Monroe land use plan ruled ‘inadequate’ by official

MONROE — The city’s hearing examiner has decided an amendment made to the city’s comprehensive plan is “legally inadequate” because it lacks a full environmental impact statement.

In a 20-page decision released last week, hearing examiner John Galt granted the appeal by Lowell Anderson and others who wanted a full environmental impact statement, which they argued the city did not do.

The land is about 50 acres on the north side of U.S. 2, near the city limits.

“We are pleased with the hearing examiner’s decision that the (environmental impact statement) was inadequate as a matter of law,” said Anderson, who lives on a cliff above the property and who filed the appeal May 10.

“We are doing a short celebration and we are preparing the necessary next steps,” he said.

Anderson declined to elaborate what the next steps will be. He said he is waiting for the city’s response.

The city can ask the hearing examiner to reconsider or it can file an appeal.

Anderson was one of six people against the amendment because of possible environment impacts: The area frequently floods, there’s a history of erosion and slides, and wetlands could be harmed, among other things.

The City Council approved changing the parcels to general commercial from open space at a July 10 meeting, and before the hearing examiner made the decision. Both designations allow development in the area, but there are fewer limitations with a general commercial status.

It is still unclear how the hearing examiner’s decision will affect the city’s plans or if the city would appeal the decision, public works director Brad Feilberg said.

“We are reviewing the decision,” he said.

Part of the land is owned by Heritage Baptist Fellowship Church, which has been trying to change the land use designation and rezone for a couple of years.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

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