By JAKE BERG
Published October 7, 2020
Development on Terrace Avenue
SNOHOMISH — Housing construction company DR Horton held an online meeting Thursday, Sept. 24 to address the concerns of Walsh Hills’ neighbors.
The “neighborhood discussion” was held prior to the city taking action on the project and was intended for citizens to ask questions and give their input. Consultants and representatives from DR Horton ran the meeting while city officials listened in along with the community.
The hourlong meeting began with a
30-minute slide show presentation of the proposed project, addressing concerns expressed previously by citizens. Following the slide show, citizens had 30 minutes for public comment.
It was apparent that the neighbors of Walsh Hills think that 113 homes is too much for the site and neighborhood to handle. Concerns of density, safety, soil integrity, construction hours and traffic increases were topics of debate.
One citizen said he felt like the representatives were threatening the community with what they could do, referring to the density. Representatives from DR Horton reiterated that the density the site allows for is much larger than what is proposed, adding that the area could allow for over 300 lots. DR Horton is proposing 113.
Another big concern from residents was the slope on the backside of the site. The steep slope is prone to landslides and neighbors worry the construction could make that worse. Representatives expressed that the reason this slope is slide prone is because of the amount of water that runs down the hill, saturating the soil making it unstable. It was stated the construction will actually fix that problem, installing stormwater run off pipes that will carry the water down the slope rather than rainwater naturally saturating the soil, causing the hill side to eventually slip off.
Pedestrian safety was also a large topic of conversation because of the lack of sidewalks in the neighborhood combined with the additional traffic a development of this size will cause.
In regards to sidewalks, DR Horton would be responsible for street upgrades along Terrace Avenue, the access point to the Walsh Hills site. However, they said the city is responsible for the additional sidewalks throughout the rest of the neighborhood.
A citizen stated he has a “Ph.D in dodging cars” in that neighborhood already, and adding 113 more homes is going to make the problem worse.
According to a traffic analysis done in late 2019, traffic increase will be “negligible” following the construction of 113 homes. Citizens questioned how the addition of that many homes and cars would not increase the traffic in the area.
Construction hours were brought up. Neighbors of the site were concerned that noise from the construction site would be constant. DR Horton assured that they will be operating within the allowed business hours in the Snohomish, although they were unsure if that also allowed for work to be done on the weekends.
Residents of the area were also asking for DR Horton to reduce the amount of homes proposed for the Walsh Hills site, and became upset when representatives stated the proposal for 113 homes was approved by the hearing mitigation.
Many of the citizens’ questions were answered by asking them to email their concerns personally to Matt Houghen, president of CHP Consultants and meeting facilitator.
Representatives from DR Horton did not respond to the Tribune by deadline.
Those commenting at the meeting grew even angrier as they felt their questions were not being answered, wondering what the point of the meeting was if no new information was presented.
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