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Debated plats to move forward

The Federal Way City Council recently gave the final approval for the Rosewood and Silverwood development projects, which some residents claim are moving forward at their expense.

The developments are located in the same area as other properties that councilors agreed Dec. 18 to condemn because of flooding problems. Portions of their properties will become part of a new regional stormwater detention facility.

Novastar Development Inc., the company developing the subdivisions, has met the city’s development requirements and has dedicated the infrastructure, like water and sewer mains and roads, to the city and the Lakehaven Utility District.

The city now will provide street maintenance to the projects and the utility district will provide water services, Assistant City Manager Derek Mattheson said.

With those services in place, the developer is free to begin selling individual lots.

Some residents of the condemned properties allege that Silverwood and Rosewood are moving forward at their expense. Part of the stormwater maintenance plan for the developments is to drain water into the regional detention facility.

But Mattheson said the regional detention facility — and condemnation of the properties — was in the works long before the subdivisions came along.

In 1992, Brown and Caldwell, a California-based environmental engineering and consultation firm, conducted an analysis of the depression where the stormwater facility is proposed and recommended a buy-out of properties located at and below an elevation of 320 feet.

There is an important difference distinguishing the properties, according to a 1998 study conducted of the area by Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, Inc., who worked as consultants to Novastar Development on the Silverwood project.

The consultants found two types of soil on the Silverwood development site. One type was a dense glacial till that doesn’t filter water well, allowing it to build up and flood. The other type was an outwash soil that has a high infiltration capability. That ability to filter water out and away from the property saved the sites for development.

City Public Works Director Cary Roe told councilors on Dec. 18 that Rosewood and Silverwood are special because the infiltratable soil is already present on-site.

Still, the developer had to install a pipe for additional drainage and had to provide financial security in case of flooding, he said.

The Silverwood project is a 29.5-acre cluster subdivision located near the intersection of Southwest 360th Street and Eighth Avenue Southwest. Rosewood is a 4.7-acre development comprising nine residential lots. It’s located in the 36100 block near the intersection of Sixth Avenue Southwest.

The development of the Rosewood project was dependent on approval of the Silverwood project for several infrastructure improvements, including stormwater drainage.

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