Planningcommission votes against Seagrass project

Published on Thu, Jun 1, 2006 by ack Kintner

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Planning commission votes against Seagrass project

By Jack Kintner

By a 4-3 vote, the Blaine planning commission recommended that Blaine City Council deny the Trillium Corporation’s most recent site plan for developing the 22-acre Seagrass Condominium project on Semiahmoo Spit.

The plan calls for 68 living units clustered in eight duplexes and 13 four-plexes, and includes low-density areas as well as a set aside for a small park.

Voting against recommending approval were commission members Jouko Noso, Paul Greenough, Harry Robinson and vice-chair Sue Sturgill.

Chairman Jeff Arntzen, Ken Oplinger and David Bailey voted to recommend that the council approve the plan.

“Looking at it as a planning commission member, I felt they satisfied our concerns about impermeable surfaces,” said Oplinger after the vote. “All along we’ve wanted them to maintain at least 60 percent of the land area in permeable surfaces, and they did this with underground parking. That means the run-off will be coming off relatively clean surfaces – roofs – instead of driveways.”

But commission member Harry Robinson said that despite the underground parking idea, “those of us who voted against it felt that density was [still] the major issue.”

Robinson pointed out that the master plan in the area of the spit where Seagrass would be built allows for slightly less than four acres to be covered by impermeable surfaces such as roofs and pavement, and that Trillium’s most recent plan is still about 60 percent too high.
“I felt that because of the way the master plan is worded it was important that they try to maintain the intent of it, and this wasn’t accomplished,” Robinson said.

This is the second time that Trillium has failed to gain a positive recommendation from the planning commission.

Last summer, following some well-attended hearings in the performing arts center, the commission voted 6-1 against approval and the city council agreed, in effect requiring Trillium to modify its proposal and then re-submit it to the planning commission.

Last week’s vote was the result, but city council can choose to approve the project despite recommendations from the planning commission. The city council’s consideration of the matter has not yet been scheduled.

The Blaine city council has also scheduled a meeting to discuss findings of the alternative land use committee at 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 5 at the council chambers. For more information call Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic at 332-8311.