The Burlington Hill Truth 2013


NOTE: As you read below you will find that the experience and training, that the land developer purported, was certainly more than adequate for the Burlington Hill development, but lets look a little closer at the developers Resume. What it doesn't convey is the success, or failure of those so called purported projects. For example, the development of the Tinas Coma Plat, named Burlington Hill. What is factual is that the developer had commissioned the Burlington Hill Plat in 1999, failed to take responsibility for the causation of the road failures in 2002, and twice failed to complete the reconstruction in 2006, and 2007, then quit in November 2007, and moved out of state to Utah, but not before the developer, and the City of Burlington had given express assurance, that the reconstruction would be completed by October 31st, 2007.  

Now what was legally required of the developer was to adhere to following:  



Finally, assuming that the developer actually had the experience that he purported on his Resume, then how could the developer had so drastically failed in his endeavors.
JUNE 3, 2006


The meeting was called to order by Joe Buechele, President of Tinas Coma Owners’ Association at 10:15 a.m.. There were eighteen lots represented. Attending were Joe Buechele (Lot 18), Pat & Ken Hansen (Lot 21), Rosemary & Dan Reese (Lots 61 & 62), Margaret & Ronald Frahm (Lot 72), Robert Farkasch (Lots 6 & 7), Dan Madlung (Lots 32, 33, 36), Martha Skoien-Humphrey (Lot 81), Ruth Bakke (Lot 52), Bill Cameron (Lot 28), Dan & Cindy Lint (Lot 30), Doris Lam & Ajith Kumar (Lot 22), Edwin and Brit Stickle (Lot 12), and Phyllis Beebe (Lot 44).

The three board members in attendance (Joe Buechele, Bill Cameron & Phyllis Beebe) were introduced. Attendees introduced themselves. 

The minutes from the 2005 annual meeting with presented, Motion was made by Cindy Lint and seconded by Pat Hansen to accept the minutes as written.

A financial report was given by Phyllis Beebe. The balance on hand as of May 31, 2006 was $10,962.35. Phyllis reported she took over the office of Secretary/Treasurer in the fall so did a report for all of 2005 as well as up-to-date for 2006. It was noted that the dues will be less now each year than in 2005, as there will no longer be the one-time $200.00 fee paid to the association when a lot is sold by Property Investors. It appears that the dues as now being collected will just about cover the cost of maintenance and the liability insurance policy required for the association, so we will start to see a decline in the large balance now in the checking account. Phyllis reported that we have removed the three-dimensional lettering from the sign at the entry and had the lettering painted on, as vandals were removing the letters faster than we could have them replaced. 

Joe Buechele did an update on security issues in the neighborhood. There was a break-in during the Christmas season to one of the houses while the owners were away for an extended period of time. Phyllis told of a service offered by Burlington Police to check the house frequently. To obtain this service, you need to fill out a report at the police department with the dates you will be gone. She reported the police are very active in checking the property, as a neighbor reported seeing them check her home several times recently when a report was on file at the police department. There was discussion about the amount of traffic on the road up to the cross on the hill. Dan Madlung reported that he thinks that traffic will stop when there is a house constructed on Lot 59. If it doesn’t stop, the association could install a gate; however it must be a “crash” gate per the restrictions of the fire department. It is felt the police are attempting to reduce the traffic on this road, as they do drive through there frequently and are aware of the problems.

Dan Madlung gave a report on the status of the development. There are 40 houses currently complete or nearly so, five spec houses complete, five spec houses under construction and three more residences to be started within the next 60 days. To his knowledge, there are probably ten lots sold that the owners have no plans to build on in the near future. At the present time, all the lots have been sold except four---two of which will probably end up being access roads and two that Property Investors have earnest money on. Dan reported that Property Investors is still in negotiations with the city on the road condition issues into the development. There has been a study done on the cause of the settling of the roads, but no attempt has been made for repair. Dan reported the developers had installed the roads just as required by the city and the roads are now city property and up to them to maintain and/or repair. Until the roads are repaired, the city will not issue the building permit for the condominiums; however the condominium plans have been approved by the city. He indicated he has earnest money on the condo lots and in fact has a back up offer on them if the current buyer withdraws for any reason. The plan now calls for 56 units in two large buildings and two parking garages per building.

Joe Buechele reported that he is accepting volunteers to staff three required sub committees: Architecture & Design, Landscape Maintenance and Covenant & Bylaws. He reported two board members had visited with members at the city to try to require them to check for the Architecture & Design Committee’s approval before issuing a building permit; however the city said they would not be doing it as wasn’t their responsibility. Joe indicated that the Covenants & Bylaws as written are very difficult to enforce unless we want to file legal action, and the association does not have the funds to do so. It will be up to each individual lot owner to abide by the rules as written and ask for everyone’s cooperation in doing so. The landscape and maintenance area is one that needs to be addressed currently, and the maintenance of the common areas is going to be the main financial impact to the association. Dan Madlung reported that the ponds will need to have the weeds cut inside the fences this year, or we will be getting a notice from the city on their condition. Also, we need to contact a licensed sprayer to kill the alder trees and weeds on the common area around the retention pond. Phyllis reported that we have contacted Dan to have his employee do the mowing again until we can make other arrangements. One of the directors was trying to maintain it, but he found it was a much larger job than he thought and doesn’t have the equipment to do so. The attendees were asked to provide names and phone numbers of possible landscapers who would be interested in doing the job so quotes can be obtained.

When the floor was open to questions or concerns, the following items were discussed. Mrs. Reese commented that the number of construction workers parking on the streets was making it virtually impossible to travel to and from residences. It was reported that it is against the law to park on any of the streets; however it is understood that it will be necessary from time to time when someone is entertaining a group of people or currently during the large amount of construction. Concern was expressed about where the cars are parked, as there are some blind spots that are really dangerous. Mrs. Reese also commented there was a clump of alders growing on the corner of Burlington Heights Drive that was blocking the view at the stop sign.

Robert Farkasch said he has sent two letters to the city of Burlington regarding the speed of cars using Hillcrest Drive but to no avail. He discussed the possibility of putting a stop sign at the corner of Hillcrest and Tinas Coma but was told people wouldn’t abide by it, so it wouldn’t be done. Dan indicated there will be a new City Engineer in July, and possibly we will see more cooperation at that time. He said the association might contact the police department to set their speed flashing sign on Hillcrest for awhile. Joe Buechele said we should have a liaison person working with the city to build a relationship on behalf of the association. Martha Skoien-Humphrey volunteered her husband, Regan, to serve as this person. 

Glenn Dewick indicated there has been an old dump truck and a tractor sitting for months on the condo lot and thinks they should be removed. Dan Madlung will follow up on that and contact the individuals who own the equipment. 

A drawing was held for one year’s free lot dues and was won by Dan and Cindy Lint.

Meeting was adjourned at 11:30. 

APRIL 16, 2005 


The meeting was called to order by Dan Madlung, President of the Tinas Coma Owners’ Association at 7:05 p.m.

Members in attendance:
Tara (Vice President/Secretary) and Chris Davis, Glenn and Constance Dewick (lot 9), Donna Buechele (lot 18), John and Joye Thorn (lot 20), Ken and Pat Hansen (lot 21), Aj Kumar and Doris Lam and kids (lot 22), Dan and Cindy Lint (lot 30), Dan (President) and Sandy Madlung (lot 32), Adolf and Maria Bucko (lot 40), Charles Price (lot 43), Joe and Phylis Beebe (lot 44), Aaron and Bree Shook (lot 48), Ruth Baake (lot 52), Mike and Lanay Petker (lot 63), Hun and Soon Dokko (lot 73), Patrick Grant (lot 74), Mr. and Mrs. Jack Casanarias (lot 78 and 79).

a)Association Definition.
An explanation of what the Owners’ Association is and what the funds pay for was given by Mr. Madlung.  

Mr. Madlung listed the common areas in Tinas Coma, which are: south of Lot 85 (future project), the retention pond, and a small area between Lot 55 & 56 (future small park, picnic table, great place to walk (loop) and half way up Hillcrest on the left (bench area and flowerbeds). All of these areas must be maintained by the Owners’ Association.

i.John Thorn (lot 20) inquired as to whose responsibility it is to keep the gate to the retention pond locked and if there are any liability issues. He remarked that kids are often seen playing inside the fenced area around the pond.
a.In response, Mr. Madlung stated that the pond is owned by the City of Burlington, but that it is the responsibility of the Owners’ Association to keep the gate locked.
b.Ms. Davis added that the City owns all of the common areas, but that again it is the responsibility of the Owners’ Association to maintain all of these areas. This includes all grass areas, flower beds, plants, etc…

b)Current Association Positions.  
Dan Madlung is currently President of the Owners’ Association and Tara Davis is the currently Vice President, Secretary & Treasurer. Ms. Davis would like to be replaced in all capacities this year, since she does not own property in Tinas Coma and has been in her position since 2000. Mr. Madlung would like to be replaced next year. Volunteers for any of these positions were asked to come forward to either Mr. Madlung or Ms. Davis.

c)Reminders of Covenants and Restrictions.  
Tara Davis asked all members in attendance if they had received the Covenants/Restrictions upon the closing sale of their property. Copies were provided to those in attendance that did not have a copy or needed another copy. She briefly reviewed some of the Covenant Rules and Restrictions. They are as follows:
i.Page 13 “Exterior Colors on Home,” where it quotes “you cannot use any primary, reflective colors (bright red, bright blue, bright yellow).”
ii.Page 13 “Fences,” where it quotes that fences can be 6’ maximum in height (City of Burlington standard).
iii.Page 13 under “Landscaping,” where it quotes that “ 6 months to finish.”
iv.Page 14 under “Driveways,” where it quotes “no asphalt”
v.Page 15 no cedar shake roofs.
vi.Page 15 Repair & Maintain home
vii.Page 16 Parking of Recreation vehicle, boat, trailer unless it is in garage or fenced off (covered). No campers, motorhomes on the side of homes. 48 hours maximum per month. Also, parking such vehicles on property while during construction in order to live in is not permitted.
viii.Page 16, no parked cars that don’t run
ix.Page 17, animals must be kept on a leash, can’t just run free. Pick up after them.

Glenn Dewick (lot 9), inquired as to the penalties for non-compliance.
Tara Davis replied that a letter would be written stating the issue of non-compliance, giving them 30 days to comply. If they refuse or do not handle the matter within the 30 days, a company will be hired to do the work, the association will pay for it, the property owner must reimburse or it becomes a lien against the property.

Constance Dewick (lot 9) stated the drainage problem that they are having with lot 8 next door.  

John Thorn (lot 20) states complaint of irregular finish on lot 8 home.

Glenn Dewick mentions (lot 9) 27’ high (7’ over)

Dan Madlung mentioned that he had an old car parked on his property that he will move.


Currently, dues for the Owners’ Association are $120 per year. The Owners’ Association collected $200 on the initial sale of each lot. Dan Madlung suggested that the dues be lowered to $75 per year since almost all of the lots are sold (providing $6,750 in annual income based upon 90 lots at $75 per year) and that they could possibly be lowered again as the years go by. Ballots have been sent to all property owners and those received were one “no” and the rest “yes”. The motion to reduce the yearly dues to $75 was thus passed. Those that have paid $120 in dues for 2005 already, will be refunded.  

Joe Bebe (lot 44) asked if the condo was part of the dues. Dan Madlung answered that the condo will have its’ own association and that it will pay what is equal to 4 lots in dues to the Tinas Coma Owners’ Association.

85 lots in project. 9 lots not sold. 3 have never been on the market, so technically there are 6 lots remaining (lots 65, 67, 81, 83, 84 85) Dan Madlung mentioned he felt a couple of those would be gone in the next few days.


a. Condos
Dan Madlung showed the new color renderings of the proposed condos for lot 51. Sale of lot to Scott Walmack of Grandview Homes. He built Chicago Title Building in Mt. Vernon and a 44 unit condo in Lake Stevens - a very capable builder. Dan Madlung reviewed a copy of the 2001 Skagit Valley Herald article showing how 50 units were originally designed and approved for the site. A height variance to build over 35’ was obtained then and then expired in three years. City of Burlington Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, April 19th (which was a continuation from a month ago because the drawings were not complete) is to address the height variance ONLY. (NOTE: That variance was granted at that Commission meeting on the 19th) Parking garage proposed for below condo units (2 parking stalls per condo plus 20 guest parking spaces). Grandview Development is applying for 58 units, but it will be up to them and the City to decide that issue. Dan Madlung emphasized that there will be no point where the condos would block any upper property owners’ views. They are applying for 60’ height, but in reality it will probably only be 50’ high. The height of the quarry wall is 83’ at its lowest point and 104’ at its highest.  

Connie Dewick (lot 9) asked what price range the units would be and size. Dan Madlung answers 1,300 square feet and up and the price range he could not say. That is for the developer of the project to set. He felt they were a good investment.

Joe Beebe (lot 44) asks if there will be a limit on rentals. Dan Madlung answers not at this time that he knows of. He doesn’t see a lot of families living in these condos, rather more older couples “snowbirds”.

Lanay Petker (lot 63) complains about the traffic. Dan Madlung replies with info regarding the Growth Management Act that requires the City of Burlington to obtain four lots per acre. With the size of the Tinas Coma development that would have meant putting 220 lots on the hill instead of 85. That was not feasible because of the slopes of the lot and therefore it was necessary and required to show a condominium lot that would meet the density requirement in order for the plat to be approved. “So traffic is not as bad as it could be”

Mike Petker (lot 63) asks if water supply is sufficient for all users on hill. Dan Madlung answers yes. Largest water line in Burlington coming from Burlington Hill Business Park (16”) which feeds the 12” line on the hill for Tinas Coma (goes down to 8” when it goes down to the dead end streets). Plenty of water. The 280,000 gallon tank on top of the hill cost $260,000 to build. Its purpose is for the fire flow system. In a storm if power is lost and there is a fire on the hill then there would be no power in the pump stations to pump the water up hill. They couldn’t fight the fire. With the tank, gravity fed, it is possible.  

Dan Madlung summarizes the road issues on the backside of Hillcrest Drive going down into the Business Park. There is some slippage and settling occurring there. There have been two engineer firms studying it. When the road was built in the summer of 2000 there was a geologist study, Leonard, Boudinot & Skodje, Inc. designed it to the City of Burlington’s specifications, the City of Burlington had a full-time inspector there during construction. It passed City inspection and they took ownership of the road. Property Investors LLC gave them a one year warranty, even though they didn’t have to in addition to all that. 18 to 20 months after completion settling was noticed. It has settled 3” in three years. There is NO CASE where the road will slide off. It was built on a 1 to 1 slope that the geologists recommended and the problems is it probably should have been 2 to 1. Wilder Construction thinks it was over compacted. City must do more studies but now they are trying to throw it back at Property Investors and say it is their responsibility to fix. Property Investors can’t just go in and fix it or they will never be able to get away from further issues that could arise. It is the City’s road, the City’s issue to fix. It comes with the territory of building on a slope. The problem is ground water under the road. Example sited of Highway 20 going to Anacortes that has slid three feet. Hillcrest Drive will be fixed. Options are to move road over 10’ into the hill or rebuild the outer edge of the road. Re-engineered ideas are being worked on and Wilder Construction is giving a baseline budget to do it each of the ways and it will be passed onto the City of Burlington.  


Tara Davis reviews duties of positions (handle funds, make invoices, receive dues, plan next years annual meeting/party) and reminds that it is a non-paid position. She has been working in the position since the fall of 2000. Asked if anyone would like to be a nominee for the ballot that would be mailed out with the dues. No one volunteered.  

Door prize drawing. Prize was free dues for the year. Winners: Shook (lot 48) and Bucko (lot 40).  

All in attendance stood and introduced themselves.


Connie Dewick (lot 9) brought up her neighbor, Mary Whiton (lot 8) and requested the non-compliance issues be addressed with that property (unfinished landscaping, electrical wires hanging out side of house, unfinished and poor painting, garbage, construction materials around house, stickers still on windows). Daily aggravation. What could be done?  

Tara Davis reminds that the architectural committee approved house plans for lot 8.

Mike Petker (lot 63) asked Connie Dewick (lot 9) if the house on lot 8 was built before they took occupancy on lot 9. Connie Dewick answers “no”.  

John Thorn (lot 20) asks how long construction period is allowed on hill. Dan Madlung answers that a building permit is for 1 year. Our Covenants state the exterior of the home must be finished in nine months.  

Ken Hansen (lot 21) suggest that the Association write letters to non-compliance property owners to comply within 30 days or we should take action as an Association and put liens on their properties if necessary.

Tara Davis and Dan Madlung reply to Ken Hansen’s suggestion in agreement that letters will be written.

Donna Buechele (lot 18) asked about house Keith Welch is building on lot 17 and wanted to know when it would be finished. Dan Madlung answers that Keith Welch has been waiting on the stucco contractor to finish it and that he has hired a new contractor to finish the incomplete stucco. Dan Madlung continues that he is going to finish paving the Tinas Coma Lane extending to lot 17 and that the dirt back there will be moved and lot grated.

Dan Madlung mentions free landscape rock to any Association member in quarry if they would like it. He requests that they let him know if they are going to take some. Call him at (360) 855-0688.

Charles Price (lot 43) asked if there was anything to prohibit construction storage locker on properties during construction period. He also mentions his missing temporary power pole.

Joe Beebe (lot 44) suggests filing a police report regarding missing power pole. He had a break in during his construction period and reported it.

Tara Davis answer that it is not allowed. CORRECTION. The answer is “yes” according to page 13 of the Protective Covenants, Restrictions, Easements and Reservations item 11.6.8 (see cover letter). Only during construction period. Must be removed after house is finished.

Charles Price (lot 43) asks if there are nightly patrols on hill. Dan Madlung answers “yes, a lot”.
Close of meeting recommended by Tara Davis, seconded by Mike Petker.

A Environmentally Sound Development 

A development team can be put together in one of several ways. At one extreme, a large company might include many services, from architecture to engineering. At the other end of the spectrum, a development company might consist of one principal and a few staff who hire or contract with other companies and professionals for each service as needed.
Assembling a team of professionals to address the environmental, economic, physical and political issues inherent in a complex development project is critical. A developer's success depends on the ability to coordinate the completion of a series of interrelated activities efficiently and at the appropriate time.

The development process requires skills of many professionals: architects, landscape architects, civil engineers and site planners to address project design; market consultants to determine demand and a project's economics; attorneys to handle agreements and government approvals; environmental consultants and soils engineers to analyze a site's physical limitations and environmental impacts; surveyors and title companies to provide legal descriptions of a property; and lenders to provide financing. General and sub contractors create the visual results of development. In depth knowledge of how each functions and prices their work is critical to control costs and create a quality project. The late Arthur N Levien a prominent developer once described a real estate developer as follows "a real estate developer is a person who is not an architect, engineer, plumber, iron worker, attorney, appraiser, or any of the dozens of other professionals involved in the real estate development process. It is however someone that knows what each one of them does in detail so as to get exactly what he or she wants from each of them.

Real Estate Development, Or Property Development

A multifaceted business, encompassing activities that range from the renovation and re-lease of existing buildings to the purchase of raw land and the sale of improved land or parcels to others. Developers are the coordinators of the activities, converting ideas on paper into real property. Real estate development is different from construction, although many developers also construct. 

Developers buy land, finance real estate deals, build or have builders build projects, create, imagine, control and orchestrate the process of development from the beginning to end. Developers usually take the greatest risk in the creation or renovation of real estate and receive the greatest rewards. Typically, developers purchase a tract of land, determine the marketing of the property, develop the building program and design, obtain the necessary public approval and financing, build the structure, and lease, manage, and ultimately sell it. 

Developers work with many different counterparts along each step of this process, including architects, city planners, engineers, surveyors, inspectors, contractors, leasing agents and more. 

Purchasing Unused Land For A Potential Development Is Sometimes Called Speculative Development 

Subdivision of land is the principal mechanism by which communities are developed. Technically, subdivision describes the legal and physical steps a developer must take to convert raw land into developed land. Subdivision is a vital part of a community's growth, determining its appearance, the mix of its land uses, and its infrastructure, including roads, drainage systems, water, sewerage, and public utilities.

In general, land development is the riskiest but most profitable technique as it is so dependent on the public sector for approvals and infrastructure and because it involves a long investment period with no positive cash flow.

After subdivision is complete, the developer usually markets the land to a home builder or other end user, for such uses as a warehouse or shopping center. In any case, use of spatial intelligence tools mitigate the risk of these developers by modeling the population trends and demographic make-up of the sort of customers a home builder or retailer would like to have surrounding their new development. 

Now what Arthur N Levien, a prominent developer mentioned above, was that every developer responsibility is to know that the development process requires skills of many professionals: architects, landscape architects, civil engineers and site planners to address project design; market consultants to determine demand and a project's economics; attorneys to handle agreements and government approvals; environmental consultants and soils engineers to analyze a site's physical limitations and environmental impacts; surveyors and title companies to provide legal descriptions and prior uses of a property; and lenders to provide financing. including architects, city planners, engineers, surveyors, inspectors, contractors, real estate agents and more. 

Now by comparison the people of Burlington Hill were certainly not given a “prominent developer” as mentioned above, but a developer of sorts, who's decision was to purchase Burlington Hill in 1995, and spend the next 4 years studying and understanding the lay of the land, before submitting application to the Department of Ecology in January 1999.

Now come forward 12 years later in the aftermath, and ask yourself why should we have to be left to deal with, the improperly built roads, the stigma of a public dump site, and the stigma of a known asbestos mine, and Naturally Occurring Asbestos in and around the development. 

To most people who believe in doing the right thing, or who has basic standards and morals, would find that the right thing for the developer's to do, would have excepted responsibility for their mistakes, and apologize to everyone who invested in Burlington Hill, and make it right for the homeowners that believed in the developer's, and the Burlington Hill development.  

But I think that day will never come because if your a Environmental Psychopath its easier to just to run away and claim no responsibility for the mistake that was created. And like a thief in the night file bankruptcy to protect the responsible party of their moral duties.

You see Environmental Psychopaths lack any true sense of guilt or remorse for harm they may have caused to others. Instead, they rationalize their behavior, blame someone else, or deny it outright. This is seen by psychologists as part of a lack of moral reasoning (in comparison with the majority of humans), an inability to evaluate situations in a moral framework, and an inability to develop emotional bonds with other people.

Also known as sociopaths or antisocial personality disorder, this psychopathic lack of guilt used to be termed 'moral insanity' however, others suggest that the psychopath is in fact driven by a very severe but unconscious sense of guilt.

                Famous quotes from a 21st century Land Developer from Skagit County: 

                         “You got me confused with someone who cares!” October 2002

                         “For all you whiners, and complainers, why don't you get on a 
                           bus in downtown Baghdad and see how bad it really is” June 2005