Vicinity map of the Ironwood development project. (Snohomish County Council)

Vicinity map of the Ironwood development project. (Snohomish County Council)

County Council upholds approval for Bothell-area subdivision

An environmental group appealed the hearing examiner’s favorable decision on the Ironwood proposal.

EVERETT — A project to build an 88-lot subdivision in the Bothell area is advancing, despite concerns a local environmental group has raised.

The Snohomish County Council voted unanimously on Monday to uphold a decision by the county hearing examiner approving the proposed Ironwood development in January.

Pacific Ridge Homes, an affiliate of Texas-based homebuilding giant D.R. Horton, is seeking more permits needed to develop the 16-acre site east of North Road. New roads would connect the subdivision with Bellflower and Clover roads.

The Sno-King Watershed Council maintains that there are major flaws with the proposal, including lapses in the stormwater management plans.

The organization appealed the hearing examiner’s decision to the council. Now it plans to file a petition in King or Snohomish county superior court seeking legal review, said Bill Lider, an engineer who serves on the watershed council board.

Representatives of the developer say the project meets county code requirements and that the watershed council has misrepresented the facts to make its case.

“The one thing I would say (is) that it is hard to win an appeal when the project is designed per Codes and Standards,” Merle Ash, a land use consultant working on the development, said in an email. “Just coming to hearings with an overabundance of technical but deceptively untrue testimony is not going to allow the Council to change a Hearing Examiner’s decision.”

At a hearing before the County Council last week, an attorney for the environmental group argued that the developer failed to properly classify wetlands on the site and used the wrong soil type in environmental modeling — errors that, ultimately, could lead to water quality issues and excessive runoff, the watershed council contends.

The County Council adopted the hearing examiner’s conclusions that the development will not have adverse affects on public welfare or the environment.

“The county’s approval of an application at the preliminary review stage means that, among other things, the project’s design has demonstrated that it can feasibly meet stormwater regulations,” said Councilwoman Megan Dunn during the Monday meeting.

“It is normal and reasonable that additional details are provided as the permitting process continues,” Dunn said, adding that the developer “will need to provide additional information on the wetland hydrology and drainage when seeking approval of its future land disturbing activity permit.”

Hearing Examiner Peter Camp issued several approvals for the project in his decision, including a rezone and a waiver of landscaping requirements meant to provide a buffer between the new construction and surrounding property.

County Planning and Development Services is currently reviewing applications for permits needed for clearing and grading to begin on the site, said department spokesman Jacob Lambert.

A final plat must also be approved, Lambert said.

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