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A map showing the location of the proposed development.

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A proposed development in Upper County will have to wait to make progress until fall, where developers and first responders will work to resolve proposed mitigations to the development involving fire and EMS response.

A public hearing to consider the full development application for the Marian Meadows development was held Tuesday, giving stakeholders and residents a chance to address concerns they have with the proposed development near Easton. The 445-acre development is slated to have 89 residential lots, along with RV storage, an RV park and campground, as well as a community center, athletic courts, and pool to serve residents in the development.

Commissioners Cory Wright and Brett Wachsmith voted to revisit the agreement in October, saying the developer and Fire District 3 must communicate more directly in resolving a monetary number per unit that both believe will be an acceptable mitigation amount before moving forward with development. Commissioner Osiadacz was absent from the hearing.

BACKGROUND

According to Community Development Services Director Dan Carlson, the last hearing for the development was held last October, being remanded back to the applicant in December to address an issue related to mitigation to Fire District No. 3. Carlson said the development plat was approved by the county in May 2018. With the approval, he said the developer was required to address certain issues, explaining why the subsequent hearings were held, including the one on Tuesday.

“In order to be approved, a development agreement has to be consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan and applicable county development regulations,” Carlson said at the hearing. “In addition to this one because we do have that approval ordinance, there is some mitigation that has to be in this agreement as well in order to be approved.”

One of the conditions Carlson outlined was the developer to provide a proportionate share of mitigation for impacts to the Easton School District. For the school district mitigation, Carlson said the developer offered a $500 per unit mitigation for the 89 units in the proposed development.

The second mitigation issue involved Fire District 3, in which the county agreement stipulated the developer provide mitigation for automatic fire sprinkler installation in all single family, multi family, and RV storage units, as well as fire hydrant installation and fire flow and water storage requirements as per the county Fire Marshal.

To meet the fire district mitigation requirements, Carlson said the developer proposed to meet requirements for all the above stipulations, as well as a $250 contribution for each residential and RV storage unit, totaling $47,250. As a result of the mitigation proposal from the developer, Carlson said his staff recommendation was that the county approve the development agreement.

“We did have our fire marshal review this as well as myself,” he said. “We do believe that this is adequate in terms of mitigation.”

CONCERNS ABOUT DEVELOPMENT

Development representative Jerry Martens said he began to engage in meetings with representatives of the Fire District in 2016 upon being retained to manage the project. During the process of meeting over the next year, he said numerous attempts were made to engage the district, saying the developers came across challenges in receiving written responses from the district.

“This was discussed within meetings I had with CDS,” he said.

With the limited means available to the district, Fire District 3 Chief Chris Helgeson said automatic fire sprinklers are not adequate in responding to fire issues within remote areas such as the planned development. With the potential for the district’s population to grow by 50% if the development moves forward, Helgeson said proposed mitigation funds will help the district to expand infrastructure to better respond to emergencies.

“Sprinkled structures slow down a fire so that people can escape, but they do not fully extinguish a fire,” he said of the proposed mitigation. “This development would greatly impact the fire and EMS system in Easton.”

Reporting for the DR since March 2018. Lover of campfires, black labs and good vibes. Proud Humboldt State alum!

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