The decision renders largely moot ongoing attempts to stall the project, including legislation in Olympia and a zoning challenge to a state growth board. Neighbors in Woodway and Shoreline worry about its effect on traffic and their quality of life.
"What happens next is we have at least 45 days to see if we can reach an agreement with both Woodway and Shoreline," said Gary Huff, a Seattle attorney representing developer BSRE Point Wells. "We talked about getting together next week to see if it's possible."
Staff from Woodway and Shoreline joined Friday's application meeting with county planners. If the developer cannot reach an agreement, the project would have to pass muster with an appointed Snohomish County design review board, among other steps.
The energy and real estate company behind the project says its plans would transform an aging fuel-storage facility into a showpiece of cutting-edge architecture.
A huge worry for neighbors is that the only way to reach the 61-acre site in unincorporated Snohomish County is by a two-lane road through Shoreline, in King County. Opponents also say the Point Wells plans are too big for the low-density surrounding neighborhoods.
The project is the brainchild of Shraga Biran, an Israeli attorney who's a principal in Alon Group. The international energy and real-estate company, with headquarters in Israel, includes Blue Square Real Estate, the parent company for BSRE Point Wells.
The project would be built under rules for urban centers, a type of zoning the county established last year. Other zoned urban centers are on highways or freeways.
The documents that county planners accepted Friday are similar to what BSRE Point Wells presented at a January public meeting. Plans call for 3,081 homes. The tallest building would rise 17 stories and about 180 feet tall. Several other buildings would reach 16 and 14 stories.
The project would be built in four phases over 15 to 20 years. It would include a public pier and beach.
Meanwhile, the rift that the proposal has created between Woodway and Shoreline, on one side, and county government, on the other, continues to occupy state lawmakers.
On Thursday, the state House approved a bill insisting Snohomish County allow Shoreline and Woodway to oversee some of the environmental review work. It passed 63-35 and next goes to the Senate for consideration.
Democratic Reps. Ruth Kagi of Lake Forest Park and Cindy Ryu of Shoreline drew up House Bill 1265 as a protective measure for their constituents. Ryu, a former Shoreline mayor, said concerns about the scope of the project have "caused a multi-year angst with no resolution in sight." She said she hopes this "good neighbor" bill will change the dynamic.
Opponents of the bill said the state should not be intervening in a local matter.
Jerry Cornfield contributed to this report.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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