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Townhome project mulled

Developer Richard Fitzpatrick came before Port Orchard City Council nearly a year ago to request a rezone for two parcels of land he owned behind the Olney Avenue Albertsons.

Now he’s back, with a development proposal for 50 townhomes on the same 4.89-acre parcel.

Fitzpatrick’s proposal, known as “The Highlands at Karcher Creek,” will be discussed in a public hearing at Monday night’s regular city council meeting. Apart from the plan, which calls for zero-lot-line setbacks and an underground stormwater handling system, Fitzpatrick will also need the council to approve yet another rezone on the property — from R-4.5 to R-20.

Last year, Fitzpatrick successfully integrated the two properties under a single zoning designation — R-4.5 — which means he could legally build up to 4.5 dwelling units per acre. Previously, the two properties were zoned separately — one section was zoned commercial and one was zoned high-density residential.

If approved, the requested zoning change would allow Fitzpatrick to build up to 20 housing units per acre.

However, city engineer Larry Curles said this time around, the council will probably have much tougher questions to ask Fitzgerald.

Last year, Fitzgerald said he planned to put in 40 condominium units, saying he thought that was as many as he could fit on the parcel. The current proposal calls for 50 units — 10 more than first suggested.

Also, during the first rezone discussion, some council members expressed concern the development might become an eyesore. Fitzgerald assured the council badly designed developments were poor investments, since they were hard to market.

“We want a good-looking project we can sell,” he said at the time.

Curles said there may still be some residual issues with the location of the property, which literally runs right up to the back of Albertsons.

“He wants to call them upscale apartments, but it butts against Albertsons and they have a lot of late-night trucks coming through,” Curles said.

Parking, open space and stormwater handling are other big issues which are likely to get addressed at the hearing. Curles said the Suquamish are have already objected to the proposed stormwater system and requested more stringent requirements for stormwater handling.

The only open space on the property will be a proposed 7,000 square-foot playground and a 12,000 square-foot stormwater collector, which Curles said makes stormwater and runoff a crucial matter.

The staff report on the project also expresses concern over parking facilities. Because the primary access street is only 28 feet wide, city staff does not believe there will be enough space for guest parking. Resident parking would be contained to the proposed driveways and garages. Conditions of approval, for this and other issues, have been proposed by the city staff.

“This one may not be approved,” Curles said. “This is not a slam-dunk.”

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