Popular green space leveled for Renton housing

KING 5's Alison Morrow reports that neighbors have been fighting to save a green space in Renton, but a housing development will take over.

More than a thousand trees are coming down in a popular Renton green space in the Tiffany Park neighborhood right now.

The residents around the 3200 block of Southeast 18th Street tried to reduce the environmental impact of the 21-acre parcel slated to become 94 new homes.

For many years woodpeckers were one of the few allowed to cut into trees at the end of the street. A sign warned people: "no dumping" or "tree cutting" on the Renton school district property. But sound of heavy equipment changed that. The school board sold the property to a developer.

"We wanted to feel like we were trying to help mitigate. We knew we couldn't stop the sale," Cynthia Garlough.

Garlough and other neighbors rallied to reduce the tree cutting.

"Our environment's very interconnected. There's the food chain in the forest. The owls, the bats, the bogs," Marilee Veniegas said. "It was a healthy forest."

It's no secret, the area is growing. Green space is making new space for housing but in a neighborhood adults chose for the trees -- where kids play daily.

"It's just sad to see it all gone. All the memories I made there with all my friends, just gone now," Andrew Albrecht said.

Neighbors did help save some trees. The city is requiring developers protect 30-percent of the 1,300 significant trees on the property. Thats a total of 188 trees spared from the backhoes, but it doesn't make this any easier for neighbors to look at.

"I grew up here. I have friends who are starting to raise families. I brought my nieces," Veniegas said.

The city of Renton sent the following statement to KING 5:

On January 7, 2015, the Renton Hearing Examiner approved "The Reserve at Tiffany Park" (aka Allura at Tiffany Park) preliminary plat application for a 96-lot subdivision with 25 conditions of approval. The current version of the submitted preliminary civil construction drawings for the subdivision of the 21.66 acre (943,336 sq. ft.) site includes 94 single family lots and 17 tracts. The tracts include sensitive areas, tree retention, storm drainage, access, utilities, pedestrian connections, landscaping, and open space including an (existing) vegetated buffer along the west, north and east boundary lines of the development. The final net density of the site is 4.34 dwelling units per acre with over four (4) acres of open space.

Throughout the public land use entitlement process for this project, the City of Renton has required professionally prepared reports and studies, such as a Habitat Data Report, Tree Protection Plan Report, Wetland Assessment, and Traffic Study. The City of Renton required Independent Secondary Reviews of several of the submitted reports and studies prior to making an Environmental 'SEPA' determination and a staff recommendation to the Hearing Examiner. In addition, the City of Renton invited the public and all parties of interest to participate in a Community Meeting on September 9, 2014 to discuss topics of interest, such as project overview, public process, and participation in the public process. Many of the public comment periods were extended throughout the process to allow citizens time to respond to the application.

During our review, staff required the applicant to revise and resubmit an updated Arborist Report and Tree Retention Plan to retain at least 30 percent (30%) of the significant trees onsite in order to promote land development practices that would result in minimal adverse disturbance to existing vegetation and soils. The most current tree retention plan includes retention of 33% of the significant trees for a total of 207 saved trees (see attached tree retention worksheet for calculating tree retention). Please also find attached the site plan, tree retention plan and landscaping plans (L1-L13) for more information regarding Allura at Tiffany Park.

© 2017 KING-TV


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