A public hearing and chance for public comment on a development proposal for Point Wells is scheduled for May 17 and 18 in the Robert J. Drewel Building (Admin-East Bldg) in Room 2 on the 1st floor (Stillaguamish Room) of the Snohomish County Campus. The building is at 3000 Rockefeller Avenue in Everett.
The comment times are part of a public hearing that is the final step before the Snohomish County Hearing Examiner makes his ruling to either deny or allow continued work on BSRE’s application and the draft environmental impact statement for the Urban Center development at Point Wells.
Point Wells is a 61-acre property located in the southwestern corner of Snohomish County, immediately north of the City of Shoreline and immediately west of the Town of Woodway. The only access to the site is through Shoreline using Richmond Beach Drive, a two-lane local road that dead ends at Point Wells and typically has only a few hundred cars trips a day.
Leading the opposition to this development is the advocacy group Save Richmond Beach, which has expanded into Snohomish County and become the 501(c)3 Sno-King Coalition group.
Point Wells has been used as an asphalt refinery and light petroleum products and lube oil distribution terminal since 1912. In 2000, the asphalt refinery closed, and the site has operated as a marine fuel transfer and asphalt distribution facility.
According to the Sno-King Coalition group website, the Alon Group purchased Point Wells in 2006 intending to continue using it as a petroleum distribution terminal. In 2010, Alon transferred control of the site to its real estate arm, Blue Square Real Estate (BSRE), with the intent to develop it.
Permits have been pending for Point Wells since 2011 and the developer has been in a lengthy battle with opponents of the project, including the City of Shoreline, the Town of Woodway, and Save Richmond Beach.
The plans call for multiple towers to be built, some as tall as 180 feet (the tallest buildings between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.). If approved by the county, the development is expected to add 12,000 to 15, 000 new cars trips each day to Richmond Beach Drive, more than 25 times the current number of trips, the coalition said.
The Town of Woodway and Save Richmond Beach filed suit in King County Superior Court claiming that BSRE’s vesting rights should be denied because the regulations were passed without a valid environmental review. The Superior Court ruled in favor of the Town and SRB, but the State Appeals Court and eventually the State Supreme Court ruled in BSRE’s favor, the coalition said.
On April 18, Snohomish County released its recommendation to deny BSRE’s project application for the Point Wells Urban Center. “If the Hearing Examiner confirms the county’s recommendation and denies the application, BSRE can still appeal that decision to the County Council and to Superior Court, so the decision following the May 16th hearing may not be final,” the coalition said.
According to this story in Shoreline Area News, the May 16 Snohomish County hearing will begin with BSRE making its presentation from 2-5 p.m. The county will present its recommendation to deny the application on May 17, starting at 9 a.m. and ending at noon.
The first public comment period will start on May 17 at 1:30 p.m. and extend until at least 7 p.m. The second comment period will start on May 18 at 9 a.m.
“The county has not committed to a specific length of time for this period so it is advising the public to arrive at 9 a.m. if they want to be assured of an opportunity to speak,” the coalition newsletter said.