In response to Robert McClure’s recent series of articles on development here in Washington, I’d like to clear up some confusion about YarrowBay’s Master Planned Communities (MPDs) in Black Diamond.
Mr. McClure used our developments as examples in stories about how the current vesting provisions allow developers to get around land use and environmental provisions by “vesting” under outdated and less stringent regulations.
That simply is not the case in Black Diamond. These MPD projects were reviewed under the most recently adopted, state-of-the-art City of Black Diamond Comprehensive Plan policies and development regulations. The Comprehensive Plan policies and development regulations that formed the framework for review of these MPDs are the result of almost twenty years of legislative decisions. The City of Black Diamond culminated these years of planning and legislative decisions by updating and amending its Comprehensive Plan and development regulations in 2009. YarrowBay’s MPDs are based on Growth Management Act-compliant Comprehensive Plan policies and development regulations and the developments are not vested to rules that are “decades old.” For these reasons, reference to the Black Diamond MPDs within the context of these articles is misplaced.
Additionally, Mr. McClure states that the City of Black Diamond passed an ordinance that freezes in time restrictions on polluted runoff. This is simply not true. The Black Diamond MPDs will be built in phases over the course of many years and the Black Diamond MPD Code clearly states: “Vesting as to stormwater regulations shall be on a phase by phase basis.” This means that the entirety of the MPDs is not vested to the City’s stormwater regulations as they exist today. In addition to the City’s code, the City Council imposed many conditions controlling stormwater from the developed MPD sites. At YarrowBay’s request, those conditions included the commitment to incorporating specific new treatment technologies even if the MPDs would otherwise be vested to a lower standard. Some might call that an “anti-freeze.”
There is no “freeze” and YarrowBay is not using the state’s vesting laws to get an unfair break. We are committed to creating responsible developments that respect the natural environment.