Opinion

Editorial: New Coupeville homes are nothing to complain about

A 20-home development in Coupeville remains controversial several years after it was given the go-ahead by town planners. But it shouldn’t be attracting so much criticism at this late stage of the game, particularly in light of the present economy.

The financially troubled Laurens Woods project, now in the hands of Lake Stevens developer Zakir Parpia, will add 20 homes at the end of Albion and Faris streets. The homes are expected to cost $250,000 to $300,000 and look quite alike, each two-stories with three to five bedrooms.

The development was trotted out for public comment one final time before the Design Review Board last week. It was an odd meeting; the board was limited to official input only on certain design-related items, but board members didn’t seem to realize the project had long-since been approved. Neighbors also were on hand to criticize the development, and they didn’t show themselves in the best light. Complaining about lower-cost housing in the neighborhood didn’t look good, nor did threatening to go to court to stop a project that has already been approved after a lengthy public process. According to the Growth Management Act, development belongs inside city limits. And Coupeville has plenty of hurdles for any developer to jump through to assure that housing is properly situated.

What’s surprising about the development at this late stage is that Parpia vows to get on with it as quickly as possible. If he’s true to his word, 20 new houses will be soon going up in Coupeville.

In today’s bleak economy this is good news for Whidbey Island’s large, out-of-work construction community, as well as for those who provide other goods and services for new houses. The town will also benefit from sales and property tax revenues.

The neighbors will have to get used to lower-cost housing in their midst, but in time they’ll get over it.

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