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Decision on Coval is an opportunity
The rejection by the city council of the current proposal to build on the Coval property provides an opportunity for collaboration between the developer and the community.
I was the listing agent on the Coval Home. In a perfect world, someone who would have appreciated the home and the property would have stepped forward to buy it at the market price. It didn’t happen. Like an MS –Dos computer with a floppy drive, substantial technology changes have severely outdated the property’s mechanical systems. The swimming pool cannot be made ADA compliant. Many of the trees that are in question are fruit trees that are well beyond their life cycle and several are not producing. Arthur L. Jacobson, the renowned tree expert, visited the property last year and commented that at least half of the fruit trees would come out if this was his property.
The developers have spent months researching, planning and addressing environmental, engineering and development concerns. In reference to the watercourse, the opinion of their geologist was confirmed by a firm hired by the city. If a third study is required, would that be the routine course that builders will have to face in the future? The state of the art storm drain system will emit four to five times less water run off than there currently is now on this property! And water will be treated before it is emitted! A lot has changed in storm water treatment since most the Island was developed.
There was a suggestion to build a few cottages, but the price could not bring enough to cover the cost of the land. Mercer Island needs single family housing of adequate size to support a family. This is an important opportunity for MI to meet requirements under the Growth Management Act.
As council member Jane Brahms suggested, we need to figure out how to allow the development Mercer Island codes allow. This is going to take both parties focusing on working together. The neighbors need to take the time to actually listen and provide constructive input after actually learning more about how the environmental and aesthetic issues are addressed. I am sure the developer will be responsive.
Coldwell Banker Danforth