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Neighbors riled over Lowe's plan

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

A strip of land about 6-feet wide running parallel to 100th Street Court East and along 200th Avenue Court East has become a hot button issue in the Lowe's development.

Lowe's, a home improvement store, is planning to build a nearly 140,000-square-foot store on South Prairie Road, west of Albertson's.

Residents from the Brookwater development, which surrounds the proposed Lowe's site, spoke at the July 11 Bonney Lake City Council meeting, asking members to consider impacts the store will have on their neighborhood.

A serious point of contention is a proposed traffic roundabout planned for the 100th Street Court East and 200 Avenue East intersection. To build the roundabout, Lowe's will need a portion of the 6-foot strip of land, which is owned by the Brookwater Homeowners Association.

Numerous residents objected to the Lowe's parking lot accessing 100th Street East.

“To assume in any way they (Lowe's) have anyone's interest other than their own at heart is false,” Dan Schwartz said during the citizen comment portion of the meeting. “There is no guilt involved. They are a powerful force and they have no conscience. They are a corporation and their purpose is to make money.”

Some members of the association expressed concern the city may condemn the property if the association decides not to sell.

Councilman Mark Hamilton said, “I don't foresee any public use for condemnation.”

According to Laurie Martin, a member of the association, it will take two-thirds of all the homeowners, about 58, to vote “yes” to sell the property to Lowe's.

“There has not been any offer (to us) by Lowe's,” Martin said.

Martin said she and her neighbors are circulating a petition asking for the traffic plan to be redesigned, which they will submit to the Planning Department.

Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman said he could not see the council condemning the strip of land.

“Condemnation would be very difficult for me to do,” Swatman said. “I can't believe there is a way the City Council would vote to condemn. If it was overall best for the city and everyone was behind it, maybe, but that is very unlikely. This is a private deal and Lowe's and the property owners need to come to an agreement.”

Swatman said the city staff and council will have to be careful approving the permits to keep Lowe's from trying to force a condemnation process.

“We can't approve their development if we don't know how they will complete it.” Swatman said. “If we approve, then Lowe's would have an argument. There could be a liability.”

Mayor Neil Johnson said he feels the buffer strip is a “private” deal Lowe's needs to make.

“We can't condemn anything for private use,” he said. “Both parties need to work it out or there needs to be another option.”

One of the other options is a frontage road running parallel to state Route 410 and connecting to the parking lot in front of Spa City at 19710 state Route 410 E.

“A frontage road makes a whole lot of sense,” Swatman said. “It would be difficult to build. Ultimately it is the developer's proposal. The developer can throw anything on the table they want.”

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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