New housing development on Finch Drive spurred eagle’s nest clearance | Local company

An active bald eagle’s nest was shot last month on Finch Drive in Longview in order to build a 52-unit apartment complex.

A company called Finch Drive LLC is developing the townhouse complex north of where Finch Drive currently stands, in an undeveloped area between two cutoff swamps. According to documents submitted to the town of Longview, the housing complex is an approximately $5.9 million project that would provide townhouses for approximately 100 people.

A Federal Eagle’s Nest Removal Permit has been issued to White River Development LLC to remove a nest in the development area. According to the site plans filed with the city, the Eagle’s Nest was located in the route of the new road that will lead to the apartments.

A Federal Eagle’s Nest Permit has been issued for the removal of an Eagle’s Nest to construct the proposed complex. In this map from the city’s SEPA environmental review documents, the nest was marked as being in the middle of where the buildings are intended to go.

Town of Longview, Contribution

Floor plans filed show that the complex would be divided into four lots with 15 two-story buildings, each containing two or four apartments. The promoters offer between one and three parking spaces per accommodation, as well as a small collective parking lot.

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Longview planning officials requested that a walking path be developed, the trail connecting the four lots and the informal walking path that currently exists around the disused lagoons of the town.

Brett Bates is listed as the point of contact for the White River development and the Finch Drive apartment project. Bates and other Finch Drive LLC representatives could not be reached for comment by Monday’s deadline.

Development plans are open for public comment as part of the state environmental policy law insignificance determination process. This determination means that SEPA officials believe the new resort is unlikely to have a negative impact on the local environment.

Removal of Eagle’s Nest tree in West Longview ruffles feathers

Shoot down unusual permits for active nests

In late December, neighbors at the site protested the removal of an active eagle’s nest on the property, saying it was the home of eagles and that they had enjoyed watching the eaglets hatch every spring for several decades.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service issues permits for eagle nests to be taken under specific circumstances. Active crow’s nests may only be removed if they present an immediate security risk.

According to the permit, the nest was taken down “to protect an interest in a particular locality.” This category of permit requires the applicant to take mitigation measures that “with reasonable certainty will provide a net benefit to the eagles” and is only available for alternate nests, which are not actively used.

Other details in the public record apparently run counter to the license’s explanation. The same app page lists Eagle’s Nest as being in use. Neighbors said the eagles were in the nest until the day it was removed, then returned once it descended to fly over it.

Bryce Clary, owner of Bud Clary Auto Group and Finch Drive LLC, told the Daily News via email in December that the tree was “dangerous”.

“Our #1 priority was and is environmental safety on and around the property,” he wrote. “We have been working with a professional consultant and the USFWS, step by step, over the past 6+ months to track the appropriate channels.”

As part of the permission process for the destruction of the nest, White River Development agreed to pay $247,500 in mitigation. Mitigation efforts include working with Eagle Electrocution Solutions to upgrade 45 power poles that pose a high risk to eagles and planting two groups of trees within the boundaries of the new complex.

The SEPA documents filed said construction work on the townhouse complex would begin “immediately following approvals”.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to specify in the cut line of the map of the complex the name of the developer of the project.

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