When I learned Jefferson County Department of Community Development (JCDCD) had greenlighted a 48-unit (96 when ADUs are included) luxury housing …
Outdated, incomplete studies used during review
When I learned Jefferson County Department of Community Development (JCDCD) had greenlighted a 48-unit (96 when ADUs are included) luxury housing proposal at the Discovery Bay Golf Club I was shocked.
This matters to all of us because if JCDCD can do such a poor job assessing this one proposal, then our regulations and Comprehensive Plan mean nothing.
The county used outdated and incomplete studies, and failed to require documents mandated by law: no detailed stormwater plan, no habitat management plan and no plan for golf course run-off management. They ignored comments, not only from concerned residents but also from 15 agencies including calls for environmental testing and archaeological assessment from Washington state Departments of Ecology and Archaeology and two local Tribes which should be done before State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review or subdivision approval.
The development “protects” only the golf greens by jeopardizing streams and destroying woodlands. The first nine holes of the golf course are historic, but development will entail destruction of its classic vistas. The more recent “back nine” already cut deep swathes into the woodlands. Overlaying the developer drawings onto a satellite image shows clearly that most remaining trees are vulnerable.
The developer provided flawed documents. For example: Arrows show southward flow on the west slope of the golf course. I walk the Cape George woods owned by our HOA, and know that there is a steep western slope from that green into our woods: a slight rain drains to that area. The developer knows this: their pipes dump stormwater there. The arrows they drew simply defy the drawing’s contour lines! Removing upslope trees will dramatically increase run-off pressure on our woods and ultimately on the homesites across Cape George Road.
The preservation of rural character and habitat mandated by the Growth Management Act and spelled out in our county’s Comprehensive Plan requires us to carefully consider future development. Once woodlands are cut down and wetlands fouled, both rural character and habitat are irreparably lost. Both regulations and common sense demand that we ask how much more development can the land sustain?
I joined concerned neighbors as co-appellant alongside the Discovery Bay Action Alliance challenging JCDCD’s SEPA Determination of Non-Significance. I believe sustainable development is both possible and necessary. JCDCD needs to hold the developer accountable, as this county agency is supposed to represent our interests as residents and taxpayers, not just the interests of the developer.