News

Committee to assess Fennel Creek land

By Dennis Box, The Courier-Herald

The Fennel Creek Advisory Committee has been formed with the goal of evaluating and recommending the steps necessary to protect the environmentally sensitive corridor.

Fennel Creek is at the center of a legal action taken by 1000 Friends, a Growth Management Act watchdog group, and the state's Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development with the authorization of Gov. Gary Locke.

On Nov. 18, the Pierce County Council unanimously approved amendments to the county's Comprehensive Growth Plan allowing Bonney Lake to annex 496 acres.

Fennel Creek flows through a 333-acre corridor at the center of the dispute.

An appeal by 1000 Friends was filed on Feb. 3 with the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board challenging the Pierce County Council amendment. CTED joined the appeal by filing a Motion to Intervene.

The Pierce County Council recommended an advisory committee be formed to study the special issues surrounding Fennel Creek when the amendments were passed last November.

Councilman Shawn Bunney formed the seven-member committee based on the following parameters; one person representing the city of Bonney Lake (Bob Leedy), one person from the environmental community (Ryan Dicks), one property owner along the corridor (Carl Halsan), one person from the general community (Marian Betzer), one person representing the development and real estate industry (Jim Clifford) and two people described as resource professionals (Allen Zulauf, a soil scientist, and Travis Nelson, a fisheries biologist).

"I feel really good about the idea of establishing a process that will find the right track to go down," Bunney said.

The committee is charged with evaluating the Fennel Creek Corridor for appropriate densities, zoning and environmental protection measures.

The committee's first meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Feb. 26, at Betzer's residence, 19812 82nd Street Court East in Bonney Lake. A tour of the corridor is planned for that meeting.

A total of five meeting are planned for the committee. The second is scheduled for March 4, the third on March 17, the fourth on April 1 and the last on April 15.

The committee will provide its final recommendations to the Planning and Land Service Department by April 16.

In a press release, Bunney wrote, "The work of the committee will no doubt provide the Council members and me with valuable insight into the steps that should be taken to properly protect Fennel Creek and its associated resources while recognizing the future growth needs of the city of Bonney Lake."

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com

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