By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The request originates with the Great Recession-caused poor housing market and how it has decreased demand for new construction.
It is preventing the developer, Port Ludlow Associates, from reaching its goal of constructing 400 new homesites before the permits expire.
“The economy makes it difficult for us to reach our goal,” said Port Ludlow Associates President Diana Smeland.
Smeland said if an extension is not granted, the company would readjust the goal and build fewer homes during the time period.
All those who have commented about the project in person at a commissioners meeting Monday or in written form favor the project, with two qualifiers.
The adequacy of water rights and the ability to meet the demands of new homes should be addressed prior to any extension, according to several of those testifying.
There are two contaminated sites that will require cleanup, the cost of which should be assumed by those responsible for the contamination and not the citizens of Port Ludlow, testimony indicated.
“The bottom line is that the community widely supports the requested five-year extension of the development agreement,” said Port Ludlow Village Council Vice President Tony Durham.
“But we urge that county approval require independent and transparent analysis of both issues as an integral condition of that approval.”
Durham said Port Ludlow has in the past been heavily composed of retirees and vacationers, skewing the results of water-use estimations.
“Recently, more year-round residents and changes in demographics have resulted in a higher per household water usage,” he said.
County Department of Community Development planner David Wayne Johnson said water rights are evaluated during the building permit process.
The commissioners Monday instructed staff to prepare a report about the proposed extension, which will be considered at their April 22 meeting.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.