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Covington sends letter of comment to Black Diamond regarding The Villages and Lawson Hills developments

The Covington City Council approved a letter of comment that will be sent to the city of Black Diamond regarding YarrowBay’s The Villages and Lawson Hills master planned developments.

The letter was written by the staff and will be signed by Mayor Margaret Harto.

The two developments will include more than 6,000 residences along with retail, industrial and office space.

The draft letter in the City Council packet is addressed to Steve Pilcher, community development director for Black Diamond, and refers to the traffic mitigation for the projects. The letter thanked Pilcher for working with Covington and stated, “As you might imagine, Covington is keenly interested in the next step, which is to ensure the proposed mitigation measures become a reality.”

Traffic mitigation fees will help offset the impacts of the additional cars that will be on the road from Black Diamond through Covington once the developments are built.

During discussion of the draft letter, Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Wagner said he “would like to congratulate our staff for staying on top of this.”

The council asked for one line in the draft document be changed that stated if the “land use approval” did not meet mitigation requirements for Covington, the city would appeal it to Superior Court.

Councilman Wayne Snoey said, “The process has been very friendly.” He asked for the line to be removed.

Councilman Mark Lanza said, “This has been amicable and I’m really glad our staff has stayed on top of this. That may not have been the case with our neighboring city (Maple Valley).”

Sara Springer, Covington’s city attorney, noted removing the sentence did not change the city’s legal standing to appeal if the traffic mitigation was not considered to be adequate.

The letter requested Black Diamond’s land use approval require YarrowBay to “enter into an agreement with Covington whereby the applicant will:

• Estimate the cost of proposed mitigation projects,

• Estimate the applicant’s proportionate share of each such project,

• Require mitigation payments to Covington on at least the same schedule on which mitigation payments are made to Black Diamond,

• Review the intersection of Covington Way SE and SE Wax Road, the one intersection where proposed mitigation measures may be inadequate, and

• Require regular reviews to assess the actual impacts of the developments over time and allow for opportunities to evaluate the need for additional mitigation measures and require additional mitigation payments. This is similar to the process used at Redmond Ridge.”

Letter of Comment 2 26

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