Bluewater Terrace CUP application is raising major concerns about traffic

by Richard Uhlhorn

An estimated 48 people attended a Manson Community Council (MCC) meeting on Tuesday evening, February 15 to listen to and/or comment on Bluewater Legacy Estates LLC application for a Conditional Use Permit for an Agricultural Tourism Short Term Rental development that would include up to 20 casita units, planted grape vines, a swimming pool and pool house, and a tasting room with retail wine sales.

The developer is also proposing a future component for an event center that would include up to 120 parking spaces which was the focus of the Community Council’s concerns.

The developer has only one (at this time) ingress/egress point which is just prior to Rocky Point, and this has created a major discussion on how SR-150 would be affected, not only for increased traffic, but the safety of visitors staying at the development crossing the highway to the proposed marina.

Kari Sorenson, chairman of the MCC, opened the discussion by saying, “This is going to affect everyone and anybody using the highway!”

The proposed STR development called Bluewater Terrace is within the area circled with the access road just east of Rocky Point.

David Kieninger, a traffic engineer with WSDOT, attended the meeting to answer questions. He explained immediately that the DOT is reviewing the application and will be providing comments to the City of Chelan’s Planning Department. “It looks like this is right at the edge of City limits,” he said.

Sorenson said the Council is concerned with foot traffic at the intersection and asked if the DOT could do something to mitigate the perceived issues. Kieninger replied that SR-150 is a local connector and not a high priority with the DOT. “We are interested in keeping freight moving (orchard traffic) and that road safe,” said Kieninger. “We are looking at lower speed limits.” He added that SR-150 is a multimodal road that also accommodates bicycles and pedestrians. “It’s definitely a balance we are trying to achieve.”

Councilwoman Cindy said, “There are no shoulders there and the entrance (to the proposed development) is right there. It gets challenging in the summertime.” Sorenson added, “Kinda scary!”

Kieninger also said that the DOT faces numerous challenges with all the access points along the highway. “It’s a lot better to control access points… the full meal deal would be a roundabout, but that comes at a significant expense.”

He added that building a right and left hand turn lane might be the answer, but that the City of Chelan is responsible for dictating what happens and the State only provides comments on the SEPA questionaire.

Sorenson asked what the tipping point is for traffic on SR-150. Kieninger replied that the DOT doesn’t have a number for that, but as traffic builds up, people have to make an adjustment. “There is capacity on the highway,” he said. “It will definitely be slower to get to Manson.”

When asked about the DOT building an alternative route, Kieninger stated that the DOT doesn’t build new highways, they just manage old ones. He added that any alternate route from Manson to Chelan would have to be undertaken by the County and City.

City Councilman John Olson told the Council that the Public Comment period ends on March 4 and encouraged the council and public to send in comments on the proposed project. Sorenson added, “It is important to write letters.”

Sorenson asked Olson if the Manson Community Council had a voice with the Chelan City Council. Olson replied that the current Council is receptive to public comment. “Everything that happens in Manson affects Chelan and vice versa.”

Written comments can be submitted to the Chelan Planning Department by March 4, 2022 to:

City of Chelan

Department of Planning and Community Development

P.O. Box 1669

Chelan, WA 98816

or by email to:

mlibbey@cityofchelan.us

The City of Chelan’s next Council meeting in on Tuesday, February 22, and offers a chance for the public to be heard at the beginning of its meetings.

Author: allthingslakechelan

I have been a journalist, photojournalist and reporter in the Lake Chelan Valley since 1988; first with the Wenatchee World, then 15 years at the Lake Chelan Mirror and another 12 years at GoLakeChelan. Currently, I am semi-retired but can't give up the media gig which is why I started All Things Lake Chelan blog. I also have two social media platforms; allthingslakechelan/facebook and lakechelansportsandrecration/facebook. I am also a professional photographer with many credits with major outlets around the world.

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