I am one of the hundreds of very concerned Black Diamond area residents who has been attending the hearings and raising important issues and concerns wherever possible about the Yarrow Bay master planned developments.
We all know that there will be development. But the problem here is the scale of this development and the negative impacts it is going to have not just on Black Diamond but on the entire area. King County had originally envisioned 1,900 homes to be built in Black Diamond, and assumed that they would be built under the guidelines for urban density of four units per gross acre.
So what is a gross acre? I think any normal person applying common sense would say that a gross acre means that you have four homes on the acre, and you have space for the roads in the acre. So if you have 500 acres, plus parks, schools, other open space, lakes and federally protected wetlands then you put 2,000 homes on the 500 acres, plus all the streets, and you end up with one-sixth to one-fifth acre lots, which does not require you to clear-cut.
So what did YarrowBay do? They have included all the open space land they own. They have included lakes and federally protected wetlands that they do not own. They have included schools that they do not own. And they have called that “their” gross acreage. So they are telling the city council, “… you are required to approve our MPD because it is four units per acre”.
But that is a bald-faced lie – it is really almost nine units per acre. And they are going to clear-cut more than a square mile and a half, to build not 1,900 but 6,000 homes. And this will probably put 10,000 more cars on the road at rush hour, a huge number of them on state Route 169, creating a total gridlock that will probably last for a couple of hours every day.
And unfortunately, the City Council does not seem to be questioning Yarrow Bay’s phoney math. How can you include two lakes with their wetlands in a “units per acre” calculation? Bizarre. And sad for all of us if it passes.