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Land by city park could see duplexes

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By Dennis Box, The Courier-Herald

A parcel of land next to Allan Yorke Park is close to having 30 duplex units built on it, and the proposal is causing consternation among some members of the Bonney Lake City Council.

The 13-acre piece of land is owned by Schurr Brothers Construction and sits directly south of the park. The city has attempted to buy the land, but was turned down.

Currently the land is zoned R-1, which is low-density residential, but the Bonney Lake hearing examiner has allowed a rezone request for R-2, medium-density residential or duplexes.

"We've been talking about buying the land," Councilman Neil Johnson said. "But it's not for sale. We haven't given up. Hopefully it's something we can keep going after. I have yet to hear of a developer or builder that wants to build when not one positive statement has been made about a project."

The rezoning of the property must go to the City Council for approval, but the vote is limited to deciding if the hearing examiner's decision is legally correct.

"It is sad deal," Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman said. "We're hamstrung with the hearing examiner's decision. It's extremely unusual for a city council to overturn a hearing examiner's decision. It's not a legislative decision; it's a legal decision. The Council has to go by the law. There's no like or dislike concept about it."

There are other modifications the builders will seek, which adds more stew to the story.

"There will be a request for zero lot line, which allows a person to build right on the property line, and a reduction in allowable lot size," Swatman said.

The Council must approve those requests before the land can be developed for duplexes.

"The previous council should have zoned it differently in our Comprehensive Growth Plan," Swatman said. "Right now, it doesn't look positive."

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com

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