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Cascadia project is just over the horizon

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

More than a development, more than a city, Cascadia will cover over 4,000 acres on the border of Bonney Lake. Love it or hate it, the building is about to start - and people will most likely come.

Cascadia is the vision of Patrick Kuo, president of Cascadia Development Corporation. He is an immigrant from Taiwan, an attorney who graduated from the University of Washington Law School and a man on a mission to build his dream.

Kuo spoke to a joint meeting of the Bonney Lake City Council and Planning Commission Aug. 31 about the progress of the Cascadia project.

"This has been like a odyssey to us," Kuo said. "But we are ready to do ground breaking. What is exciting about Cascadia is we are not just building homes, but a community."

Kuo persuasively outlined a 20-year plan to build a community of 6,700 homes, drawing nearly 17,000 people onto the southern edge of the Plateau.

He described Cascadia as an "employment-based, planned community" with schools, light industry, high tech jobs, a conference center, golf course, a hotel and 1,271 acres of parks and open spaces.

The entire development will cover 4,719 acres stretching from the southern edge of Bonney Lake down to the Carbon River and Orting.

Cascadia's water provider will be Tacoma Water and the company has a signed deal with Orting for use of its sewer treatment plant.

The imminent impact for Bonney Lake is people and traffic, and a lot of them. The point of contact between the city and Cascadia is 198th/199th and state Route 410.

"If Patrick can make it go this will be great for the whole region," Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman said. "The problem is where it intersects with Bonney Lake. I know 198th will eventually be connected through, but I don't want it connected as a primary route. I don't want to see all these people run through Bonney Lake. There is nothing more aggravating than to work all day and commute home only to be parked in a traffic jam 10 miles from home."

Cascadia signed a traffic mitigation plan with Bonney Lake in 1998. The plan grew out of an appeal filed by the city citing the Final Environmental Impact Statement did not adequately address the traffic problems the Cascadia development would create.

The mitigation plan calls for the 198th/199th corridor to be linked and built into a four-lane road North of 120th Street East. The plan also calls for improvements at the intersection of SR 410 and South Prairie Road once Bonney Lake annexes the properties abutting the intersection.

Along with the road improvements in the 198th/199th corridor, Cascadia agreed to either pay $360,000 for road improvements or construct a connection between Bonney Lake Boulevard from 181st Avenue East to Myers Road.

"It is important that we think regionally," said Chuck Lappenbusch, senior vice president of development for Cascadia Development Corp. "We are moving forward now to meet out obligations. We are working with Bonney Lake and Pierce County to come up with a regional solution. We are on record that the Rhodes Lake Rhodes corridor study needs to move forward."

Lappenbusch stated Cascadia is supporting the South Plateau connection as another solution for the traffic puzzle in the region. This traffic plan calls for a connection between the southern edge of the Plateau and Orting at Bridge Street.

Both Kuo and Lappenbusch emphasize Cascadia will be built in three phases. The first phase is set to begin next year and includes 1,719 homes, a business and industrial area for 2,394 jobs, over 30 acres for schools and 460 acres of parks and open space.

Phase one is the north section of the development closest to Bonney Lake.

"They are on their way and this is going to happen," Mayor Bob Young said. "I'm really impressed. It's up to us to work with them. Some of our council members are not fully aware what was agreed to, but we can work with them."

The only members on the council in 1998 when the mitigation agreement was signed were Swatman and Councilman Phil DeLeo.

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

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