Neighbors’ objectionsto condos satisfied

Published on Thu, Mar 24, 2005 by ack Kintner

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Neighbors’ objections to condos satisfied

By Jack Kintner

After three hearings, held December 1, 2004, January 19 and February 9, 2005, neighborhood concerns over a proposed 55 unit condominium near the entrance to Birch Bay Leisure Park appear to have been answered. The appeal deadline passed without incident two days ago, and the nearest neighbor to the development says he was listened to and is satisfied.

“We feel good about the way things came out,” said Kelvin Barton of Birch Bay. Barton and his wife Patti own two cottages that are adjacent to Homestead Northwest’s planned development on a two and a half acre parcel next to the entrance to Birch Bay Leisure Park at 7700 Birch Bay Drive, and had contested the initial plans because of planned observation towers and potential disruption to eagle roosts on the large second-growth trees in the area.

“We were concerned about these observation towers that would have added 20 feet to the building height, and Homestead took them out of the design,” said Barton. He said that they also are happy with the way the hearing examiner settled the issue of the eagle perching sites.

Whatcom County Hearing Examiner Michael Bobbink said in his decision that, “Prior to any clearing activity on this site, the applicant shall clearly mark those trees which are to be retained and shall notify staff. No clearing shall take place until staff has reviewed the tree markings and approved the proposed clearing. Homestead shall also provide notice of the tree marking to any members of the public who request such notice.”

“They used surveyor tape, which in some places has blown away, but basically the idea is that everyone gets to see the marked trees before any are cut,” said Barton.

Another issue for people in the area had to do with beach access, since Homestead owns land to the west of Birch Bay Drive to which the public has had access for “well over a century,” according to Barton.

“The agreement keeps that area west of Birch Bay Drive open to the public,” Barton said, “which might be done anyway by adverse possession if it were ever closed off, but Homestead agreed to it.”

Barton explained that many people are used to being able to launch small boats on wheeled dollies at the site, “and this will let us continue to do that.”