Mill Creek, WA: Stream advocates fight Mill Creek project

By Jana Hill
For the Herald of Everett, WA

MILL CREEK -- Adopt-a-Stream is holding its ground -- literally.

The environmental group depends on the health of nearby Sitka Creek, a rearing ground for threatened chinook salmon. Its business of educating the public on salmon-bearing streams depends on the health of the pristine creek, where only 10 percent of the watershed has been developed.

Tom Murdoch, director of Adopt-a-Stream, is pushing the city to scrap the site plan for Rivendale II, a 139-unit condominium development off Dumas Road. The group's Northwest Stream Center is just downstream of the Rivendale II project.

Murdoch asks that the city require the developer to build "up, not out" and construct underground parking instead of paving over more land, measures that he said will reduce the amount of surface area lost by 50 percent.

He also wants the city to require green roofs engineered like wetlands to release water slowly, decreasing runoff and providing insulation.

Murdoch said his organization stands to lose an estimated $9 million over the next 30 years because of development around Sitka Creek.

The city has three upcoming developments in the same watershed, Murdoch said. Those include a Dumas Road widening project and construction of North Creek Road; the 60-condo Sun Meadows development; and the Rivendale II project.

"Those things need to be addressed at the same time, not separately," Murdoch said.

City officials cannot comment until decisions have been made by city government, said Cari Hornbein, Mill Creek senior planner.

Already, the city's environmental review makes several demands on the Rivendale II's Bellevue-based developer, Wakefield Homes of Mill Creek LLC.

If the site plan is approved, the developer will be required to fence three wetlands totaling 7,762 square feet and submit reports that show storm drainage and lighting impacts. The site includes 22,744 square feet of wetlands. Two unregulated wetlands totaling 1,919 square feet are to be filled as part of the project.

"Because of their small size, they are unregulated in our code," said Steve Malsam, co-owner of Wakefield.

Malsam was less concerned about Murdoch's demands, stating earlier that the city is a stickler for environmental issues.

Bill Trimm, community development director, advised the planning commission to hold off on deliberation until staff could review changes made by Malsam.

The commission will meet at 7 p.m. March 21 at Mill Creek Council Chambers, 15728 Mill Creek Blvd.

After the council gets direction from the planning commission, it can make a decision on the site plan. If unsatisfied, Adopt-a-Stream can appeal to the council, and then to Superior Court.


Jana Hill edits the Mill Creek edition of the weekly Enterprise Newspapers. She can be reached at or 425-673-6533.

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