Mount Rainier Christian Church is the property outlined in red. Graphic courtesy of the City of Enumclaw.

Enumclaw City Council approves disc golf, wrestles with annexation

The annexation desires of a local church have been turned away by a sympathetic Enumclaw City Council.

The annexation desires of a local church have been turned away by a sympathetic Enumclaw City Council.

The action came during the most recent meeting of the council, the result of a 3-1 vote that rejected a request by Mount Rainier Christian Center.

At the heart of the issue is the church’s desire to grow, to meet the space demands of its congregation. Specifically, the church hoped the city would include the nearly seven acres it owns and occupies immediately west of 244th Avenue Southeast; the church land is on the northwest corner of the intersection of 244th and state Route 164.

“We are very overcrowded,” said the Rev. Greg Daulton, pastor at MRCC, noting that Sunday attendance averages about 800 and swells to perhaps 1,500 on Easter. Church leaders, he said, would like to enlarge areas of paved parking and expand physical facilities, including classrooms and a sanctuary.

For several years, Daulton said, the church has been stymied in its attempts.

“We haven’t been able to get anywhere with the county, chiefly because of sewer issues,” he explained.

The church property, appraised at $1.4 million, is adjacent to the city limits and is connected to Enumclaw water and natural gas services. But the lack of a sewer connection is the sticking point; the county has balked at allowing expansion on the church property without a hookup to a sanitary sewer system.

City staff recommended that MRCC’s annexation request be refused, offering a resolution noting – among other things – that city sewer service currently is not available near the church property.

“Sewer is very far away at this time,” said Chris Pasinetti, the city’s director of community development. He pointed out the closest sewer connection is at the corner of Semanski Street and Roosevelt Avenue. Plans for a new housing subdivision could move sewer lines closer, Pasinetti said, but there would still be a gap of approximately 1,100 feet.

The council appeared willing to continue looking at the situation and did not slam the door on future action.

“Hopefully we can help you get some answers and some movement from King County… (to) see where we can all meet in the middle,” Mayor Liz Reynolds said.

Addressing another matter during their Aug. 22 meeting, council members approved a proposal that will see a Pierce County group developing a disk golf course on the grounds of Farmers Park.

Without objection, the council gave its blessing to a proposal by the Pierce County Disk Golf Players Association.

As the proposal moved through city circles, the only concern had been for the trees blanketing the 10-acre park sitting on the western edge of Enumclaw, directly south on SR 164. The council was told some blackberries and other shrubs may be cut, but established trees will remain.

As part of the formal agreement, the disk golf group has agreed to assume all costs. The association will design, fund, install and maintain the attraction. The city’s only responsibility will be to mow the grounds and remove trash, which is already on the schedule.

It has been estimated the project carries a price tag of about $9,500.

Farmers Park will remain open to the public and the disk golf equipment can be used by anyone, free of charge. The only scheduling conflicts would come when the association hosts organized events.

Disc golf has continued to rise in popularity since its infancy in the early 1960s. There are now an estimated 4,000 courses in the United States – 5,000 around the world – and the game is played in more than 40 countries.

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