Burien homeowners fighting to stop removal of 80 trees

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by ZAHID ARAB / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 4, 2013 at 6:51 PM

BURIEN, Wash. -- A concerned group of residents in Burien want to block plans to build a 170-unit apartment complex near Seahurst Park.

“Neighbors of Seahurst Park” claim the project will make the area unable to absorb rainwater and runoff and puts the area at risk for massive landslides like the one near Coupeville last week.

“We’ve had several slides both in the park and adjacent to it,” said resident Brian Stapleton.

The Westmark Emerald Pointe Project received a permit to chop down about 80 trees to get started on its apartment project.

If the trees are taken away, Stapleton and other residents claim the integrity of the land would be compromised. He fears nearby condos and a mental health facility would be in trouble during heavy rain.

“They could lose parts of parking lots or in the worst case, the building themselves,” he said.

The apartments are planned in an area prone to landslides and in the City of Burien’s “Critical Areas Map.” City officials received a Land Use Petition from residents on Monday.

“The City of Burien has followed the steps we need to follow under the State Land Use Laws and the city will be defending the steps that we took,” said Craig Knutson, Burien City Attorney.

Stapleton says only a win in court will guarantee what happened in Coupeville doesn’t happen in Burien.

“You have to look at history and learn from history,” said Stapleton.

Only a permit to clear the site has been issued. Neighbors of Seahurst Park claim once that’s done, there’s no guarantee the developer will get the permits to finish building.

A judge will address the matter by September.
 

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