Update on Frognal/Bexley Ridge Retaining Wall
Friday, May 20, 2022
The Regatta Estates appeal before SNOCO Hearing Examiner Peter Camp of the 200 deleted screening trees required for the 60-foot-high retaining wall at Frognal/Bexley Ridge has been dismissed. This is not necessarily a bad thing.
We anticipated this appeal would be dismissed because of lack of jurisdiction by the Hearing Examiner; however, had we not filed this appeal, SNOCO and developer Lennar would have argued for dismissal of Regatta’s Superior Court appeal, for not having exhausted our administrative appeal options before going to court. The stipulated order signed by Camp prevents SNOCO and Lennar from raising this issue against Regatta and requires the Hearing Examiner to refund Regatta’s $1,500 filing fee. So we are just out the attorney costs to go through the motions of having to file before the Hearing Examiner. Regatta’s appeal is still pending in Snohomish County Superior Court, a preliminary hearing date has yet to be determined.
In other news, PDS has returned review comments to Lennar on their recent proposal to delete the 200 screening trees. Lennar contends that this is a “minor change” a term in the County code that allows PDS Director Mike McCrary to approve this change without public notice or comment. Lennar now proposes to spatter the site with the 200 deleted trees, where they will not provide any screening of the 60-foot-high ugly wall. Lennar proposes to plant ferns and low growing shrubs that will not grow on the rock-faced, geotextile-wrapped retaining wall as replacement landscaping for the trees. Lennar claims that this will meet the requirements of the Hearing Examiner to plant the trees on the terraced, landscaped wall that was approved by PDS in 2018. We anticipate that PDS will approve Lennar’s faulty landscape design in the next week or two.
Regatta contends that not only does the current landscape proposal not meet the requirements for the tree-landscaped retaining wall that was discussed in two Environmental Impact Statements, approved by the Hearing Examiner, and by PDS, but that it is also illegal for PDS to continue issuing building permits to Lennar under the County’s own code, without an approved landscape design. Regatta contends that Lennar never intended to landscape the 60-foot-high retaining wall as evidenced by the rock facing construction and their failure to even address this problem, until after Regatta’s appeal. Regatta contends that this is a “major change” that requires a SEPA review and public comment.
The Regatta Estates appeal will continue in Superior Court.
What can you do?
- Please take a moment to contact Councilpersons Megan Dunn and Stephanie Wright, in whose districts the Bexley Ridge and Regatta Estates are located. Ask them to act on the proposed legislation SCC 30.63B.135 (attached) to limit the height of these monster retaining walls in residential neighborhoods. While this legislation will not affect the current Bexley Ridge appeal, it would prevent this situation from occurring in the future at other sites around Snohomish County; and
- Please consider making a generous donation to the Sno-King Watershed Council’s legal defense fund to support this appeal at https://snokingwatershedcouncil.org/donations/.
Please feel free to forward this e-mail to other concerned citizens and neighbors.
Thank you for your support!
William (Bill) Lider, PE, CESCL
Lider Engineering, PLLC
2526 – 205th Place SW
Lynnwood, WA 98036