Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The City stalls on landscape maintenance at Camwest's "Perrigo Heights" development.

Opinion:  The cement box photos show a "wet vault" (tagged with graffiti).  Vaults are designed to remove stormwater sediment and polluting chemicals.  This vault was built by Camwest Development, Inc. over two years ago as part of a 24-home "Perrigo Heights" urban forest housing project in Redmond. The vault was tagged with red graffiti in mid-January of this year.  This small photo was taken from the popular Ashford PED-BIKE Trail that connects 6 neighborhoods and two parks to three nearby schools.

VAULT SCREENING:  The city removed the graffiti (right photo) four weeks after it was reported to Mr. Fischer, a city development planner.  The deciduous saplings planted next to the vault by Camwest (see photo) will give no visual screening seven months of the year.   Furthermore, small deciduous trees create no physical barrier to graffiti vandals.   In response to citizen feedback, the city administration established a vague plan to install evergreen screening, as follows:

City Planner Steve Fischer said in a February email:
"I am working with other city staff to implement the planting of some evergreens between the trail and the vault. The response that I have received has all been positive so I am hopeful that that we can enhance the screening of the vault. This is still early on in the process so I do not have information about quantity or type of plant materials or when planting might take place. I am hopeful that I can begin to obtain answers to those questions in the coming weeks."  February 10, 2010. 
Almost four months later, the Administration has taken no action and it's now past the planting season. In a meeting with a Camwest manager, I was told the City IS responsible for maintaining vaults on parcels larger than 9 lots, like this one.  But, Camwest is responsible for removing the fencing and meeting landscaping requirements.

FENCING: It's been almost four years since the Final Decision of the Perrigo Heights preliminary plat and two years since construction began. Yet, the black cloth fencing and orange construction fencing is still staked up.  The Administration is sitting on Camwest landscaping maintenance performance bonds and taking no action.  Why? 

I showed these pictures of the "unfinished business" to the Code ReWrite Commission.  One photo showed two houses only 6-8 feet apart from each other.  They looked, yawned, and moved on. 

The Camwest Development, Inc. "Perrigo Heights" project has been controversial from the day it was zoned low-moderate density, single family home, over ~15 years ago, during the Ives Administration.  Approximately eight of 12 buildable acres of hillside mixed conifer - hardwood forest was clear-cut, after 500 citizens marched in protest through the woods.  "Perrigo Heights" development seriously impacts three State Fish & Wildlife Priority Habitats:   Hartman bog-wetland habitat and Priority Urban Forest Open Space habitat and woody debris log habitat.   
OPINION By Bob Yoder
Photos by Yoder
Seattle Times Communities Partner

1 comment:

Bob Yoder said...

The Council agreed to revise RMC 15.24 to meet new Dept. of Ecology standards requiring a Manual be on file for every project that will need stormwater maintenance. According to Camwest,the city is responsible for maintaining vaults on Preliminary Plats, thus the Manual should be on file with the city (and the HOA). According to Camwest, developers (and HOA) of Short Plats are responsible for maintaining vaults on short plats, the Manual should technically be on file with the City, Developer (and the HOA)?

Revision of RMC 15.24 - Clearing, Grading and Stormwater Management