What is Point Wells?
Point Wells is a 64-acre property located on the shore of Puget Sound in the extreme southwestern corner of Snohomish County, immediately north of the City of Shoreline. Point Wells has been used as an asphalt refinery and light petroleum products and lube oil distribution terminal for over a century.
Why should I care?
In early 2011 the owner of the Point Wells property filed a development application in Snohomish County to end commercial use of the site and instead build an Urban Center including over 3,000 residential units and over 130,000 square feet of office and retail space. The plans call for over 40 new buildings, some as tall as 180 feet (the tallest buildings between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.).
The only access to the site is through our Richmond Beach neighborhood on Richmond Beach Drive, a narrow winding two-lane local road that dead ends at Point Wells and typically has only a few hundred cars trips a day. The development is expected to add between 12,000 to 15,000 new cars trips each day to Richmond Beach Drive, more than 25 times the current number of trips. While some favor the development, many are understandably concerned that the increased traffic volume will ruin the quiet, safe and walkable neighborhoods we live in.
What’s happening now?
The developer has been working with Snohomish County for more than 7 years to get the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) written and the development application approved. This is an extraordinarily long time with most of the delay caused by the developer not submitting requested corrections and additions in a timely manner. The developer has been so slow in responding to the County’s requests, that on January 9, 2018, the County notified the developer that the County could not wait any longer and that the Planning and Development Services Department was going to recommend the application be denied.
The actual decision will be made by the Snohomish County Hearing Examiner. In preparation for the ruling, the Examiner will hold an open record public hearing on May 16 and May 17, 2018 in Everett. At that hearing, the developer will present their reasons for granting them another extension to allow them to finish the DEIS, the County will present their reasons for denying any further extensions and for denying the application, and the public will have an opportunity to add their own comments to the record of the hearing.
The hearing will be held at the Robert J. Drewel Building (Admin-East Bldg), 1st Floor Room 2 (Stillaguamish Room), 3000 Rockefeller Avenue, Everett, Washington. The public comments are currently scheduled for the afternoon of May 17th starting at 1:30 pm.
If the Hearing Examiner agrees with the County and denies the application, the developer can appeal that decision to the County Council and then to Superior Court. If the developer follows the appeal process all the way to the end, it could take another 2 to 3 years before a final decision is reached.
What can I do about it?
The most important thing you can do at this point is to let the Hearing Examiner know your concerns about the development. If you can’t attend the hearing on May 17th to speak in person, you can submit your comments to the Hearing Examiner by U S Mail (3000 Rockefeller Ave. M/S 405 Everett, WA 98201) or by email (email@example.com).
If you want more information about the project, here are links to several web sites you can visit:
Snohomish County Point Wells - web page
City of Shoreline Point Wells - web page
Sno-King Coalition (local citizen’s group)
Richmond Beach Advocates (local citizen’s group)
Save Richmond Beach (local citizen’s group)