Planning OKs zoning changes

By Brian Beckley

The Courier-Herald

After months of review, the Bonney Lake Planning Commission last week recommended that the city council rezone the majority of the city's inconsistentcy areas.

The recommendation resolves about 85 percent of the zoning inconsistency areas.

Included in the recommendation was the city's downtown area and a recommendation to keep Area 41, located near the intersection of South Prairie Road and 200th Avenue Court East, as commercial land.

Area 41 was originally labeled to change to residential zoning, a move area landowners protested.

Planning commission members, however, agreed with landowners that the city's promise to keep the land commercial when it was annexed to the city should be upheld.

Even residents of the surrounding homes, who were originally opposed to the land remaining commercial, agreed with the recommendation.

Spurred to action by news that the land would not be rezoned, residents of the Brookwater and Brookside neighborhoods that border Area 41 gathered for a weekend meeting and - after a discussion about the zoning - agreed that commercial is best for the area.

Brookwater Homeowners Association President Tom Kennedy said though there are varied opinions among residents, all were concerned that a change to multi-family residential zoning would open the door to bring duplexes into their single-family home neighborhood.

"Given the choice between multi-family homes and a single-site, first-class commercial development, most homeowners would choose the commercial development," Kennedy said last week.

In the downtown area, commissioners voted to recommend the part of Area 56 owned by Michelle Gunn be zoned as Downtown Mixed Use District, provided there is no access to her site from 88th Street.

The new zoning is intended to provide a mix of commercial and residential uses as well as provide a buffer between downtown and surrounding residential neighborhoods. Dance studios are one of the land uses permitted outright in all cases.

"I'm glad to see this," Gunn said. "It leaves many more options."

The other half of Area 56, however, will be rezoned to residential.

Commisioners also voted down a motion by Quinn Dahlstrom to revert downtown zoning to the 2004 future land use map, which would make the majority of the neighborhood located behind Papa's Italian Restaurant commercial properties.

Staff recommended against the change, calling it a "good neighborhood" and warning commissioners that such a change may hurt more property owners than it helped. The majority of the commission agreed.

The inconsistency areas were created due to a revision of the Comprehensive Plan's Future Land Use Map. According to state law, the FLUM and the zoning maps must be in accordance and the commission is taking steps to make the two maps match.

Some of the recommendations made by the commission would, if enacted by the city council, keep Areas 41 and 56 as inconsistencies, forcing a change in the comprehensive plan either this year or next.

A representative from the Planning Commission was scheduled to speak before the city council Tuesday. A vote on zoning changes is expected later this year.

Brian Beckley can be reached at

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