Hearing examiner remands Cave Avenue project to city

City Hearing Examiner Margaret Klockars has remanded the application for a proposed multifamily subdivision back to the planning and public works departments for further consideration involving three specific issues.

John and Alice Tawresey are seeking city approval of a residential development on Cave Avenue, located between the dead-end road and State Route 305 to the west, and Winslow Way East and the Winslow Ravine to the north. The R-8 zoned project consists of eight lots and 20 multifamily units, with each lot containing between two and four units.

Currently, about 20 single-family residents live along Cave Avenue or just off of it in cul-de-sacs; a five-unit condominium building is located at the southern end of the road, nearest Winslow Way.

Klockars presided over an Oct. 1 public hearing on the application and returned her order for remand last Friday. The hearing drew several Cave Avenue neighbors, most of whom oppose the subdivision. Besides city staff, John Tawresey was the only person in attendance speaking in support of the development.

Klockars took exception with three specific findings presented by the city:

• The Tawreseys had sought reduction of the south slope of the Winslow Ravine adjacent to three of the proposed lots from the minimum buffer requirement of 80 feet down to 25 feet. Staff had judged 25 feet "reasonable" because the 20 units would increase density in the Winslow Master Plan study area as intended because similar reductions have been approved on the north side of the ravine.

"The record does not show that there was a determination that no other reasonable alternative exist," Klockars wrote. "The record needs to reflect that the proper analysis was conducted if the reduction is to be approved."

• The city did not require a "concurrency test" regarding the estimated increase in new trips the development would cause during the PM peak hours; instead it used a "rule of thumb" that when a project would generate fewer than 10 trips (seven in this instance, a consultant said) during the peak hours it would not be expected to alter the existing level of service at intersections.

Klockars said: "While the rule of thumb of fewer than 10 trips appears to be a reasonable measure, the City Council has not delegated authority to establish any further exceptions to the requirement for the concurrency test, so it must be performed."

• While the city engineer determined that "the streets and pedestrians ways (along Cave Avenue) are adequate to accommodate anticipated traffic," Klockars wasn't satisfied with the conclusion since most of the street is without sidewalks and is heavily used by pedestrians.

"The city engineer did not address whether the additional vehicular traffic ... would increase the hazard to pedestrian travel in the street to the extent that mitigation would be necessary to allow for the required finding that the public safety is provided for by the preliminary subdivision. The decision makers will need a response to the safety concerns raised in the record."

As a result, the hearing's record has been reopened for the filing of information detailing Klockars' determinations and response from people who previously provided testimony or comment. Responses are limited to the aforementioned issues and must be filed inside of a 14-day period, beginning on Oct. 28. Klockars will then make a recommendation to the City Council.

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