It’s difficult to successfully complete all of the steps it takes to develop a piece of property; especially an 18.5-acre multi-use complex with 29,000 square feet of commercial capacity, 122 townhomes/condominiums, 180 apartments, and a 1.26-acre neighborhood park in Mill Creek.
Polygon Northwest took a big step forward on March 12, 2013, when the Mill Creek City Council unanimously approved an ordinance adopting the development agreement between Polygon Northwest’s limited liability corporation (Mill Creek EGUV, LLC) and the City.
The development agreement between Mill Creek and the Mill Creek EGUV, LLC establishes responsibilities for the implementation of the project and addresses other issues such as phasing of development. The completion of this step starts the final design and review processes that may result in a late 2013 construction start.
According to Tom Rogers, Mill Creek Community Development Director, some specific items addressed by the adopted development agreement include:
- Requirements to dedicate right-of-way and construction of a traffic signal at the intersection of 44th Avenue SE and 132nd Street SE.
- Requirements to dedicate right-of-way and construction of the 132nd Street SE corridor signal interconnect between 25th Avenue SE and Seattle Hill Road.
- Compliance with road alignment and Preliminary Engineering Study requirements.
- Phasing of construction. Since the demand for commercial property is low right now, the property set aside for commercial use will be developed in a separate phase of the project.
- Reciprocal parking and access with adjoining properties.
- Formation, operation and roles/responsibilities of owner associations.
- Maintenance responsibilities of public and private areas.
- Provision and use of public and private open space/plazas.
- Dedication and improvement of land for the 1.26-acre public neighborhood park. The park design and construction will be done under Mill Creek’s master plan process including public hearings. The park is scheduled to be complete by December 2014.
- Commercial use requirements for property adjacent to 44th Avenue SE.
At the March 12th City Council meeting Rogers said Polygon Northwest intends to sell the commercial lot to a commercial developer.
Rogers went on to say that if commercial development has not begun prior to occupancy of the first residential unit, Polygon Northwest is required to make interim improvements on the 1.8-acre commercial lot. These interim improvements include:
- Frontage improvements to 44th Avenue SE.
- Water and sewer utility stubs properly sized for likely commercial uses.
- Storm sewer and natural gas utility stubs.
- Rough grading in a manner suitable for commercial development.
- Landscaping including benches for public use.
There are many more steps left in the process before construction can begin and the public will be able to voice their opinions all along the way.
According to Christi Amrine, Mill Creek Senior Planner, "Polygon Northwest has opted for early review (at their own risk) from the Design Review Board and Civil (construction) plan review during the binding site plan approval process. This allows for concurrent review of the development application as tentatively schedule below:"
- March to May 2013 - "The binding site plan is subject to a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review to be conducted by City staff and subject to outside agency and public review prior to the hearing examiner's public hearing."
- March, April, and May 2013 - "Mill Creek’s Design Review Board will conduct informal design reviews during their regular monthly meetings."
- May to June 2013 - "Mill Creek’s hearing examiner will hold a public hearing on the proposed binding site plan as early as May 2013. The hearing examiner will hear public testimony and review the Mill Creek Community Development Department’s staff report, development application and reports along with the SEPA determination. The hearing examiner decides whether or not to approve the binding site plan."
- Summer 2013 - "Once the Hearing Examiner has approved the proposal, the Design Review Board will conduct a formal review of the final building elevations and materials, landscaping and lighting and make a determination."
- Summer 2013 - "Civil plans will be submitted to the City and approval will occur only after the Hearing Examiner’s determination is final."
- Late 2013 - "Building plans will be submitted once the City approves the civil plans and if the building plans are approved, building permits will be issued."