Wetlands will restrict building on club’s land

MUKILTEO – The Boys &Girls Club will have to be creative to cram ball fields and a new club building on a wetland-laden piece of property in Mukilteo.

Only 3.6 acres of a 12-acre piece of Harbour Pointe property donated by the state for youth recreation can be built upon due to the wetlands, according to a study done by city consultants.

The club’s current Mukilteo building at 1134 Second St. is small and aging. Club officials were overjoyed earlier this year when the state Legislature gave the city the land, which is valued at $3.7 million. The city will lease it to the club.

The plan for the site was to build a new Mukilteo club and several ball fields that could be used by club members and leased to other youth groups for sports.

But only a 1.1-acre portion on the north end of the site at 10600 47th Place W. and a 2.48-acre area at the south end are not covered by either wetlands or “buffers” in which development cannot take place and are large enough to build on.

The plan remains the same; it’s just going to be tricky to pull it off, said Paul Seely, director of community development for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County.

“I’m not daunted by it at all,” Seely said. “I’m happy because the city of Mukilteo wants to make this work.”

City administrator Rich Leahy said city law provides for some wiggle room in its wetland buffers. “Buffer averaging” may be done to allow building to occur closer to the wetlands in some areas and farther away in others, Leahy said.

He said the city would work with the Boys and Girls Club “to see if we can cram 10 pounds of sausage into a five-pound casing.”

Ball fields and buildings with parking lots must be at least 150 feet away from three of the four wetlands on the property, and 80 feet from the small one at the north end, Leahy said.

Lighter development, such as nature trails, would need to be 110 feet from one of the wetlands, 100 feet from two, and 60 feet from the northernmost one, he added.

The wetlands were surveyed by OTAK of Kirkland and evaluated and classified by Pentec Environmental of Edmonds, Leahy said.

The bad news is that the Boys and Girls Club had planned on 1.75 acres for a club building, while the northern usable portion is only 1.1 acres, Seely said. The good news is the usable areas are in two chunks rather than scattered through the property, he said.

“I still think it can be done,” Seely said.

The area at the south end should be big enough for a couple of ball fields, he added.

“You don’t know until you do a site plan,” Seely said, adding that he expects a draft plan to be done by the end of the month.

Seely said the club is just happy the land is available. “If this was really prime developable real estate, we wouldn’t even be in the game,” he said.

Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or sheets@ heraldnet.com.

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