>Inquiries Coming In. Many have been asking about the recent letter they received from the County regarding the Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) letter for the Timbers Edge Preliminary Plat and Substantial Substantial Development Permit. If you didn’t get one we have included it again as an attachment.
750 SEPA Letters. The county signed the SEPA MDNS letter on July 31, 2008 that was sent out to some 750 residents who had expressed interest in the Timbers Edge development. Most of those were from people who had signed petitions who were concerned about the development along the steep slopes of Illahee Creek.
SEPA Letter Delay. Some in the community were hoping the delay in sending out the letter was because of a community request to meet with the county before the legal process began. Such was not the case as it appears there was some kind of hold up in getting the letter out. Letters were received in the community on Tuesday, August 5th.
Only 10 Days to Respond. The SEPA letter note at the end states that any appeal must be filed by August 15, along with $500. That doesn’t give the community much time to look at the file, get together, decide what to do, and then prepare an appeal. It appears to many that “due process” was not accorded to the community in this case.
Request for File Information Delayed. Several members of the Illahee community looked over the files on August 1, 2008, requested copies, and tried to pick them up late in the afternoon on Tuesday, August 5th, and found them not available. These are some of the roadblocks encountered and frustrations community members feel when trying to prepare for a possible appeal.
SEPA MDNS Letter. The SEPA MDNS letter is the most complete we have seen and the project has improved, but the development is still extremely high density (110 homes on approx 15 acres) in the project area, with lots as small as 3,400 square feet. This is just the first phase of other planned developments on the properties.
Infiltration Planned. Infiltration of portions of the storm water is being planned, which is one of the goals in the Illahee Community Plan. The county and applicant are working in some areas to address community concerns.
Does the Community Appeal? That is the question that is being investigated at this time. Because of the short time available and the time it takes to line up witnesses the Community Club is proceeding as though they will appeal the SEPA MDNS. There have been those who have said that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is necessary because the project will have a significant impact on Illahee Creek’s base flow which in turn could result in its inability to support salmon, which would be a significant environmental impact, and thus should trigger an EIS. Obviously, the county does not see it that way.
Expert Witness Are Being Contacted. Six expert witnesses have been identified as necessary to this case and are being contacted as to their availability to the Hearing Date that has been established by the county, which is August 28, 2008. It is that short time frame that has made it necessary to proceed with witness identification before a complete Timbers Edge file is even available for review by witnesses or the community.
8/5 County Meeting. Kitsap County called a meeting for August 5, 2008 to see if issues could be resolved. There were 6 representatives from the Illahee Community; 5 from the applicant (developer), and 6 from the county. At the end of the 90 minute meeting all had a better understanding of where each group stood. The next step is for the applicant to meet together with 2 representatives of the Illahee Community. The meeting was to be held on 8/6 but was postponed because one of the reps was sick.
Goal for Meeting with Applicant. The goal for the meeting with the applicant is to determine if a win-win solution can be obtained. Legal battles eat up everyones resources and the only ones who seem to gain are the lawyers. The two designated representatives hope to meet soon with the applicant.
8/13 Community Meeting Scheduled. The Illahee Community Club has scheduled a meeting for next Wednesday 8/13/08 at 6 pm at the Unitarian Church on Perry Ave. The club’s lawyer for this project, Ryan Vancil, will be there to explain the case and answer questions.
An Expensive Case. This will be an expensive case if it can’t be resolved, as expensive expert witness are necessary to explain the issues. This is in addition to the costs of legal representation. Note that after the Illahee Outfall hearings, the reported lessons learned by the Community Club was to skip the appeal the the Commissioners and go directly to Superior Court.
Funds Are Urgently Needed. The Community Club has said that significant funds will be required for this appeal and whereas the SHB request was for $150 gifts, the Timbers Edge case will likely require $200 plus gifts from many more people.
Hopeful? Most of the people we have talked with are hopeful the meeting with the applicant will be successful and that the community can limit its legal costs to just those incurred to the date a resolution is obtained.