Councilapproves 62-lot subdivision

Published on Thu, Aug 11, 2005 by ara Nelson

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Council approves 62-lot subdivision

By Tara Nelson

At Monday’s council meeting, Blaine City Council approved the Inverness development, a 62-lot residential subdivision on Semiahmoo Parkway, after existing Semiahmoo residents raised concerns about golf balls and views.

The Inverness development was proposed by Trillium Corporation of Bellingham, which founded Semiahmoo two decades ago. Approval followed lengthy discussion by residents of Semiahmoo before Trillium conceded it would increase setbacks on certain lots that impeded view and the play of golf.

According to the development’s master plan, a house cannot be built closer than 30 feet from the edge of the golf course property. But Trillium said it would go back to 40 feet on four lots on a particularly narrow portion of the golf course.

The council approved the amendment 5-0 and residents agreed the greater setback would also reserve their view.

The development includes 62 single-family tracts on 25 acres and three multi-family tracts on 4.3 acres as well as 7.7 acres of open space, on the southeastern corner of Semiahmoo Golf Course.

Trevor Hoskins, a resident of Semiahmoo, who was concerned that the setback was too narrow not only for homeowners, but also for golfers who in the event of property damage would be liable, said he was impressed by Trillium’s responsiveness.

“I was very pleased the Trillium was sensitive enough to meet people at least half way,” he said. “I would have liked to see 20 feet added to the setback on the lots on the narrow part of the fairway, but it’s a nice compromise.”

Other residents such as Larry and Bonnie Larson, who live on Great Horned Owl Lane, said they worried about view obstructions.

“Some five years ago when we bought our home, we thought this was a great community,” Larson said. “Trillium is now selling that view to some other folks and we knew that could have been a possibility. But what we also knew was that Semiahmoo has been planned right. All of those lots are the same size of our lots. We have a 50-foot setback. To not have the same setback is not appropriate.”

Council member Bonnie Onyon expressed concern about maintaining the forest vegetation that runs along the parkway.

“To me the ambiance of Semiahmoo is the large trees around the homes and on the parkway,” she said. “You take away the trees from Semiahmoo and you just have any other tract.”

Trillium vice president of real estate and special projects Wayne Schwandt said the company also had similar concerns when it developed the proposal.

“We’re trying to maintain that because that is what has enhanced that area,” he said.

Galvin said he recommended the council approve the plan subject to a number of conditions that include landscaping provisions, bicycle paths and proof that the project will contribute to road improvements.

Mayor John Liebert asked what would happen if Trillium did not comply to the conditions.

“What can we do once the project starts?” he said.
Galvin said in such a case, the city could postpone the final approval of the development.

“In that case, we can pull out the ultimate weapon,” he said. “Which is holding off on the final approval until every one of those conditions is met.”
The council approved the proposal based in part on the following conditions:
• Tracts “d,” “e,” and “f” remain undeveloped until a segment of Semiahmoo Parkway is incorporated into the plan.
• Provide a landscape and maintenance recreation plan illustrating all vegetation, parks trails and greenbelts.
• The site must conform to the greenbelt and buffer requirements stipulated in the landscape plan.
• Improve the existing pedestrian and bicycle path along Semiahmoo Parkway.
• Secure a letter from the school district, assuring their ability to provide service.
• If the storm water detention treatment facility planned for the tract is relocated it shall be turned into a park.