Bonney Lake requests larger Urban Growth Area

Bonney Lake has asked that its Urban Growth Area be expanded in eight areas adjacent to the city limits, a request that has not been viewed favorably by Pierce County planners.

A city’s Urban Growth Area generally reflects a move away from rural zoning to something with greater density. Or, as is the case in some of Bonney Lake’s requests, it’s a move to square off city boundary lines – following established streets rather than individual parcels of land.

An Urban Growth Area carries a larger footprint than the city limits but, contrary to some fears, it doesn’t mean automatic annexation. Living inside a UGA is not the same as being inside the city limits, although it’s often a first step. Cities cannot annex property that is not included in its UGA.Bonney Lake’s eight individual requests were the subject of a Dec. 1 public meeting at Bonney Lake High School, a gathering that brought together more than 200 concerned citizens. The night was not designed for official testimony but, rather, some informal question-and-answer. The general tone was not positive, as landowners expressed concern about being drawn into the city.

Bonney Lake’s requests also were deliberated the evening of Dec. 9 during a special meeting of the Pierce County Planning Commission, a more-formal session that allowed for public testimony.

A final decision on the UGA proposals will be rendered by members of the Pierce County Council, with a nonbinding recommendation in hand from the Planning Commission. That recommendation was to be issued by mid-February; a date for County Council action has not been set.

Of the eight UGA requests forwarded by the city of Bonney Lake, county planning staff has recommended against seven. Only a request involving the Tehaleh development has been given a thumbs-up by staff.

During the session at Bonney Lake High, a Pierce County planned noted that the Planning Commission traditionally echoes staff recommendations, but there have been exceptions.

The eight UGA proposals are as follows:

U-1 – this area sits south of 96th Avenue East. It involves 31 parcels of land spread over approximately 73 acres. The land-use designation would change from Reserve 5 to Community Center.

U-2 – involves 10 parcels totaling almost 30 acres, sitting north of 96th Avenue East and west of 214th Avenue. The land use designation would change from Rural 10 and Agricultural Resource Lands to Moderate Density Single-Family.

U-3 – takes in 123 parcels and almost 80 acres, all west of 234th and immediately north of Entwhistle Road. Land use would change from Rural 10 and Reserve 5 to Moderate Density Single-Family and Community Center.

U-4 – This is in the Falling Waters/Creekside area and involves 466 parcels over 840 acres. Land use would change from Reserve 5, Rural 10 and Agricultural Resource Lands to Moderate Density Single-Family.

U-5 – sitting in the Fennel Creek corridor, this proposal takes in 62 parcels and 330 acres. Land use would change from Reserve 5 and Agricultural Resource Lands to Moderate Density Single-Family.

U-6 – the largest of the city proposals in terms of parcels with 2,080, this totals 587 acres in the Prairie Ridge vicinity. Land use would change from Reserve 5 to Community Center and Moderate Density Single-Family.

U-7 – this request centers upon the Tehaleh development being built south of Bonney Lake. It takes in 816 parcels spread over 5,000 rambling acres. Land use would remain as Employment Based Planned Community and Moderate Density Single-Family.

U-8 – A complex area west of Lake Tapps, this would expand the city’s Urban Growth Area by 2,457 acres and the city’s Urban Service Area by approximately 2,772 acres. Land use designations would change from Reserve 5 (20 acres), roral 10 (2,437 acres) and Neighborhood Center (three acres) to Moderate Density Single-Family. Approximately 311 acres would remain as Moderate Density Single-Family.