Ward defends Poulsbo Place

Stephenson backs city's position to postpone plat discussion.

“POULSBO – Is Poulsbo Place’s final plat ready to go before council? It depends who you ask at this point. Developers from Security Properties, Inc. feel they’ve met the demands of the city and assert that all major issues barring the way for final plat approval have been addressed. City staff disagree. The city staff have presented a four-page checklist that members of the engineering department reviewed during a Wednesday morning inspection of the Jensen Way site. At the end of the visit, staff noted that of the 43 items listed, only eight had been addressed. Therein lies the rub. Wednesday night’s 3-2 council vote to table the Poulsbo Place discussion until Oct. 4 didn’t help already strained relations between the two camps. The council could have at least listened to us, Poulsbo Place contractor Larry Ward said Thursday. We completed the punch list and they created an entirely new one. We didn’t get a chance to address things and now we have to wait two weeks to have that dialogue. Ward noted that the requested approval had been down-sized from 32 lots to 10 houses, but council still opted against a formal discussion. Everything was in order, he added, adding that one safety issue raised by the city for a retaining wall dealt with a very small piece of property that SPI doesn’t even own. It’s a 30-foot area that we’re talking about, Ward explained. The rock wall wasn’t part of final plat approval. It wasn’t until we removed the blackberry bushes for landscaping (that it became an issue). Ward, who called the wall an 11th hour addition, continued asking why the city just recently made an issue about the steep hillside when the bushes have been gone for the past three weeks. The only safety issues we heard about initially dealt with road patches, he said. Another issue, according to the contractor dealt with the turn-around on paperwork for the plat. SPI officials, he said, set the closing dates for several houses a while ago, thinking that the final plat process would about two to three weeks to complete. We had no way of knowing it would take us four months, Ward explained. It’s a shame that we had people’s lives affected by this but we had no way of knowing it would take this long; but we’re going to do whatever is necessary. City staff also maintains that it has been continually going above and beyond the call to meet the needs of SPI, however, the developer has routinely criticized the city throughout the process. City engineer John Stephenson cited the extensive checklist as his reason for not recommending final plat approval for either 32 or 10 homes at Poulsbo Place. Stephenson has repeatedly pointed to safety issues which Security Property, Inc. needs to address in order to receive his department’s blessing. Safety issues, including the retaining wall, pavement repairs, no parking signs, a centerline on Jensen for traffic and slope stabilization, still haven’t been taken of satisfactorily, according to Stephenson. Additional outstanding problems deal with water, sewer and stormwater systems at the site. I put everything on that list because I didn’t want to be accused of being a moving target and I was still accused of being a moving target, Stephenson said, questioning SPI official’s claims that the issues had been completely addressed. Whether something is dangerous or hazardous, that’s the city engineer’s call, Stephenson explained, noting that the standards were set for the good of the community. One person has to make that call and stand up tall. “

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