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Hawk Property plan approved by Covington City Council
The Covington City Council unanimously approved the Hawk Property subarea plan at the Tuesday meeting.
Richard Hart, Covington Development Director, said the State Environmental Policy Act, known as SEPA, was completed and the next step was for the City Council to consider approving the subarea development plan and the planned action ordinance, which it did at the council meeting.
The environmental policy and planned action ordinance gives minimum and maximum parameters for issues such as the environmental impacts, traffic plans and access.
“Now we don’t need to go through additional public statements and SEPA notifications,” Hart said. “It saves the developer and neighborhood from having to watch for changes in densities, impacts, traffic, etc.”
The Hawk Property subarea is 212 acres of land located southeast of state Route 18 on the northern border of the city. It consists of the Lakeside gravel mine, an asphalt batch plant, which will be removed, and a highway interchange. The city initiated a study in 2013 to look at the environmental impact of developing this property.
Plans for the area include commercial businesses, such as restaurants, and offering some residential uses along with a small recreational pond and walking trails.
Only a handful of citizens commented on the project during a public hearing on Jan. 28, most of whom voiced excitement about the venture.
However, Peter Rimbos, a member of the Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Council provided some opposition, suggesting to the council that traffic from the project would adversely impact the area.
Hart said all of Rimbos’s concerns were addressed in the final environmental statement and the actual incremental increases are a “very small portion” for the traffic that travels on SR 516.
“This project is not the problem,” Hart said. “The problem is the narrow two-lane roadway on 216.”
With the approval of the subarea plan by the council, the next step will be the development agreement over details like phasing for road, park and trail improvements. The city would also still need to annex the vacant 80 acres of land on the eastern edge of the property.
If all goes as planned, Hart said road construction could begin by the end of the year.
“We’re not quite finished, but this is the first big step that actually gives entitlement to the property to be developed with these land uses and the proposed zoning,” Hart said.