Mill Creek neighbors oppose townhouse development

MILL CREEK — Neighbors here are fighting a proposed housing development set to be built just south of the city limits.

Kirkland-based Westcott Homes wants to build 149 townhouses on 14 acres along old Seattle Hill Road.

The proposed site is just off the Bothell-Everett Highway, south of 164th Street SE. It is part of an unincorporated part of Snohomish County between Mill Creek and Bothell.

Some who live near the Mill Creek Country Club golf course don’t want the site to be developed.

But Snohomish County Planning Department Supervisor Michael Dobesh said the land is in the county’s southwest urban growth area. It’s designated for high-density residential use to accommodate the county’s growing population, which is expected to swell by more than 200,000 in the next couple of decades.

Building rules allow for townhouses in that area to be built up to 45 feet tall with 25-foot setbacks from neighboring properties with single-family homes. Dobesh said the neighborhood is most likely to be annexed into Mill Creek.

A handful of people from The Lakes at Mill Creek Homeowners Association, a 35-house subdivision just north of the proposed development, voiced concerns about the development at the City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Jan Ott, the HOA’s president, said the “middle-income” townhouses don’t fit with the character of the neighborhood. She cited concerns about decreased property values, increased traffic and the loss of trees.

Another resident, Sara Grode, said she worries that schools could become more crowded with young, middle-income families moving in.

Shelly Henderson, also of The Lakes, was among those concerned about privacy.

“It’s not that we want to be difficult,” she said. “It’s just the plans are so obtrusive.”

Westcott did not immediately return calls for comment.

Neighbors suggested the city work with the county to build a park or “higher-end,” single-family homes on the site instead of the townhouses.

Mayor Pam Pruitt said she’s looking into options for the property. The city is reviewing the plans and will submit comments to the county, which is taking public input.

Written comments can be emailed to Dobesh said staff will continue to accept input even after the Nov. 9 deadline listed on the application notice for the proposal.

Planners will review the proposal and ask the developer to address people’s concerns. A public hearing will then be scheduled before the county Hearing Examiner, who will ultimately approve or deny the project.

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; Twitter: @AmyNileReports.

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