Bonney Lake City Council votes down Eastown latecomer’s agreement by a 4-3 vote

In somewhat of a surprise 4-3 vote, the Bonney Lake City Council Tuesday night voted down a utility latecomers agreement that would have put sewers in the Eastown section of Bonney Lake.

The council members voting against the measure were Mark Hamilton, Radny McKibbin, Katrina Minton-Davis and Tom Watson. Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman and council men Jim Rackley and Donn Lewis voted in favor of the agreement. Mayor Neil Johnson also supported the agreement.

Opponents of the measure said there was too much risk and worried the city would not make its money back on the investment and did not think the 5 percent buy-in by the landowners was  enough.

City staff, council and landowners in the area have been working for several years on an agreement that would build a backbone sewer line through that area of the city. Several also mentioned a comment from landowners during the public hearing on the issue that they characterized as “demands” and seemed particularly put off by the tone of the comment.

Development has been stalled in Eastown, partially because the area lacks sewer lines and city code requires all new businesses to hook into the system, even if it means installing additional lines and lift stations from where the system presently ends to their property. Landowners have complained that developers do not want to buy their land because of the additional cost of sewer installation.

The total cost is estimated near $4 million.

Last year, the council approved a measure lowering the minimum city investment in a latecomer’s agreement – in which the city fronts the cost of the sewers and is paid back through charges when parcels develop and attach – to 5 percent particularly with this deal in mind.

The Eastown Landowners LLC, created specifically for this project because the council asked the landowners to speak with a single voice, would have contributed approximately $201,000 of the initial cost.

Check back Wednesday for more on this story.