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Northshore battle: Watch this, Twin Lakes | Letters
Many are congratulating the staunch defenders of the Northshore Golf Course on a hard won victory over the developers proposing a high density housing project. Unfortunately, these plaudits are premature. Although the City of Tacoma’s hearing examiner has rejected the developer’s application, considerable legal maneuvering is still to come.
What continues to drive this legal brouhaha? Purely and simply, the prospects of enormous profits to rescue Soundbuilt Homes’ foundering empire. Their subsidiary Northshore Investors Limited (NIL) has managed to negotiate a sale price for the golf course far below normal value for development properties. The potential for gain is staggering, given their past successes at constructing low cost, high density housing at minimal cost, along with their expertise at mitigating their way out of infrastructure improvement requirements and their skill in litigating code conflicts.
With the filing of an appeal to disallow the recent hearing examiner’s findings and recommendation that the proposed development of the Northshore Golf Course be disallowed, NIL once again has prolonged this three-year-old controversy.
The developer’s appeal will be heard by the Tacoma City Council at 5 p.m. April 13 at Tacoma City Hall. A denial would, of course, be favorable to those opposing the development and hopefully hasten the end of the legal wrangling. An approval would open yet another legal can of worms and prolong the dispute for more years to come. Either way, appeals to the Pierce County Superior Court will likely follow. The cost of the time and effort being spent by the city, the developer and the community surely could be put to better purposes.
The primary issue is NIL’s request for rezoning of the golf course property. Their ploy is that the golf course property is not needed to satisfy the one-third open space requirement inherent in the PRD zoning code as originally specified in the 1981 agreement between the city, the golf course owners and developers involved at that time. This is based on the ridiculous argument that all the driveway and yard areas of the adjacent developments should be included in the PRD public open space total, violating property owners' historic right to privacy dating back to the caveman.
The city council should not be a party to such a farce. But if the applicants are sincere in their pleading, at least the community could look forward to enjoying the backyard swimming pool of the golf course owner who lives adjoining the golf course.
Twin Lakes homeowners should be viewing these proceedings with considerable interest and alarm. As the economy begins to revive, enterprising developers will be viewing your dilemma with glee.
Gene B. Foster, NE Tacoma