Rezone draws a riled up Inlet Island crowd

By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

The Bonney Lake City Council workshop drew a packed house Oct. 21 and the issue on everyone’s mind was zoning.

A group of nearly 50 people, mostly from Inlet Island, loaded the council chambers hoping to persuade the City Council members to approve a rezone of the area. Some to the people held up signs advocating the change to R-1. Council members do not usually take public testimony during a workshop.

The council is considering rezoning Inlet Island from residential-2 or R-2 to R-1. The City Council plans to take public testimony at the Nov. 18 City Council workshop on the Inlet Island rezone, the Church Lake rezone from R-2 to R-1 and the Comprehensive Plan change for the Josh Hulburt property at 9202 184th Avenue East.

The residents living on Inlet Island who were at the meeting expressed concern about the multifamily housing in R-2 zoning, which allows for duplexes. R-1 zoning is for single family homes.

After the meeting, Chuck Kirkdoffer said he has lived on Inlet Island about 40 years and grew up living in a duplex. Kirkdoffer said he is not against duplexes, but believes the increased number of people allowed with R-2 zoning and duplexes is a problem for the area.

“It’s a safety issue if you put a lot of people out there,” Kirkdoffer said. “The island has changed and there is just not enough space.”

Kirkdoffer said he estimates about 80 percent of the residents want to change the island zoning to R-1.

The Planning Commission recommended keeping the island at R-2 zoning, but Mayor Neil Johnson said the vote was taken before information was presented to the City Council concerning density changes with a rezone of Cedar Grove to R-3 or high-density residential.

“All the information on the densities was not available when the Planning Commission voted,” Johnson said. “We are meeting our UGA (urban growth area density requirements) today and we will in the future.”

Councilman Dan Decker, who represents the Church Lake and Inlet Island area, has taken criticism from residents about his stance on the rezones.

Decker stated at the meeting he has supported rezoning Inlet Island to R-1 because he will go with the “will of the people.”

However, the councilman also said, “The will of the people is wrong. They don’t know the ramifications. Their taxes will go up. R-1 creates more sprawl. That’s what I was told by a real estate woman.”

Decker said his belief that taxes would increase with R-1 is based on what he was told by someone working for Pierce County. He could not remember who the county employee was.

“The fewer people to spread taxes around the more expensive,” Decker said. “Taxes are lowered if there are more people.”

Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Ken Madsen said rezoning a small area like Inlet Island or the Church Lake area will “probably not” cause an increase in property taxes.

The assessor-treasurer said “an increase in building on a broad scale or broadening the base will lower taxes over an entire taxing district.”

Madsen said the entire taxing district is the city of Bonney Lake.

The assessor-treasurer said a change in zoning from R-2 to R-1 for Inlet Island or Church Lake will not change the value of the homes already built and zoning changes to smaller areas do not cause tax increases across taxing district.

According to the staff at the assessor-treasurer’s office, property taxes are based on the district’s budget. The taxing district request funds and the taxes are spread over the district and based on the market-value of the property.

Reach Dennis Box at or 360-802-8209.