Sumner council

denies Van Tassel rezone

By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

The Sumner City Council wrestled with a request for a rezone at the Sept. 15 meeting and eventually came down on the side of denial.

The rezone, known as the Van Tassel Rezone in the description on the ordinance, was a special case because Mayor Dave Enslow is listed as one of the three owners of the property.

The nearly 12-acre site is in the 5700 and 5800 block of 160th Avenue East, north of Main Street East and south of Washington Street.

The rezone request involved changing the property from low density residential-8.5 to LDR-6.

The low density residential zoning describes the minimum lot area in square feet per building. LDS-8.5 allows 8,500 square feet and LDS 6,000, which allows high density.

The hearing examiner heard the case and approved the rezone April 14 and the staff recommendation was to approve the rezone.

The city hired a special council, Loren Combs, to handle the details of the ordinance.

The council considered the facts in a quasi-judicial hearing prior to the votes. Enslow recused himself from the meeting prior to the beginning of the hearing.

During the hearing, Combs laid out three options for the members to consider.

Combs told the council they could deny, approve with modification or simply approve the rezone ordinance without modification.

Councilman Steve Allsop made a motion to approve the ordinance with modifications.

“These people have followed our code,” Allsop said. “If we don’t like our code, we should change it.”

But Councilman Randy Hynek countered with, “We would not be here if the developer could develop as he wants, but he wants higher density. If someone comes to us and wants higher densities and we say no they will say you did it for the mayor.... This is difficult to do and I don’t enjoy doing it.”

Councilman Matthew Richardson noted the mayor “voted for our zoning. I wish we didn’t have to decide it. I am going to be consistent with how I have always felt about density and I will sleep at night.”

Allsop stated he thought the city’s code was flawed, “And I think it needs to be fixed. But I think we should comply with it as long as it is in force.”

The motion to approve the ordinance with modification failed 2-4 with Allsop and Councilman Leroy Goff voting yes.

A motion to deny the ordinance was approved 5-1 with Goff voting no.

Reach Dennis Box at or 360-802-8209.

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