Ron and Barbara Carr, residents of the O’Brien Meadows development in the Little Oklahoma area near the foothills southeast of Port Angeles, point out property near their home that might not be governed by land-use rules that the rest of their neighborhood must adhere to. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Ron and Barbara Carr, residents of the O’Brien Meadows development in the Little Oklahoma area near the foothills southeast of Port Angeles, point out property near their home that might not be governed by land-use rules that the rest of their neighborhood must adhere to. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

O’Brien Meadows residents object to proposed change

PORT ANGELES — Ron and Barbara Carr moved to O’Brien Meadows for the promise that their quiet neighborhood would remain surrounded by open space.

About two weeks ago, the Carrs and others who live in the tree-lined development southeast of Port Angeles learned that the large parcel that encircles their 32-lot subdivision is being considered for a plat alteration that could affect their property values and quality of life.

Green Crow Investments Co., which owns the 92-acre property, has applied to replace the “open space” designation with the term “remainder lot.”

This would allow for the development of one residence that would not be subject to the same covenants, conditions and restrictions — or CC&Rs — required of other homeowners who live in the cluster near the southern end of O’Brien Road.

“I don’t think anyone in O’Brien Meadows objects to one residence being put on the property,” said Ron Carr, who moved to O’Brien Meadows to retire last November.

“This is about having adequate protections — in an established neighborhood — against the introduction of excessive noise and nuisance.”

The main concern expressed by neighbors in written and verbal testimony is that the land could be sold to an off-road vehicle or hunting enthusiast who might not respect the tranquility of O’Brien Meadows or the standards set forth in the CC&Rs signed by members of the close-knit community.

Hearing examiner Andrew Reeves will hold a continued hearing on the proposed plat alteration at 2 p.m. June 8 in Room 160 at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.

Meanwhile, Green Crow project manager Bruce Emery said he planned to meet with members of the homeowners association to “see if we can come to some sort of mutual understanding.”

Reeves conducted a 2½-hour open record hearing on the Green Crow proposal Thursday. He granted a continuance at the request of property owners who wanted more time to prepare their arguments.

“There are millions of dollars in beautiful homes in this subdivision that will be directly affected by the county’s decision,” said Mary Wallace, who moved to O’Brien Meadows with her husband, Tony, after being assured by Green Crow that the open space lot would remain undeveloped.

“We have been informed by a very reliable source that someone plans to purchase the property and turn it into their own personal playground with ATVs, quads and dirt bike trails, which surrounds all of our properties, with zero regard to anyone in the area.”

CC&Rs that restrict hunting in O’Brien Meadows would not apply to the new property if the remainder lot application is approved.

“Stray bullets could fly dangerously close to any one of our properties, with extremely dangerous consequences,” Mary Wallace said.

“If the county rules in favor of the remainder lot, we feel that it would only be right for Green Crow to bring it into our CC&Rs so that a purchaser would have to comply with the same rules as everyone else.”

Green Crow crafted the CC&Rs when O’Brien Meadows was subdivided in 2004.

With the exception of a road maintenance stipulation, the 92-acre open space lot is exempt from the CC&Rs, Emery said.

“We have made the offer to the homeowners association that we’re willing to accept another amendment that would restrict the recreational off-road vehicle use on the property so we don’t wind up with a motocross track,” Emery said at the hearing.

“We don’t want our legacy there to be a bad one.”

Green Crow, a Port Angeles timberland company, originally designated the 92 acres as open space on plat materials filed at the county.

Emery, who signed the plat alteration application March 27, argued that there was “ambiguity” in the original designation because county code did not define “open space” or “remainder lot.”

Emery added that the 92-acre parcel was “always intended” to be used for a residential development.

“I would stand by that,” Emery said in a Friday telephone interview. “We never told them the [proposed] remainder lot would never be available for residential development.”

While the large parcel will likely remain exempt from the CC&Rs, Emery said other compromises are possible.

“We’ve got to find that sweet balance in the middle, and I think we’ll do it,” Emery said.

Clallam County Senior Planner Donella Clark recommended approval of the plat alteration with conditions in a May 4 staff report to the hearing examiner.

The property is being listed by Windermere Real Estate for $269,000.

The lot is zoned Rural Character Conservation 5, which aims to protect rural character by allowing large rural lots.

“This is a large rural lot that should be allowed to function as a large rural lot, not a small residential development lot,” Emery said at the hearing.

“Simply put, doing so would fail to recognize its size and location and the setting of this lot. And the likely building area is really remote from the rest of the development.”

Donald Roth, president of the O’Brien Meadows homeowners association, requested the public hearing on the plat alteration.

“We’d like to see the open space designation just kept,” Roth told the hearing examiner.

“If that is just not possible, we’d like some legal protection for the bulk of the [large] lot that abuts the residential areas.”

Given the short notice, William Pyles suggested that the hearing be postponed to allow O’Brien Meadows residents to “do our due diligence, come back and present our side of the story.”

“Green Crow has the ability to have someone work on it full time,” Pyles told Reeves. “We were handed this just a couple weeks ago.”

Before granting the continuance, Reeves asked the applicants whether they would be willing to continue the hearing.

“In the interest of Green Crow, my gut reaction is to say no,” Emery said. “But in the interest of providing people all opportunity to participate in the process, I would be agreeable to accepting a continuance.”

Reeves will issue a written decision on the plat alteration within 10 business days of the June 8 hearing, or June 22.

Hearing examiner decisions can be appealed to Superior Court.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Ron and Barbara Carr, residents of the O’Brien Meadows development in the Little Oklahoma area near the foothills southeast of Port Angeles, discuss ownership and land-use changes to open space areas surrounding their home. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Ron and Barbara Carr, residents of the O’Brien Meadows development in the Little Oklahoma area near the foothills southeast of Port Angeles, discuss ownership and land-use changes to open space areas surrounding their home. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

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