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Subdivision sensitivity: Tanner Road neighbors raise concerns about 156-home project
Too many cars and too many houses top the list of concerns regarding a proposed development on Southeast Tanner Road in North Bend. About 20 community residents, all neighboring the future project, raised these issues at the Feb. 4 meeting of the North Bend City Council, and several urged the council to live up to its own comprehensive plan.
“We all… feel like something that we care about is being threatened,” Jack Harris said of his group of neighbors at the meeting.
Dick Ryon said he wasn’t opposed to development, and understood that it was necessary, “but I also understand that the comp plan requires that developers and cities agree to not damage neighborhoods as they exist, and to build compatibly with those… and that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen here.”
The project is a subdivision of a 39-acre parcel of land on Southeast Tanner Road (currently serving about 50 properties) into 156 residential lots. Segale Properties of Kirkland owns the land and has filed the preliminary plat application, which will be the subject of an upcoming public hearing.
North Bend Planner Mike McCarty assured the group of neighbors they would have more opportunities to comment in the future, and said all of their feedback would be considered in the staff’s review of the application.
That feedback included River Glen resident Barbara Wolosyn’s feeling that the project was incompatible with the city’s code. Citing the city’s 2007 update to its comprehensive plan and its 2012 transportation plan update, she claimed several discrepancies between the document and the proposed project. She was particularly concerned about runoff, since the entire neighborhood, as well as most of the city, is in a critical aquifer recharge area, or CARA, and wanted the developer to consider storm water mitigation options like rain gardens.
Celia McNay, also from River Glen, emphasized a need to protect a belt of trees on a berm between her neighborhood and the north side of the project site. The trees have esthetic value, are used by wildlife, provide a buffer against noise and light pollution, and help protect the other area trees, she said. Two tree maintenance companies informed McNay and her neighbors that “our own trees would be in significant danger with the removal of the berm,” from the spread of laminated root rot, falling limbs, and other problems.
She proposed preserving the berm by removing it from the development area, at an estimated loss of 12 homes to the project. “It’s not a significant deduction for the builder, but it would be a significant safety issue for all of us who live along that area,” she said, including newcomers to the neighborhood.
Ryon raised several concerns about Tanner Road, and strongly recommended that the city lower the speed limit on the road, and rebuild the intersection with North Bend Way to create a 90-degree turn, which would also help slow traffic down. At least one neighbor seconded these recommendations, and Harris told the council that the group there would continue to attend council meetings, and asked for guidance on how best to be heard.
Terry Tatko appealed to the council’s sense of livability, by quoting the city’s recent ad in the Valley Record’s Spotlight on Business. “North Bend is the small town that is creating the premier outdoor adventure destination in the Puget Sound region,” she read, then added, “My sincere hope is that this department, and this city council truly believe in that statement. As it stands, the proposed Tanner Subdivision does not seem to be in alignment with that statement.”
McCarty, Mayor Ken Hearing, and several councilmen thanked the group for their comments, and McCarty gave an update on the project.
Staff are currently reviewing the preliminary plat application, one of several phases in the project, and will weigh all of the public testimony against the city’s existing code, including environmental and traffic issues. A hearing examiner will make the final determination on whether the project is compatible with city code, after reviewing the project plans, city code, staff recommendations and testimony given at a public hearing. The hearing has not yet been scheduled, but will be announced on the city’s website and in the Valley Record legal notices.