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Poulsbo Place gets council agenda spot
"POULSBO - Whack. Just like that, the ball which could give Poulsbo Place its final plat approval is sitting squarely in the court of Security Properties, Inc. If the developers of the 164-house project on Jensen Way return the city's serve, eight years of what has been a back-and-forth contest could very well come to a much awaited conclusion. However, getting the ball over the net by next Wednesday won't be an easy strike for SPI. City council Wednesday night approved a motion to put the final plat on next week's agenda, giving the developers a scant seven days to address a laundry list of concerns raised by the engineering department. The unanimous decision was spawned from councilwoman Connie Lord's urging her fellow elected officials to move the project along. Oddly enough, the move came less than one week after councilman Mike Regis was chastised by Mayor Donna Jean Bruce and others after pledging similar city support to the plat. Regis' promises were made during a special session between SPI and city officials last Wednesday. The remarks upset the city structure because Regis apparently overstepped his powers by telling developers that the engineering department would do whatever necessary to work toward final plat approval. Treading lightly in this instance, Lord then side-stepped the issue, noting that she was particularly impressed with the fact that SPI had hired consultant Phil Berry to write on its behalf. I appreciate what Phil Berry stands for in our community, Lord told the council. If Security Properties is willing to hire someone like Phil Berry I think it warrants the city going ahead and doing the final plat as soon as possible. Councilwoman Jackie Aitchison agreed, adding that if SPI hasn't addressed all the issues by the Sept. 20 session, council can always remove the item from the agenda. Poulsbo Place contractor Larry Ward was elated at the opportunity. After eight years, we are this close, Ward said, pinching his fingers together. We need to get this done for our customers. The most important thing is that we have people who want to move in on Sept. 22. Final plat approval is necessary before SPI can sell homes at Poulsbo Place. Despite this fact, several houses are already scheduled to close on Sept. 22. If council gives its blessing next week, sales can proceed as planned. If not, SPI and Windermere Real Estate will have to postpone the action until the city is satisfied that outstanding issues have been or will be taken care of by the developers. I gave them copies of the punch list yesterday, explained city engineer John Stephenson, who said the two-and-a-half page memo contained both minor and major stipulations. Many of them aren't huge, Stephenson remarked. The big item though is a retaining wall which they haven't submitted a permit for. We haven't gotten the paperwork yet. The wall, which will run along the western border of Poulsbo Place's first phase between the hillside that houses Fjord Garden condominiums, is a safety requirement that must be satisfied before the engineering department signs off on the final plan. According to reports from the city's geotechnical consultant on the project, the slope of the hillside in some areas is too steep for the type of soil at the site. With the impending rainy season, Stephenson said, securing the hill with the wall and backfill was imperative. This is a safety issue not only for houses at Poulsbo Place, but it's a real safety issue for those condos at Fjord Gardens - it can't be bonded, it has to be done, he said. That's a significant issue. Another large issue facing the project deals with bonding authority for the Iverson Road extension and other construction plans that have yet to be addressed. Stephenson will meet with city attorney Scott Snyder next week to review bonding proposals. Completion of the stormwater outfall on Front Street is another crucial item for the final plat, the engineer said, noting that Security Properties, Inc. has a huge work week ahead of it. They can do it all, but they're going to have to bring in some pretty good crews to get this done, he said. The burden is on them because they have the work to do - maybe this falls in the category of nothing is impossible. "