For months, even years, the small patch of land in Black Diamond’s Ten Trails housing development has been known as Lot 41.
Now it has a new name — home.
As of July 9, Marty and Leyah McFadden became official residents of Black Diamond when they received their keys to their Connor Home, becoming the first family to move into the master plan development that’s been in the works since 2011.
The McFaddens moved to Black Diamond because Marty’s job as a facility manager with Conrac Solutions moved from South Jordan, Utah, to Seattle, but there were other reasons why they decided to uproot to the Pacific Northwest, the most important of them being Damian, Nelly, Rosy and baby Griffin, who — with the exception of Griffin — ran around the communal fire pit located mere yards away from the McFadden’s front door.
“We love that [Ten Trails] is going to be so family-oriented. Just having this here,” Leyah said, gesturing to the fire pit, complete with brightly-colored lawn chairs, “is so great — the families can get together, and the kids can come out here and play on this common space. We love that there is going to be so many parks and trails. We love that outdoor aspect.”
Black Diamond’s schools were also a big driver to moving to the area, Marty added.
The McFaddens actually left a master plan development in their old neighborhood to come live in Ten Trails.
“We built over there, two years ago. The whole master plan development idea is something that we’re familiar with, and we bought into that concept. We’re total fans,” Marty said. But their old neighborhood (the Daybreak master plan development), was going to add 20,000 new homes at full build-out, more than three times the amount of homes being built in Black Diamond, said Oakpointe’s Director of Marketing Jon Lakefish, who was brought onto the Ten Trails project about a year ago.
Lakefish said roughly 4,800 homes will be built in Ten Trails, and another 1,200 in the up-coming Lawson Hills development.
“We are not very far into the first phase and second phase of development… This is a 15, 20 year build-out for the entire project. We’re in the infancy stages,” Lakefish said, adding the number of homes can easily change, based on what plats get approved, and what builders are planning. “All of that is an ebb and flow sort of element.”
The master plan development the McFaddens moved away from had built roughly 5,000 homes in 15 years, Marty said, with three times as many houses still on the way.
“And already it felt like there was getting to be more traffic than we liked. And we would go to community events, and it would be crowded, just packed. It was too much,” Leyah added. “I feel like this is going to be a better size.”
The reasons why the McFaddens wanted to move away from their old master plan development — the loss of the “small town feel” with thousands of additional families moving into the area, bringing with them an unmanageable increase in traffic — are the same reasons some Black Diamond residents did not want Oakepointe’s developments in their city.
Lakefish said he understands those concerns, since he recently moved to a smaller town in order to raise a family.
“There are just over 50 traffic improvements that are going to happen in the area. Those will be triggered by certain levels of occupancy in Ten Trails,” Lakefish said, adding that the Ten Trails project will only be bringing in between 200 to 300 homes a year for up to two decades, which will slow Black Diamond’s growth.
Not only that, but Oakpointe’s goal is to have many of the amenities homeowners need to be nearby, like the areas Oakpointe has set aside for seven future schools as Black Diamond Elementary reaches capacity. Some, like the retail area of Ten Trails — which Lakefish hopes will have ground broken by fall 2018 and businesses starting to open a year later — may even be accessible by foot, further cutting down on traffic.
“The ultimate goal is to really enjoy an amazing quality of life with everything they need here,” Lakefish said. “This feels so much like where I moved, that it is very comfortable for me, and it feels like the place where you’ll want to raise a family and enjoy the quality of life you might not be able to find in areas that are a little more populated.”
Marty said he was somewhat aware of the pushback against Oakpointe when he and Leyah started looking for homes in December 2017, but more than anything, he was thankful for it.
“It feels like that resistance made this a better place,” he said.
But the plans and politics behind Ten Trails don’t matter much to the McFadden kids, who were thrilled to run around after spending too much time in their cramped hotel room, enthusiastically shared their plans for camping, playing at Lake Sawyer, growing lavender and — for Damian — enjoying all the nearby greenery.
“I’m excited for all the good climbing trees I can climb,” he said.