Chelan County Hearing Examiner Holds Public Hearing for Leavenworth Development
Dozens of Leavenworth residents attended a public hearing on June 9, addressing concerns on a proposed 70-lot development within the city.
Chelan County Hearing Examiner Andrew Kottkamp held a public hearing for the Alpenglow Village 3 major subdivision, which will be spread across approximately 28.11 acres at 10175 Ski Hill Drive, Leavenworth.
Alpenglow Village 3 is owned by Jordan McDevitt with McDevitt Land Co., who attended the hearing on behalf of this project.
These lots will be set aside for 70 single-family homes, which includes 30 attached single-family homes and 30 rental apartments.
The project is expected to house approximately 175 people, with unit sizes ranging between 4,230 square feet to 10,217 square feet.
Development will be split into eight phases, with the last three phases being built in the near future.
The overall project requires road extensions for Cascade and Central streets, with developers intending to build an Alpenglow Drive between Central Street and Ski Hill Drive.
According to the subdivision application, the development could potentially impact runoff, neighboring properties, lead to erosion, or impact water quality.
According to the SEPA checklist, erosion is possible and would need to be mitigated by developers. There is also a threatened plant species approximately .25 miles west of the project site.
This development is located within a wetland area, which required an evaluation from the Department of Ecology’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
The city was listed as the lead agency for this development, who issued a Mitigated Determination of Nonsignificance (MDNS) on Jan. 2, before finalizing it on March 21.
Several residents expressed concern over the Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) study, highlighting incorrect street names and lack of data on traffic impacts during peak tourist seasons. Residents also notes concerns about stormwater capacity and water capacity.
“This is of immediate concern to me because we live immediately adjacent to one of the wetlands impacted by those drains,” Leavenworth resident Bob Fallon wrote.
Linda Colasurdo wrote that the Leavenworth Meadows project is another large development that was recently accepted by the city, and that both developments would put stress onto existing infrastructure.
“The current condition of the City’s water and sewer system are inadequate and by adding hundreds of homes to this system will result in further shortages and could result in a catastrophic situation,” Colasurdo wrote. “There should be further study to determine the effects of adding the two adjacent developments being proposed.”
The city’s Public Works Director Tom Wachholder shared that the city was currently undergoing a capacity analysis on their wastewater treatment plant and that the city does have sufficient sewer capacity.
Wachholder said that their recently adopted plan shows that they have the capacity to serve a population of approximately 2,924, with demand estimated at 500,000 gallons per day.
“Our sewer plant has a design capacity of 650 million gallons per day,” Wachholder said. “Therefore, there's actually a little bit more capacity that was projected in the 2040 projection associated with our general sewer plan.”
Wachholder added that in regards to water capacity, they have “approximately 1,500 approved connections and have the capacity to go up 3,131 connections. Again, that's based on the Department of Health's review of our most recent water system plan.”
Residents also shared concerns that this new development will not bring more affordable housing to the area.
According to the Combined Notice of Complete Application and Optional DNS, “Affordable workforce housing, low-income housing and/or senior housing may be considered through a development agreement associated with this project.”
“When the studies that Director Wachholder is doing identify the needs for upgrades in the water and sewer system, I believe that this project should be paying for those,” Kirvil Skinnarland said. “Especially since this developer is not providing any affordable housing.”
Cascade School District Superintendent Tracy Edou requested that this development be used for affordable housing. The development is also located near Alpine Lakes Elementary School.
Kottkamp said he would like to look at the TIA more closely and that development proposals typically have more studies completed before reaching the Hearing Examiner.
“It is normally something that's here now at the hearing, so that they can be whatever the city believes or the public can comment on it. Kottkamp said. “There needs to be conditions of approval on that instead of just pushing it down the road.”
Kottkamp should have a written decision on this matter by June 22, 2023.
You can read more about the development and people’s comments here.