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Illahee community, developers set to face off in April 20 hearing

The long-running dispute between an Illahee neighborhood group and the proposed Timbers Edge development will have its day in Kitsap County Superior Court April 20.

The two sides met Friday to schedule the hearing where the Illahee Community will argue the development's density will lead to degradation in the surrounding environment, despite the assurance from Beach Drive Development's owner Jim James that the development will be made using low-impact development methods.

The development was approved by the Kitsap County Commissioners Oct. 12, after rejecting an appeal from the Community.

"We are trying to decide which issues we are going to bring up," Community spokesman Jim Aho said. "We are going to meet next week and decide how much we want to spend."

The Illahee Community, represented by attorney Ryan Vancil, spent $15,000 in 2008 on legal costs appealing the development. It spent $20,000 in 2008.

"We are not a big community so it requires a lot of people to be involved," he said.

The Illahee Community is also scheduled to appear before the state Shoreline Hearing Board April 12.

The development was first proposed in 2005 and would include 110 single-family homes on a 36-acre site off of Fir Drive near Nobles Lane. The proposed 3,400-square lots would be situated on about a third of the land, while the rest of site would remain wilderness.

The Community contends the site would reduce the water flow into Illahee Creek, which contains salmon and steelhead. It also opposes the use of a new sewer system in the neighborhood, arguing bio-infiltration systems are a better way to control the stormwater.

The development, which calls for about seven homes per acre, met county zoning laws when the project was introduced. These laws have since been tightened to allow one to four homes per acre at the site.

The Community also argues that Kitsap County commissioners may have violated the state's "appearance of fairness doctrine" by meeting with staff members when deciding to approve the project in October.

"When a commissioner acts on an appeal, they are supposed to take off their political hats and put on their judicial hats," he said.

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