reeves said despite testimony from state and local officials, there wasn’t enough information to clarify whether or not the proposal is consistent with Clallam County’s environmental policy and critical codes, specifically that it remains “unclear from the available evidence whether the portion of Matriotti Creek abutting the site should be designated as a Type 2 or Type 3 stream.”
“Whether Matriotti Creek is designated a Type 2 or Type 3 water body would have significant impacts on the proposal because a Type 2 creek would require at least a 150-buffer, requiring significant revisions to the applicant’s submitted plans,” Reeves wrote.
Clallam County Senior Planner Donella Clark testified at the project’s June 21 hearing that county staff met on the property with Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Department of Natural Resources officials, and they agreed the creek is a Type 3 stream requiring a 100-foot buffer.
However, nearby residents calling themselves the Concerned Atterberry Neighbors contested the buffer hiring their own experts to testify it is a Type 2 stream, that a county planning map shows it as such, and that the creek is important habitat for endangered/threatened fish like steelhead.
Clark testified that the map is incorrect, but Reeves questioned in his letter why the map hasn’t been updated for the hearing.
He also asks for more detailed analysis on why Matriotti Creek should be Type 3 from county officials rather than in hearsay, that the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe be involved in commenting, and unity among commenting agencies in their opinions.
“Until evidence in the record supports a finding that all entities with jurisdiction related to the creek – including (Department of Natural Resources), (Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife), (Department of Ecology), and the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe – agree with the county’s type 3 designation, it would be imprudent to further assess the proposal,” Reeves wrote.
Debra Stevens, a spokesperson for the neighbors, said they were relieved to learn of Reeves’ decision.
“It just couldn’t be built as shown,” she said. “The CAN group is definitely not against affordable housing or more housing.”
Anderson said in previous hearings his purpose for developing the 1,200-1,700 square feet homes was to provide affordable housing for seniors and sell each home for about $150,000 while leasing the property.
“We feel kind of bad for the applicant this property was put into the (Urban Growth Area) around the year 2000 without an Intensive Environmental Review required by state and county code,” Stevens, a retired city planner, said.
“This property is so sensitive it’s extremely expensive to develop. It’s hard to develop and develop successfully or make it financially feasible. If the property is developed, it has to be done properly to not severely affect endangered species and all sorts of things like that.”
Along with potential impacts on wildlife, David Brownell, Jamestown S’Klallm Tribe’s cultural resource specialist, testified that the site is a “very high risk” for impacting cultural resources according to the state’s Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation’s Archaeological Predictive Model.
Prior to the June hearing, county staff approved Anderson’s plan with 32 provisions, including a final stormwater plan, a plan for pedestrian paths, widening the north side of Atterberry Road 17 feet, and providing a landscaping screen 15 feet wide along the west and south property lines.
Clark would not comment on Reeves’ decision.
Mary Ellen Winborn, director of community development, said county staff are happy with how thorough Reeves is with his analysis but they are asking him to reconsider his decision.
She said they’ve sent him more documentation, specifically about how the county designates Matriotti Creek and other streams.
Winborn said Clallam County designates streams differently than other agencies and they wanted Reeves to be aware of that, if he wasn’t already.
“It didn’t reflect in his determination that he was aware of that,” she said.
Overall, Winborn said receiving approval for a project may take a few times.
“This is a unique situation in a unique area with unique issues,” she said. “You want to get it right and that doesn’t mean it’s easy.”