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Roads, water and lights ready for Cascadia homes and school

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By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

The Cascadia subdivision may have been slowed by recent economic conditions, but infrastructure work continues and the developer promises homes are right around the corner.

Chuck Lappenbusch Jr., senior vice president and director of development, said houses should start popping up in September or October with homes on the market by the first of the year.

The first homes to be built will be part of the Columbia Vista subdivision, which is part of phase one, about 1,700 lots.

When complete, Cascadia will have about 6,500 homes with more than 16,000 residents on 4,719 acres. Total build-out will take about 20 years, according to recent Cascadia briefing papers.

Patrick Kuo, founder and president of Cascadia, started the project in 1991.

Cascadia describes the subdivision as an employment-based planned community. The developer promises about 9,000 jobs will be generated by Cascadia with 2,394 in phase one.

The lots in the Columbia Vista subdivision have the electrical, water and sewer hookups ready for the houses once the walls are standing.

A playground and a trail designed to be part of the Foothills system is also complete. An 18-hole golf course is under construction.

The first school for the area, Sumner School District elementary No. 9, is scheduled to break ground this week.

Lappenbusch described the problems in the housing market as, “something we live with. If you've been in this business long enough you learn to go with the ups and downs in the market and wait it out.”

He said the prediction is the housing market will improve by 2009 and that is why the builders are planning on houses hitting the market by January.

The problems with the sewer have been worked out, at least for the short term, from Cascadia's perspective.

The development has constructed a community drain field, which will be used for the first phase of homes. In about two years Cascadia will build a biomembrane sewage treatment plant, which will be turned over to Pierce County, according to Lappenbusch.

Bonney Lake officials and Pierce County have been in negotiations over providing sewer services for the south Plateau, including Cascadia.

Mayor Neil Johnson said the city is hoping to work out a deal with the Pierce County allowing a biomembrane treatment plant to serve the entire south Plateau.

Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman said Pierce County and Cascadia officials have resisted Bonney Lake taking over the Cascadia sewer service area.

“I think Pierce County fears Bonney Lake annexing Cascadia,” Swatman said. “The county wants to capture the revenue from permits. They have (financial) needs countywide and they need a revenue stream.”

Once Cascadia turns the treatment plant over to the county, Swatman said, the city might be interested in taking control of the plant if deal can be worked out.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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