Proposed resort near Brinnon tops big hurdle

County approves rules for development

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County commissioners have taken major steps to move forward the long-proposed Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort, allowing the developer to begin filing for permits.

The commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance that provides for development regulations of the Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Resort near Brinnon and approved to adopt a development agreement for the resort during their meeting Monday.

“We thank the community and the county commissioners for finally reaching a consensus that this is a good opportunity for the community and for Jefferson County,” said Garth Mann, president and CEO of Statesman Group of Calgary, Alberta, which proposed the development in 2006.

“We’re looking forward to creating something special for the community.”

Mann did not offer a timeline for the project, but said the goal is to move as quickly as possible. He said the company can now work with engineers and architects. He said the company is waiting through a 30-day period in which people can file appeals.

“Right now the property is still in the state it was when we closed it down as a 500-unit recreation and RV park,” he said. “It’s still got a lot of amenities that need cleaned up as part of the process.”

The Pleasant Harbor Resort would be on 252-acres on the Black Point Peninsula 2 miles south of Brinnon. It has been controversial since it was first proposed.

“There are mixed feelings and anxieties around this project and those aren’t unrecognized,” said Commissioner Kate Dean. “There has been a lot of painstaking effort given to those concerns.”

The county is preparing for potential litigation related to the resort, said Commissioner David Sullivan. Commissioners added an executive session to their Monday agenda in anticipation of litigation.

Environmental concerns, traffic and other issues have been at the heart of the discussions surrounding the resort.

A key requirement of both the development regulations and the development agreement is to show compliance with a 2008 ordinance that approved changing the land use designation from rural residential to master planned resort.

That ordinance contained 30 conditions concerning public services, environmental protections and other aspects that were required.

“We believe that the development regulations and the development agreement with the developer have satisfied our concerns and our requirements to ensure that the MPR is developed in an environmentally sound, and community supportive way,’” Sullivan said in a statement.

“Public input and consultations with area tribes helped us make significant changes to the regulations and to the development agreement that we have approved.”

Development will move forward in three phases, according to the agreement.

The first phase includes clearing and grading the site of the golf course, road construction and the construction of a wastewater treatment plant backup system. It also includes construction of the 170-unit Sea View Villas and 32-unit Golf Vistas.

The second phase includes completion of the golf course, developing a new well and construction of the 208-unit Golf Terrace Recreation Center and Conference center.

The third phase includes building the 66-unit maritime village building and 21,000 square feet of commercial space. This phase includes the construction of the Golf Terraces, Sea View Villas and Golf Vistas.

The scope of the master planned resort has shrunk from 1,200 residential units to 890 and the golf course was reduced from 18 holes to nine.

The county has worked with Statesman Corp. on provisions to ensure that wildlife resources are not negatively impacted, to make sure water quality is monitored and that high water quality is ensured, officials said. Other provisions recognize Native American tribal treaty rights.

When the county held a meeting about the draft development agreement in January, many protested the resort saying that not enough had been done to mitigate the negative effects of having a large resort on the Hood Canal.

The Sierra Club then expressed concerns about sewage treatment, well systems, the aquifer and the impact 4,1000 would have on the Hood Canal.

Concerns have been raised about what the development would mean for Black Point’s kettle ponds, unique ponds formed by retreating glaciers which are of cultural significance to area tribes.

The agreement requires the developer to work with the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe to preserve one of two kettles and to arrive at a kettle management plan.

This would allow the tribe to enhance the selected kettle by removing invasive vegetation and planting it with native vegetation found at the time of its use by native people.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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