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Bonney Lake council sets public hearing for Eastown latecomers agreement

The Bonney Lake city council on Tuesday took the next step toward putting pipes in the ground in Eastown by setting a public hearing on the proposed Utility Latecomers Agreement negotiated with a group of landowners in the area.

The public hearing in the agreement, which calls for a 5 percent buy-in, or about $97,000 on the $2 million project, from the landowners is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 22.

The motion to pass the public hearing passed 6-1 with Councilman Randy McKibbin voting against the measure.

McKibbin's no vote came as something of a surprise since McKibbin, who was part of a block that voted against a larger ULA in July, has been working with Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman to bring the issue of sewers in Eastown back in front of the council.

Reached for comment on Wednesday, McKibbin said he was still opposed to a ULA for the region because he thinks the cost to developers is still prohibitive.

A ULA allows for a municipality, like a city, to pay up front to put infrastructure in the ground and then receive payments from developers as they hook into the system.

McKibbin said the additional fees still don't "pencil out" for the developers he has spoken with and believes the city should simply invest the $2 million itself and encourage the landowners to use their money to market their properties.

If the city were to simply pay for the pipes, it would eliminate the additional fees developers in the region would have to pay, which McKibbin said he thought are still prohibitive to development.

"It's just another thing a developer has to justify and can't," he said.

McKibbin said he agreed to the vote on the ULA as part of the larger compromise package passed at the end of 2011 that will allow changes of use on current septic systems and the creation of a fund to work with developers to further reduce development charges.

Prior to the vote, Eastown Sewer Development Association spokesperson Roger Watt thanks the council on behalf of the 18 members of the LLC and said the landowners believe the smaller ULA is the right one.

"The scaled down version makes much more sense and is unanimously supported by the LLC members," he said.

The council is expected to vote on the finalized ULA in February.

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