A new development featuring 18 cottages has been approved along Anacopper Mine Road.

The City Council on Monday approved the site plan for the cottages, each at a maximum 1,200 square feet, despite concerns from some neighbors ranging from increased traffic to damage to area wetlands. 

The project is led by property owner and developer Nels Strandberg of Strandberg Construction.

The cottages will be located on 5.2 acres between the Copper Pond neighborhood to the north, The Meadows neighborhood to the east, Eagle Ridge and Rock Ridge neighborhoods to the south and southeast, and Anacortes Airport to the west. The plan also includes three standard single-family homes.

The council heard from several people who thought the cottages would add too much traffic to the area and may cause damage to the nearby wetland.

The council had to make its decision based on the code, as written, council member Ryan Walters said.

State law doesn’t allow for a change in the code in the middle of a discussion about a permit application, he said. That can lead to difficult discussions, even as residents share concerns.

“We must evaluate it based on the code that’s in place today,” Walters said.

Council member Matt Miller said he shares some concerns with the residents, including traffic and changing the density of the neighboring areas, but the city spent a lot of time on the development code and that stands.

The City Council approved code regarding cottages in mid-2019 as part of a discussion to bring more housing to town.

City Planning Director Don Measamer said that the council could send the application back to the Planning Commission if it felt like some elements had not been discussed. He said in the staff’s opinion, the application meets all requirements set forth by the current city code.

The Planning Commission recommended some conditions for the application, which the City Council also included in its approval of the project. A final plan is required, including crosswalk locations and more information about the care of the wetland buffer located near the property.

In total, the commission set forth 44 conditions and recommendations that must be met by the developer moving forward.

A traffic analysis was done on the site, and the contractor will be required to follow minimum tree requirements as outlined in the city code, according to city staff.

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