Opinion

Citizens have chance to weigh in

Citizens have a chance to weigh in on whether the largest single family residential development in 28 years is a well planned development.  The packed council chambers overflowed into the hallway on Wednesday, January 15th. The good news is there will be a second public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 29  because the Planning Commissioners were listening. We thank them. A free association of citizens that care about the Coval property development is called Mercer Island-Friends of Responsible Neighborhood Development  (MI-FRNDS). Written comments must be sent to the city by 5 p.m., Jan. 22 care of Shana Crick at shana.crick@mercergov.org.

The issues voiced:

Citizens and experts worried that the topography of the 5-acre parcel has attributes shown on city maps that are worrisome: Steep slopes, a slide area and watercourse. Others spoke passionately that the narrow street of 84th is just not able to safely accept all the traffic from 18 large tightly packed homes much less construction vehicles. If the school bond passes another school will be built on the southwest corner of the mega block at the south end of our quiet neighborhood.

After the city staff presented the plan approximately 40 citizens took part. Former councilman, Mike Grady questioned whether the plan was following the strong sustainability and environmental ordinances the city has in place and shared federal water quality numbers the city is not meeting along the north shore of the island. Attorney Rick Aramburu presented a binder of information with abroad range of topics and experts to testify. There was concern about shortcuts in process, a hydrologist doubted the formulas used for the retention vault and run off, an ecologist stated there is a watercourse and indications of wetlands on site, an urban planner showed drawings to at least preserve the coy pond, have watercourse buffers, slope setbacks and tree retention. He named islands developers who kept larger green spaces and made just as much money by cutting back on the number of homes. A critique of the traffic study prompted questions from commissioners. June Lindsay spoke of the legacy of environmental efforts she participated in over decades to rousing applause.

Citizens who care about our community are invited to attend the Planning Commission meeting at City Hall, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29.

The City Council it tentatively scheduled to consider whether to approve the Coval Long Plat as early as Monday, February 3rd.  We ask that citizens check the web site often for updates.

Together citizens can make a difference.

T.J. and Sue Stewart

 

 

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