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Arlington resident struggles to sell on 172nd

ARLINGTON Joe Biwer feels like hes caught in a Catch-22.
His parents built his house at 3950 172nd St. NE in the 1950s, and hes looking to sell the land. The problem is, no one wants to buy property with limited access.
The Washington State Department of Transportation installed a median barrier on 172nd Street for safety reasons, after the overpass project was done. In order to make his property more attractive to developers, Biwer asked the city for a left-in/left-out turn on the street to serve his land, but hes been told that there needs to be development on site to warrant a left-in/left-out turn.
Why would somebody spend the money to develop it if they dont have a way to get in and get out? Biwer said. Its making it impossible to sell, when people have to do U-turns to get here.
Biwer said that J.C. Penneys had been interested earlier in the year, but backed out. He also pointed out that the city has requested a 60-foot buffer in the back of his 30-acre property, for the 173rd Street access to 43rd Avenue, to serve as a buffer between retail and residential zones. At the same time, he noted that his property taxes will be going up from $28,000 to $31,000.
A U-turn would be possible at 43rd Avenue, but not until the Wal-Mart and its accompanying new street were built.
City of Arlington Public Works Director Len Olive expressed support for Biwer, but also emphasized the limits of what the city can do.
For the most part, I think were on the same page as Mr. Biwer, Olive said. Weve told WSDOT that, at a minimum, we want a temporary left-in/left-out for him. Like him, were also adamant that Wal-Mart doesnt need as many entry and exit points as its asking for.
Olive said the 172nd Street corridor is one of the top concerns of the citys six-year transportation improvement plan. He ranked the proposed renovations of 172nd Street, which is State Route 531, 188th Street and 67th Avenue as equally important, while placing a fourth-place priority on extending 186th Avenue, from state Route 9 to the new Brekhus Beach area on Burn Hill.
They need a secondary point of access, Olive said. On 67th Avenue, wed like to link 211th Street to State Route 530. On 188th Street, between 59th and 67th avenues, they have a skate park and a ball field, but not really a satisfactory pedestrian mobility between those points. All the rest of our items are the same as last year, but these are our top priorities for 2007.

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