Neighbors speak out against development proposal

Local developer Gary Lindsey’s plan to develop a 40-acre parcel of land off Newberry Hill south of Emerald Ridge into a housing development doesn’t sit well with neighboring homeowners. About 30 homeowners from the Emerald Ridge, High Point, Eagle Crest, Whisper Ridge and other surrounding subdivisions vehemently spoke against the idea during a combined public hearing Tuesday night at Presidents’ Hall with the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners and Kitsap County Planning Department.

The county planning staff is recommending the request be denied to preserve the area for future use, said Jason Rice, a senior planner with the Kitsap County Department of Community Development.

The housing division proposal would require the plot be redesignated from its current rural (which allows one house per every five acres) to urban residential, which would allow five to nine homes per acre.

The neighboring residents had four main arguments against the proposal:

n The parcel has a 23 percent or greater slope in more than 10 percent of the area which would pose a hazard in bad weather and make the subdivision inaccessible to emergency vehicles;

n The proposed five to nine houses per acre is out of character with the neighboring subdivisions;

n The new residents would strap public services such as schools and fire protection; and

n Access roads — El Dorado and Provost roads in particular — are not able to handle the increased traffic and fire trucks and emergency vehicles might not have proper access to the subdivision because of the steep hills.

Holly Anderson, a homeowner in Eagle Crest — which is to the east and downhill from the plot Lindsey wants to develop — said the steep areas in the plot would present problems for her and her neighbors.

“The Eagle Crest development is also in such steep terrain,” Anderson said. “We and several of our neighbors have experienced problems with excess surface and ground water around and under our homes.”

If the plot is developed, the trees and plants that are absorbing water would be removed for buildings and streets, she said.

“We fear the run-off and ground water problems we currently have will be worsened as a result of the construction and plant removal,” Anderson said.

She recommended “appropriate studies of the terrain, in particular as regards to slope, soil stability and water retention, be done prior to approval of rezoning.”

She does not oppose the property being developed, she said. She would like to see it developed in a “cautious” manner.

Other area homeowners said they were concerned for the wildlife in the area. There are two known bald eagle nests in the area.

Lindsey was the last speaker of the evening and tried to defend his project.

“I almost hate to admit this, but I’m Gary Lindsey,” he said. A few audience members responded by hissing at him.

He said even though it was projected the 40-acre parcel would have anywhere from 200-360 houses, it is likely there will be fewer because roads and buffer space will take some acreage away, leaving less space for houses.

He also said he is aware that the bald eagles are living in the area and he has been assured in a letter from the Silverdale Water District the land will have access to sewer and water services.

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