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October 29, 2020  PDF   Print   View All
Large housing development coming to Belfair
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020
By Kirk Boxleitner
kboxleitner@masoncounty.com

When Harbor Custom Development announced in September its $3.9 million purchase and sale agreement for 48 acres of 145 undeveloped lots in Belfair, Mason County District 2 Commissioner Kevin Shutty saw the prospective development of entry-level, single-family houses and multifamily apartments as a promising sign for Belfair's Urban Growth Area.

Mason County Planning Manager Kell Rowen recalled that the state's Growth Management Act had required Mason County to institute zoning during the 1990s that resulted in Belfair becoming the first UGA in the state without having an associated incorporated city in 2004. Belfair isn't incorporated.

Belfair's sewer system wouldn't follow until 2009, and even then, Rowen described it as under-used, an assessment shared by Shutty.

Because the Belfair development, which would be called Olympic Ridge, would likely be connected to the Belfair sewer system, Shutty and Rowen expect the influx of new sewer customers would help stabilize the sewer system financially.

Rowen credited the county's previous staffers with anticipating such a development when they approved and implemented the Belfair sewer system, even though their vision took years to bear fruit.

"This has been a long time coming," Rowen said.

When Shutty first ran for office in 2016, his goals were for Mason County to become not only a regional leader, but also competitive across the state.

In terms of housing, Shutty identified a sequence of growth: Seattle's housing growth helped feed Kitsap County's growth, which helped feed Mason County's growth. While Shutty also identified Mason County's investments in the state Route 3 freight corridor, the Belfair sewer system and its system of Park and Rides, he noted that the supply of affordable housing has continued to run short of the region's demand.

"This county is still exporting jobs," said Shutty, who estimated that roughly half of Mason County residents commute to jobs outside the county.

"We need to be a community where people can live and work. People need to see that we're a great place to invest in," he said.

Harbor's homes wouldn't have any income restrictions for buyers and are likely to include work from- home spaces to accommodate COVID-19 caused telecommuting that's expected to persist past the end of the pandemic.

Shutty identified Mason County's existing industries as fairly stable, between its Navy presence and its natural resources, including timber and agriculture.

With King, Kitsap and Pierce counties experiencing what Shutty called a "crunch" in their developable lands, he says Mason County is "in a prime spot to accommodate" those unable to obtain entrylevel housing in those counties, especially with its access to rail, multiple state highways and Hood Canal.

"As long as we proceed with smart, thoughtful planning, we can enjoy a thriving economy and robust public services and infrastructure, without interrupting the rural character of the quality of life we've all come to enjoy here," Shutty said.

Part of that planning included a public hearing before the Mason County hearing examiner on Wednesday in the Mason County Commissioners' Chambers in Building 1 at 411 N. 5th St. in Shelton. For more information, call 360-427-9670, ext. 365.

"Mason County hasn't had a new subdivision in about a decade, since the expansion of LakeLand Village in Allyn," Rowen said. Harbor expects the closing on Olympic Ridge to take place upon preliminary plat approval on or before March 15.
Harbor Custom Development, Inc.

11505 Burnham Drive, Suite 301
Gig Harbor, WA. 98332
Phone: (253) 649-5216

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"All rights reserved. Information provided on this website reflects views and representations of management. House plans, specifications, pricing and data shown are subject to change and herein are the exclusive property of Harbor Custom Development, Inc." LIC. HARBOCH813PB.