Illahee Update 1/29/12 Questions, Boundary, Annexation, UGA Removal?, Sewers, Critical Areas, Aquifers, Shoreline Zoning, Split Illahee, Feb 6 Decisions

Questions. Lots of questions about what can and should be done at the informational meeting on Tuesday (1/31/12).  (This is the meeting Eric Baker, the Special Projects Manager for the county, will explain the zoning options available.  The meeting is for the public and is from 6-8 pm at the library on Sylvan Way.)

Illahee Boundaries? It was noted that the maps in the previous update did not have the Illahee Community boundaries shown.  The boundary is shown in white below.
Annexation to Bremeton? A number of people forgot that if you are in an Urban Growth Area (UGA) and are next to a city like Bremerton, that you are in a targeted area for annexation.  This is why some would like to have Illahee removed from the UGA as they don’t want to annexed and be forced to have the high density zoning that comes with sewers.  We checked with Bremerton the other day and were told that Bremerton is nearly all sewered, with only about 100 residents still on septics.  Urban growth areas are required by law to push for high densities and to be on sewers.

Annexation to Silverdale? At one time there were discussions about whether an eventual city of Silverdale would be able to extend itself toward Bremerton and present the possibility that Illahee could be annexed by Silverdale.  When the Barker Creek corridor was established as rural, it became an urban separator which meant Bremerton would eventually annex all the area from Barker Creek south and the eventual city of Silverdale would have the area north of Barker Creek.

Removal From the UGA? The only way to prevent the future annexation of Illahee by Bremerton is to have Illahee taken out of the UGA.  We don’t think the entire community of Illahee can be removed from the UGA, but that is a question worth asking.

Criteria for Removal? We have heard there needs to be a reason or reasons for consideration for removal from the UGA.  One of the primary reasons for removal would be the high cost to bring services to an area.  Many years ago the county wanted to put in another north-south road through the area and found the steep and unstable slopes around Illahee Creek made it too difficult and costly, so the only north-south road east of State Highway 303 is Illahee Road, one and a half miles away.  The steep and unstable slopes that prevent roadways also inhibit other infrastructure, such as sewers.

Sewer Systems? The next most costly infrastructure item is sewer, which in hilly and steep areas, often require multiple pump stations.  Pump stations are very expensive and often required to be paid for by the developer.  (Note:  In the case of the Timbers Edge project the developer was only required to put in a temporary pressurized pump system, which was a surprise to some, as the county required a full pump station for the Illahee North project.)

Side Note – TE Sewer System To Happen? The county maps show the Timbers Edge sewer lines and temporary pump station as it was an approved preliminary plat.  As noted in an earlier update, this could still be a possibility for Illahee if another developer purchases the properties scheduled for auction on February 24th, which is why the ICC would like to see the Port intervene.

Illahee Critical Areas? On the county website are critical area maps.  The many critical areas of Illahee will likely be the justification needed for consideration of removal from the UGA.

Illahee Aquifers? Outside of the steep slope critical areas are a few areas with a more level topography.  It is harder to justify these as areas of lower density, unless one considers that fact the our aquifers are already at water balance.  Shown below is a map of the critical aquifer recharge areas around Illahee.  We know that well extractions are already decreasing the base flows in Illahee Creek.  The county has asked that we provide those studies to them.
Shoreline Zoning? We have been asked if this is a good time to bring up the inconsistency of having high density zoning along the shorelines in the north part of Illahee that have been labeled “Conservancy”.  The reasons for the conservancy designation are high steep banks (critical areas) and the natural state of the shoreline.  The county is proposing a dual designation for these shorelines: “Urban Conservancy” and “Urban Residential”.  The concern is whether you can have shorelines that are recognized as being in a more pristine state alongside an upland high density development (5-9 homes per acre).  Many noted when this was discussed in 2006 that they thought a more appropriate zoning density would be 1-4 homes per acre.

Split Illahee? If we look at the Alternative 1 maps on the website (shown in the last update), it appears the Illahee Community could be split between portions in and out of the Urban Growth Area.  If the topography of the land is to be the prominent and deciding criteria, then a split Illahee may make sense.

Feb 6th Decisions? It appears decisions need to be made quickly, which is why we are responding to these questions early.  Eric will present the alternatives to us and decisions will need to be made quickly by the community.  The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has set Monday evening, February 6, 2012, as the time to receive public testimony.  They will make a decision to choose several options which will go through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  The deadline for a final submittal is August 2012, which is why things are proceeding so quickly.

Your Decision? If the community is going to reach a majority decision to present to the BOCC, it will need to be discussed and voted on following the county’s presentation.  Please look through the material on the county’s website and ask questions on Tuesday so we will know where individuals and the greater community stands.  This is a one time opportunity to control the future of Illahee.
Jim Aho