Bonney Lake meeting draws a crowd

By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

The Bonney Lake Planning Commission had a packed house at its Oct. 1 meeting.

On the commission agenda was a public hearing concerning a land-use rezone of the Church Lake Drive area from R-2 (residential-2) to R-1.

R-2 zoning allows higher densities and includes duplexes and accessory dwelling units or ADUs, also known as a mother-in-law apartment, while R-1 is for single family homes.

The rezone has become a hot issue in the area, particularly among the residents who are members of the Church Lake Homeowners Association.

The majority of the nearly 40 people attending the meeting wanted the commission to send a recommendation to the City Council supporting a change to R-1.

By the end of the night the majority got its wish when members voted unanimously for the change to R-1. The commission’s vote is a recommendation to the City Council. The council will consider the commission’s vote, but is not bound to follow the members’ message.

Before the vote, the group had plenty to say, with 14 speaking in favor and two asking to keep the R-2 designation.

Most people who spoke in favor of changing to R-1 were upset about the increased number of duplexes cropping up in the neighborhood.

“I do a lot of walking,” John Farrell said. “I’m always saddened when I see duplexes. They bring a different character to the neighborhood.”

Tammy Schneider said, “my biggest concern is we are losing our neighborhood character.”

Ward 5 Councilman Dan Decker, who represents the area, said during a break at the Sept. 30 City Council meeting he had talked to 42 people in the area and only two supported the change to R-1 and 40 wanted to stay with R-2 zoning.

However, Craig Sarver, a resident of the Church Lake area, questioned Decker’s poll at the commission meeting the next night.

“I would like to address a problem with representation from our councilman,” Sarver said. “Our councilman said he did a straw poll and I urge you to not accept what he is saying. I don’t think we are getting the representation we expected.”

Decker could not attend the commission meeting.

Joel Riddle said he collected signatures from more than 30 neighbors in the Church Lake area on a petition supporting the change to R-1.

“I talked to 34(people) and only three didn’t sign,” Riddle said. “They just didn’t want to take part in the initiative. Nine out of 10 want to go for R-1.”

Ken Jennings, president of the homeowners association, said an “overwhelming number of people contacted me that want the change. The duplexes are changing the face of our community.”

One of the dissenting voices was Shawn Mitchell who is building an ADU. He was concerned that switching to R-1 would halt his project.

Allowing ADUs in R-1 zoning will be an issue the City Council will have to consider when the zoning change comes before the the members.

Reach Dennis Box at or 360-802-8209.

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