Some historical context is needed in response to the letter criticizing the county for its decision to construct the connector road. This road is long-awaited and much needed. Both town and county agreed in 2007 that a 46-acre parcel of land bordering the town would be designated as an Urban Growth Area. This allows denser development than in the county, which is typically one home on five acres.
Infrastructure studies were completed and annexation of the property took place in 2009. Key to the annexation was that one-third of the property (15.5 acres) would be designated for permanently affordable housing. This portion was zoned multi-family with a minimum density of eight homes per acre. The remaining 30 acres were zoned single-family, or four homes per acre. Thus, 240 potential new home sites were added to the town.
As part of the county’s commitment to affordable housing and the fact that it would all be inside the town, the county promised that the connector road would be built. The town didn’t want to add traffic to Warbass, a narrow street ending at the ferry lanes, so restricted development to 60 homes until the new road was built.
The San Juan Community Home Trust acquired five acres in September 2009 and began construction of Sun Rise Condominium. The other 10 acres for permanently affordable housing is owned by Community Property LLC; holding the property until SJCHT is ready to develop it.
The private landowners and SJCHT agreed to a 50-50 split, limiting the affordable housing to no more than 30 homes. When phase two of Sun Rise is completed, SJCHT will have built 26 homes on the property, close to reaching its limit until the road is built.
The letter further assumed that the county must pay for the right-of-way to build the round-about. This is untrue as the landowners have agreed to donate the land. These negotiations have led to the approval of the road, lifting a cloud over the future development of more permanently affordable homes and the build-out of the UGA.
SJ Community Home Trust