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Highway 9­ – Cathcart Way development may need to be re-plotted

CATHCART — The most dogged fighter to a 286-townhome development on the southwest corner of Highway 9 and Cathcart Way called it a victory that a section of the development has been remanded for further environmental work.
Debbie Wetzel’s appeal centers on a proposed Community Transit park-and-ride tied to the development. The plan applied a rulebook for the wrong type of zoning for the land.
County Hearing Examiner Peter Camp last week agreed with county planners that the “proposed stormwater plan had been prepared and reviewed as if the site were within an urban growth area, although it is not,” and that requires changing it, he wrote in his Jan. 5 remand back to county planners.
Developer D.R. Horton plans for 286 townhomes, a mini-storage center and a fast food restaurant. It’s named Cathcart Crossing at the moment. Horton is developing the adjacent park-and-ride lot as part of the project.
Wetzel noted how the plan places the stormwater drainage areas for the townhouse development on the park-and-ride property by how it’s laid out. Putting the stormwater drainage area on this land violates state code, Wetzel writes, because this parcel is zoned Rural R-5. State code about rural land dictates drainage on the land should be by natural means.
The neighboring parcel where the townhomes would be built is zoned for semi-urban development.
Designating the drainage over on the park-and-ride parcel serves the purpose of allowing more residential units on the townhome parcel, Wetzel asserts.
Modifying the stormwater drainage plan could open the chance the site layout would need reworking, a county planner said at the hearing.
The changes shouldn’t affect critical areas, a D.R. Horton representative said at the hearing.
If the changes do ultimately affect the critical areas, though, it opens a series of revised environmental reviews to decide if there’s a determination of non-significance, and potentially could spark a larger environmental review which requires another round of public hearings.
The townhouse parcel utilizes most of the 31-acre space for buildings.
The hearing examiner also ordered that county planners show that the park-and-ride has been approved by both the County Council and Community Transit’s board, and to come back with that information, to be able to proceed.
The County Council does not handle land sales of its surplus land, and the public works department administered the purchase-and-sale agreement together with its real estate broker.
County planners will need to likely come back before the hearing examiner with corrections.
Building the park-and-ride itself requires a conditional use permit that can show it is compatible with its rural R-5 zoning. The neighboring parcel where the townhomes would be built is zoned for semi-urban development.
The park-and-ride lot also requires filling in two wetlands.
Camp is prohibited from press interviews on active matters, the hearing examiner’s office said.
The county sold the 47 acres as government surplus in 2020 with a vision of seeing a mix of development plus a park-and-ride happen.
D.R. Horton agreed to construct the park-and-ride along Highway 9 to obtain an approximately $1 million discount as an optional deal offered by the county.
The call for an environmental re-review of the park-and-ride lot was filed in September around the time an appeal against the larger project was being heard by the County Council.
The council dismissed that appeal 5-0 under legal guidance. Neighbors sought to have the entire project sent back to a public hearing process, contending the project was improperly approved.

Links to selected past Tribune coverage:

Project at corner of SR 9 – Cathcart Way got OK too quietly, appeal accuses

County Council dismisses appeal claiming impropriety in Cathcart development approval



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