Buckley’s six-year street plan includes plenty for bridge, trail

The council also banned the use of “unmanned aircraft” that can take pictures or audio.

Twenty-two projects with an estimated price tag in excess of $17 million are on Buckley’s formal wish list.

Members of the City Council recently adopted a six-year Transportation Improvement Program, identifying potential projects in all corners of the city. The plan covers 2021 through 2026.

Cities throughout Washington annually adopt a six-year plan, outlining priorities for years to come. The effort helps with long-range planning but, perhaps more important, having a six-year plan on record is imperative when the city seeks grant money. Equally important is the fact that the plan is a non-binding planning guide and does not require that the city take action.

On the list of 22 are three projects planned for next year. They include improvements to Sergeant Street from Collins Road to Whitmore Way ($442,000); an overlay of River Avenue from Main Street to Jefferson ($370,100); and an overlay of 112th Street from SR 165 to Mundy Loss Road ($678,0000).

The bulk of the $22 million is attributed to the long-anticipated bridge over the White River, a project that will connect segments of the Foothills Trail in Buckley and Enumclaw. In all, $15 million is identified for the city’s share of bridge construction as well as added trail to reach the bridge.

The placement of a bridge over the river has been discussed for years, a joint effort between King and Pierce counties, Buckley and Enumclaw. Funding has been secured from a variety of sources.

In other action during their July 28 meeting, members of the Buckley City Council:

• authorized the mayor and city administrator to negotiate a lease for city-controlled property adjacent to Rainier School.

The city has, for more than a decade, maintained an agreement with the state’s Department of Social and Health Services. The city leases more than 200 acres of land sitting on both sides of Collins Road and Levesque Road East, paying roughly $38,000 annually. Buckley then leases the ground to agricultural producers and others, including the October-only Fright Factory.

Things took a turn last year when a city tenant experienced crop damage due to hungry, local wildlife. Because the situation could not be mitigated, the city allowed the tenant to break an existing lease in November 2019. The tenant had occupied 124.5 acres which have been sitting vacant and unused.

In July, the city heard from someone interested in leasing the ground. A memo to council identified the interested party as someone “who currently maintains a thriving agricultural business in Buckley.”

• added a section to the Buckley Municipal Code that prohibits the use of “unmanned aircraft” within the city limits. Specifically, the council action bans such aircraft that has the ability to capture visual images or audio recordings.

The council action cites the public’s “reasonable expectation of privacy” as a reason for disallowing the aircraft (primarily drones). The change in the city code does not apply to law enforcement or other public safety agencies.

The council action does not apply to simple model airplanes.