The Bridges housing development in Kent. FILE PHOTO, Kent Reporter

The Bridges housing development in Kent. FILE PHOTO, Kent Reporter

Developer withdraws Kent land-use change to allow townhouses

City Council turned down Oakpointe Communities proposal in March

Bellevue-based Oakpointe Communities withdrew its application to the city of Kent for a controversial land use change that could allow the developer to build 150 townhouses near the Bridges neighborhood.

Derek Matheson, city chief administrative officer, announced at the April 6 City Council meeting that Oakpointe had withdrawn its application for a comprehensive plan amendment.

“The issue will not come back to the council in the near future,” Matheson said. “Oakpointe indicated it might try for a comprehensive plan amendment in the 2022 cycle.”

That could mean the proposed ordinance to amend the city’s comprehensive land-use map to allow housing on the 13.2-acre site could come before the council in the fall. The application to build the townhomes could go before the Land Use and Planning Board in spring 2022.

Meanwhile, the mayors and planning department directors from Kent and Auburn plan to meet on Wednesday, April 14 to discuss an annexation of the Bridges community to Auburn, Matheson said.

The Bridges housing development is in the city of Kent, but surrounded by properties in the city of Auburn. The 155 acres is part of a “municipal island” in Kent with about 380 homes and 1,000 residents.

Oakpointe requested the city of Kent change the land use to low density multifamily from urban separator as a first step toward building the townhouses. Oakpointe constructed the Bridges housing development on the site along 124th Avenue Southeast between Southeast 288th and 304th streets.

The Kent City Council on March 2 voted 4-3 against an ordinance to amend the city’s comprehensive land-use map to allow housing on the site. The council intended to vote on the measure again March 16, but voted 4-3 to remove the item from the agenda.

Several Kent residents told the council March 2 that they have concerns about increased traffic, nearby wetlands and whether Auburn might annex the land and need to make land-use decisions. More than 530 Lea Hill residents signed an online petition asking the city to reject the proposed land-use changes, according to an email to the Kent Reporter from a resident against the development.

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