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More housing proposed on Viking Avenue

This location map shows the proximity of the proposed development sites to Dogfish Creek. Pre-2008 laws allowed a 40-foot  buffer between development and wetlands.  New laws require a 150-foot buffer. The buffer size will affect current projects such as Vikings Landing, which submitted permits around the same time as the site plan, vesting the project in pre-2008 laws. - Herald graphic based on map provided by the City of Poulsbo
This location map shows the proximity of the proposed development sites to Dogfish Creek. Pre-2008 laws allowed a 40-foot buffer between development and wetlands. New laws require a 150-foot buffer. The buffer size will affect current projects such as Vikings Landing, which submitted permits around the same time as the site plan, vesting the project in pre-2008 laws.
— image credit: Herald graphic based on map provided by the City of Poulsbo

POULSBO — Two proposed housing developments on Viking Aveune could be built within 40 feet of Dogfish Creek.

Owners of the Valhalla Village and Viking Landing projects have one and two years, respectively, to find developers to build according to wetland setback rules in place when the projects were proposed.

In 2007 and 2008, three development plans were submitted to the city for approval — Brighthaven, Valhalla Village and Vikings Landing — next to each other along Viking Avenue south of Highway 305, near the entrance to Stendahl Ridge neighborhood. Site plans expire after seven years if no building permits are submitted and the projects do not move ahead. In the last three to four years, those developers disappeared due to the sinking economy, and all three sites are owned by banks.

The issue for these owners and potential developers is the city’s updated Critical Area Ordinance. When the projects were first proposed, wetland buffers were more relaxed than they are now — pre-2008 ordinance required a 40-foot wetland buffer. Since the update, the requirement jumped to a 150-foot protection.

Kitsap Bank asked the council to extend the site plan for Valhalla Village while they search for a developer, which gives the project one year to submit permits under the 40-foot buffer rule. Brighthaven’s original plan has expired, meaning a developer must now comply with a 150-foot buffer.

Vikings Landing, however, submitted permits at the same time as the site plan, vesting the project in pre-2008 rules. First Savings Bank Northwest has until 2014 to find a developer or also lose the original plans.

The buffer length has a big effect on the proposed sites. Vikings Landing would include an 18-unit building, three 6-unit condominium buildings, and a single family residence on 6.38 acres. A 150-foot buffer would cut the proposed construction in half. Brighthaven was originally 50 condominium townhouses on 4.6 acres, but wetlands cover about one-fourth of the site, according to the planning department’s staff report. Valhalla Village is 20 single-family detached units on 2.83 acres, but if the original plans expire, the project will be limited to 1.91 acres of development.

“The tale of the three properties is getting longer...over time and may end up best being developed with new plans reflecting the 150-foot wetland buffer and more compact development,” Linda Mueller, associate planner, wrote in an email.

 

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