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Much of the land where Forterra and Hamilton envision building a new, environmentally friendly residential development is currently an expanse of field on Walders Road.

HAMILTON — The Hamilton Town Council took several steps last week toward teaming with Forterra to develop a 45-acre property for housing and business space outside the Skagit River floodplain.

The council approved annexing the property, which is in the town’s urban growth area, into town limits. The council also laid the groundwork for changing the zoning from residential under county zoning codes to business commercial under town codes.

Hamilton Mayor Joan Cromley said the business commercial zone has also been amended to allow a mix of commercial and residential uses.

The town and Forterra, a nonprofit land conservancy based in Seattle, also recently received funding to explore ways to provide sewer services to the future development.

While excitement among many in the town east of Sedro-Woolley is building about the project, there is also some skepticism.

Forterra has arranged a community meeting for 11 a.m. Oct. 19 at Town Hall to update the community on the project and address concerns.

“There’s been some really crazy misinformation out there flying around,” Cromley said. “It’s a chance to come in and ask questions.”

The idea of developing land outside the Skagit River floodplain preceded Cromley’s time as mayor, which began in 2013.

Officials have raised the issue over the years due to frequent flooding of the town, which hugs the Skagit River bank and is typically the first town to take on water during high winter flows.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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