Rath Final Plat Denied...Numerous
 Problems Hold Up Project... 

Memo

To:          Mayor Parnell, Mayor Pro tem Harper, Town Council, Town Clerk

From:      Greg Wilder 

Date:       January 12, 2004

Re:          Hamner Springs (Rath Addition) Final Plat

 

Attached you will find a copy of a letter recently posted to Mr. Douglas Randles and Bruce Rath regarding the referenced final plat process and project. As it is, most of the legislative and process requirements to complete the final plat have been concluded or appropriate and allowable arrangements have been made accordingly.

However, many of the determinations established by the Mitigated Determination of Non Significance (MDNS) have not been met and the town has not yet reached agreement as necessary. The unmet MDNS conditions include item *#2, 4, and 5… a copy of these requirements is attached to this memo. Town staff, the Planning Commission, the Board of Adjustment and/or the Town Council cannot waive, reduce or otherwise adjust these requirements without a necessary public hearing by the Planning Commission and/or the Board of Adjustment and Town Council.  To that end, we still are pursuing and persisting in a request that these conditions be met before a final plat is moved forward for your review and adoption.

The developer must dedicate property and build a reservoir (or alternatively contribute and work with the town for the construction of a new reservoir), must dedicate offsite easements for sanitary and other public utilities as appropriate and necessary, must conduct a traffic analysis to determine the impacts and affects on transportation concurrency requirements (a copy of our concurrency ordinance is also attached to this memo), must provide for any transportation concurrency mitigation as may be identified by a traffic/transportation analysis, and must comply (without substantial deviation) with any and all other requirements established by the MDNS process.

Recent snow and rainfall have also led us to the identification of significant and substantial wastewater collection and conveyance system problems within the project.  Some of these problems may hold up the approval of the final plat, recent snow and rain fall have resulted in excessive inflow and infiltration evidence in your newly constructed project. We have identified a number of manholes that were either un-grouted or improperly grouted with excessive leaks and we believe that there ate pipe joints and other infiltration points throughout the system as well. The town took the opportunity to perform television inspection of the sanitary and stormwater systems and likewise discovered a number of construction false/flaws. In fact there were significant links of pipe with resting water far in excess of that allowed by typical and customary standard. The effective capacity of the system, in some cases, has been so significantly reduced that the only resolution is to remove and replace the offending pipe segments. The remedial work required, had the plat been finalized, would be accomplished under the surety established by your posted maintenance bond. However, since the plat is not yet final, we are making the demand/request that the applicable and required repairs be made at the first available opportunity. All repairs necessary in that part of the system for which final plat approval is requested (without delayed construction approval) must be accomplished before the plat final process can be completed. These flaws, particularly in the sanitary sewer system, must be corrected before a final plat can be processed or a corrective plan / program by the town must be established and acknowledged.  The town elected to perform a television inspection of the system in order to help the contractor and Town determine the locations of the inflow and infiltration sources. The additional discovery was a significant amount of pipe “sag” within the system which is unacceptably out of specifications. The “sags” in the pipe restrict normal flow, accumulate solids and cause future maintenance and capacity problems.  The Town’s engineer will be reviewing these television records and making a recommendation accordingly.

The professional process of preparing the subdivision submittals, and then subsequently complying with the findings of fact and recommendations (including the MDNS, associated construction requirements and standards) are the responsibility of the developer.  It is the developer’s responsibility to know and understand the code under which he operates and must comply. It is the developer’s responsibility to construct the system in accordance with the plans and specifications approved and/or provided by the town. It is the developer’s responsibility to insure these things prior to the submission of a final plat request. Town staff cannot by suggestion, by innuendo, by statement and even by letter, waive the requirements established by the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment and Town Council…. We can only recommend and some matters may also require new hearings to change or waive.

It has been suggested by Council member Rath, that one of the Town’s prior **public works directors waived the concurrency transportation requirement and indicated that the performance of the analysis and any future mitigation would not be required. The public works director does not have that authority, even if such comments were spoken during a public hearing. The MDNS sets forth the requirements along with your code and State statute. The Hamner Springs (Rath) projects will add as many as 980 vehicles per day to the Eatonville Highway and that additional traffic load may likely have an impact on certain segments of the street/road system.  These impacts may violate the level of service (LOS) standard established by the town. If the transportation / concurrency analysis indicates offsite mitigation, the developer will be required to provide that either directly or through an agreement.

As well, Council member Rath has indicated that he was only required to construct a reservoir to provide for the “fire flow protection” on all lots above 900 feet elevation.  The MDNS does not address this matter in this way. It simply states that the developer must build a reservoir of sufficient capacity to meet the needs of all developed properties above 900 feet and provide clear title to a reservoir site as well. It does not matter whether the town designs and builds a reservoir or a developer designs and builds a reservoir. The Washington State Department of Health standards and requirements must be met in either case and the Town’s ability to maintain and operate that system in the future must be preserved by a design that’s compatible and compliant with the town’s system. Town staff and it’s consultants have been working with the developer, the Department of Health, and others to design and build a reservoir that would service both the needs of this project, mitigate for existing town deficiencies, and provide expansion capability for future growth. We have estimated that the cost for the Hamner Springs project for participation in this facility is about $ 180,000.00….the price of an average single family residence. The town’s total cost to build this reservoir is estimated at $1.35 million.  Council member Rath has indicated, after considerable discussion and conversation with the Town’s engineer, that he does not feel that level of participation is in compliance with his belief and the intent of the town. He has indicated that the Town’s planner Mr. Mart Kask, indicated a different capacity and different financial participation requirement. If the Town’s Planner did establish a different amount, and did agree to that amount, we have not yet seen the analysis or report that would typically be prepared and required. Typically such analysis and report must, to comply with Washington State Department of Health rules and requirements, be certifiably stamped by a licensed and professional engineer.  We can find no such report indicating the size requirement for either the reservoir or the fiscal participation calculation.

This project serves as another example of misunderstandings, misdirection, misinterpretations and apparent lack of defined and understood process. It is regrettable that the owner and developer may be faced with significant and substantial delays. Statutory and code processes do not provide the kind of flexibility that some staff members pretend or exercise. They do not provide the flexibility that some council members, planning commission members, and others would like. The good and better of the Town as a whole, are protected and provided for by the codes, ordinances, rules, statutes, construction standards and other provisions and are provided for and guide and implementation of town policy.

The Town is soon to be processing two additional final plat requests and it is my hope that they will be less wrapped in oversights, problems and compliance issues as has been this one.

As always, I look forward to your concerns and questions, your thoughts and suggestions and through the Mayor, your direction.

Thank you.

*Please see MDNS

**Publisher's Note: The public works director mentioned was Russ Blount.

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