'Castle Oaks East' may be built next to the Highlands

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - MORE ON THE WAY? - Timberland Homes, which built the Castle Oaks subdivision in King City, is proposing to build a similar development just south of the Highlands.For years, residents of the Highlands have had Dickson Street off 131st Avenue to themselves, as it forms the southern boundary of the 55-plus community.

Now a developer is proposing to develop a nearly 5-acre site on the south side of the street that would use Dickson as its access to 131st.

Timberland Homes is preparing a proposal for the city of King City to annex three properties totaling 4.8 acres between 128th and 131st avenues.

The proposal will include a request to change the zoning of the properties from the current Washington County designation of R-15, which requires 12 to 15 dwelling units per acre, to a designation of Attached Residential Zone R-9, which calls for nine dwelling units per acre.

Steve Brown, the owner of Timberland Homes who built the Castle Oaks and Castle Oaks South subdivisions, spoke to area residents at two meetings in late February - a Community Participation Organization 4K (King City) meeting at the Highlands Clubhouse on Feb. 25 and another one at the Best Western Northwind Inn & Suites on Feb. 26.

Brown emphasized that no formal steps had been taken on the project dubbed "Castle Oaks East," but his purpose in reducing the zoning density that is part of the Bull Mountain Community Plan is because "we want to make it more in keeping with the surrounding area."

Brown added, "We think King City would be more much amenable to a lower density than Washington County. We think the King City council will be more amenable that the Washington County commissioners in Hillsboro."

Brown is proposing to build 36 single, detached family homes, pointing out that the higher-density figure would mean a multi-family complex "that could be 50 or 60 apartments."

As for the traffic impact of the single-family-home complex, Brown noted that 131st is designated as a collector and could handle the additional traffic. The site plan calls for two T-shaped streets that both access Dickson, with no direct access to 131st.

Brown pointed out that there are several intersections along 131st that are already close together, "and I'm not sure the city and county would like another street connected to 131st."

According to Brown, he had already held a pre-application conference at King City City Hall and hoped to submit the completed application by the end of March, and the city would then have 30 days to look it over.

If the process goes well, the city would schedule a public hearing with notices sent two or three weeks ahead of time to all property owners within a prescribed area around the site.

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - LOOKING AT THE FUTURE - People attending the Feb. 26 meeting at the Best Western Northwind Inn check out plans for a subdivision being proposed by Timberland Homes owner Steve Brown (center) on nearly 5 acres just south of the Highlands.A man in the audience at one of the meetings commented, "All these homes will have young kids going to school and parents going to work. People will use the Highlands as a cut-through (to get to Peachvale Street just south of Beef Bend Road). My other concern is that Dickson will turn into a Fischer Road with a lot of cars parked on it."

Brown replied, "You're right - this development is going to cause more vehicle trips, but we're trying to lower the vehicle count with the lower zoning designation."

A woman in the audience responded, "I think if you went back to the drawing board, you could come up with access on 131st. I paid for a home and street in a quiet neighborhood."

Brown answered, "We think this plan actually enhances the neighborhood," and added that the houses would sell in the $350,000 to $450,000 price range.

Brown added that overall, the region is failing to meet the urban density requirements dictated by Metro and that he expects resistance to his proposal to lower the density on this site.

"Support from people in the neighborhood for this project and lowering the density would help," he said.

A man asked, "How many kids will there be per acre? How many bicycles? How many skateboards?"

Brown replied that the average number of trips per day for a single-family home is 10.

A woman who lives at the intersection of Dickson and 129th said, "I realize I'm going to have to suck it up and accept this. But we have a very nice walking path, and there will be 10 houses backing up to the path. How will you keep people out of our walking path?"

Brown, who said he lives in King City, replied, "I have always fenced my residents' yards."

A man commented, "We are looking at the lesser of two evils (with 36 homes instead of 60 apartments), but we would rather have a park there."

A woman said, "I walk in Castle Oaks and talk to the residents - they love their homes. We don't need to worry about the quality of the homes - only the traffic."

Westland Consultants Inc. is providing the engineering and planning services for the project, and Ed Brockman, a broker with Windermere Bridgeport Realty Group, is handling the land sale.

Louis Graven owned 3.89 acres of the 4.8-acre site, and Brockman said he met with him many times over the years about selling the property, but it wasn't until after Graven died that the family decided to sell.

"I deal with many builders, and I chose Steve for this property because Mr. Graven hated high density," said Brockman, who added that the owner of an adjacent half-acre also is selling his property this summer; the owner of another half-acre is not interested in selling at this time but will probably sell in the future to complete the 4.8 acres development.

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