New developments feed Birch Bay housing boom

Published on Thu, Nov 7, 2002 by Meg Olson

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New developments feed Birch Bay housing boom

By Meg Olson

Two housing projects proposed for the Birch Bay area could create 250 new single family homes in the south end of the bay.

“The reason we chose this area is that it’s one of the fastest growing around,” said Skip Jansen of JIJ Corporation, which has plans to develop 36 acres at the corner of Jackson and Bay roads. “It’s close to the water and it’s a great area for both young working families and retirees.”

The proposed Baycrest subdivision cleared its first regulatory hurdle in September when county council approved changing the parcel’s designation from short-term to long-term planning area, allowing it to develop to the density of the underlying urban residential zoning. The county hearing examiner has also given preliminary approval to the 131-lot subdivision.

Jansen said they hope to have the first phase of the project – 48 serviced lots – ready by next summer. Birch Bay Water and Sewer District has agreed to provide water and sewer to the new subdivision. “Prices haven’t been set yet but they’ll be reasonably priced,” Jansen said. Lots will cover a range of sizes, from a modest 7,200 square feet to a spacious 12,000.

Jansen said Baycrest will be more than lots and roads, incorporating recreational areas and amenities. A pond, part of the stormwater system, has already been built. The development includes at least 10,000 square feet for a recreational area, which an association of Baycrest homeowners will decide how they want used. “There will be a path going right down to the public beach access,” Jansen said. “I have a feeling the main recreation area will end up being the beach.”

Malibu Associates is one step behind Baycrest but on the same path. On October 10 the county planning commission approved moving a 90-acre parcel from long-term to short term planning areas, and county council will review the proposal November 12.

Ken Hertz, one of the partners in Malibu Associates, said the zoning change was a prerequisite to bringing utilities to the 90-acre parcel straddling Point Whitehorn Road north of Grandview. “Then we’ll be putting in the subdivision proposal,” Hertz said.

County planning director Sylvia Goodwin said that preliminary discussions about the development painted a picture of a clustered subdivision preserving wetlands and some forested areas on the property. “With 90 acres they could have 360 lots but they said they wouldn’t have half that many,” she said.

Hertz said the project was not likely to go ahead until 2004. “It’s going to depend on the market and the plans for the subdivision,” Hertz said. “The site deserves a good plan and decent lots. We hope to have well planned, reasonably priced lots.”

Pat Milliken worked with the community group developing the Birch Bay community plan, now undergoing county and environmental review.

“These projects are in sync with the plan’s vision, whose land use map envisioned housing developments similar to that on those pieces of land,” he said. The group focused on how to accommodate a rapidly growing population and determined that 7,200 new single and multifamily units would be needed within the next 20 years.

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