News

Committee tours Fennel Creek land

By Dennis Box, The Courier-Herald

It was rainy and cold Thursday afternoon, a good day to be inside. But the Fennel Creek Corridor Advisory Committee braved the typical Pacific Northwest weather and slogged through wet fields in four-wheel vehicles to tour Fennel Creek and the surrounding wetlands.

The seven-member committee was touring a 333 acre parcel which includes Fennel Creek, wetlands and wildlife habitat.

The Pierce County Council amended its Comprehensive Growth Plan (CGP) on Nov. 18 which will allow Bonney Lake to move the 333 acres, including the Fennel Creek area, into its Urban Growth Area and eventually annex it.

An appeal of the action has been filed by 1000 Friends, a CGP watchdog group, with the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board.

The Fennel Creek Committee was established by the Pierce County Council and charged with the task of evaluating the 333 acres for the proper densities, zoning and environmental protection measures to be taken.

Prior to the rain-soaked tour, the meeting began at committee member Marian Betzer's residence, which looks overlooks the acreage.

While not a member of the committee, Pierce County Councilman Shawn Bunney kicked off the meeting.

"It's important to understand we don't have this 300 acres because of how the county zoned it," Bunney said. "This land had good stewardship by the people who owned it."

Bunney was instrumental in the Pierce County action that will allow Bonney Lake to annex the land. He maintains the city, not the county, will be the best guardian of the environmentally sensitive areas. That sentiment is shared by Bob Leedy, Bonney Lake's planning director.

I don't want anyone to go away from this meeting thinking Bonney Lake wants this land to develop it out," Leedy said. "We want to protect it. It has never been the intent of the city of Bonney Lake to develop this land at high density urban levels."

Some of the issues the Pierce County Council expects the committee to give recommendations on are: residential densities on the land, zoning classifications, protection of environmentally critical areas and Bonney Lake annexation steps.

The next meeting is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday). A meeting place had not been decided.

The Committee is to provide the final draft of its recommendations to the Pierce County Planning and Land Services Department by April 16.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com

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