In 1988, I was the chair of the Redmond Planning Commission. At that time, the property that currently houses Emerald Heights and the Abbey Road subdivision was Department of Natural Resources (DNR) property. My family lived nearby, and my son enjoyed riding his bike on trails that he and other neighbors made through the woods there.
When the joint proposals of the Abbey Road subdivision and Emerald Heights came up for this DNR property, it was greeted as a unique and beneficial development. It preserved significant amounts of green space. The greenbelt along 176th Avenue Northeast hid Emerald Heights from the adjacent single-family housing. Other than its entrance, you wouldn’t know Emerald Heights was there. Documents signed by the owners of Emerald Heights showed their legal requirement to keeping the greenbelt in place. Knowing those requirements, our family moved into Abbey Road the same year Emerald Heights opened.
Abbey Road has extensive greenbelts also — slightly more than Emerald Heights. Abbey Road maintains the trails that go through those greenbelts. The trails are open to the public. We cannot and will not build in our greenbelts. We are living up to our legal requirements. We expect Emerald Heights ownership to live up to their legal requirements.
We have been friends with Emerald Heights for many years. We are still friends and allies with the residents of Emerald Heights, although the management there is portraying us as enemies. The proposed two-blocks long, three-stories high, flat-topped building, within 15 feet of their property line along the boulevard that borders our single-family neighborhood, replacing the existing wide greenbelt, cannot be allowed. It will set a precedence for other neighborhoods.
Emerald Heights’ business plan is flawed. Emerald Heights has other options to reconfigure its property to meet the needs of its current residents for private skilled nursing and assisted living without building in the greenbelt. The residents of Abbey Road and Emerald Heights deserve better.