Public hearing set for the development agreements on YarrowBay in Black Diamond

Public hearings on the development agreement for the two Black Diamond master planned developments,The Villages and Lawson Hills, has been scheduled to begin in July.

The meetings will be presided over by the city’s hearing examiner, Phil Olbrechts, and are set to convene at 6 p.m. July 11, 12, 13 and 14 at Sawyer Woods Elementary School, 31125 228th Avenue S.E.

A 9 a.m. start is set for Saturday, July 16 at the same school.

The city is planning an open house prior to the hearings for the public to come and ask questions of the staff and consultants from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Black Diamond Elementary School gymnasium, 25314 Baker St.

The development agreement provides more detail on the projects than the master planned development environmental impact statement and other documents that were presented during the 2010 hearings that resulting in the approval of the projects by the City Council.

Legal challenges

The ordinances approving the two developments were unanimously passed by the City Council in September 2010. The council decision followed more than two weeks of master planned development hearings before Olbrechts in March 2010 and deliberations by the City Council following the hearing examiner’s recommendation to approve the developments with conditions.

The Black Diamond group, Toward Responsible Development, filed a LUPA or Land Use Petition Act appeal in superior court and a suit in federal court. The group also requested a review by the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board.

The board ruled  Feb. 15 the council should have used a legislative rather than quasi-judicial process to approve the ordinances stating the legislative process would have allowed more contact between the residents and council members.

The board remanded the ordinances back to the city for compliance with Growth Management Act. The board did not rule the ordinances were invalid.

The process order by the board was halted when Superior Court Judge Cheryl Carey granted a stay April 8 on the board’s schedule of compliance for the city.

The board granted a request from Toward Responsible Development submitted in March for a direct review to the state Court of Appeals, bypassing Superior Court, on the decision to remand the ordinances back to the city.

While the numerous legal challenges wind through the court system, the city and Kirkland-based developer, YarrowBay, are continuing to move ahead with the development agreements, which is the next step following the council approval of the ordinances.

The Villages is a 1,196 acre property where YarrowBay has proposed building 4,800 residences, 775,000 square feet of retail, office and light industrial with schools and open spaces.

Lawson Hills is 371 acres and would have 1,250 residences and 390,000 square feet of commercial along with schools and open spaces.


Covington Reporter Regional Editor Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@maplevalleyreporter.comor 425-432-1209 ext. 5050.


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