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East Monroe appeal decision anticipated this month
MONROE - The appellants to the East Monroe study were denied their request for extra preparation time last week.
Bellevue-based hearing examiner Carl Cox will hear the appeal on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. in the Monroe Council Chambers, 806 W. Main St. The city anticipates Cox will make a decision later this month.
The appellants are Lowell Anderson and Jeff Rogers, who both live on the bluff overlooking the property in question.
This is the second time Anderson and Rogers have challenged the validity of an environmental study done on the property. In their appeal, they list 12 different points on why the environmental study for the property is flawed.
The first time they appealed, they won.
The latest study, written by an engineering firm, largely says the same things as the first study they appealed.
The city’s planning department was busy last week preparing their rebuttal, which was handed in Thursday, Oct. 31.
At the request of the appellants, the two parties had a pre-hearing conference facilitated by Cox that
included several other people involved in the issue.
The environmental impact statement’s author Susan Boyd from Kirkland-based PACE Engineers was present, as was Thomas Minnick, the pastor of Heritage Baptist Fellowship that owns the property.
The church wants the property rezoned from limited open space to general commercial, which requires an amendment to the city’s comprehensive plan and therefore the planning commission’s input.  
After being denied many times, the rezone request was successful in being placed on the comprehensive plan docket after a new set of City Council members were sworn in.
Some Monroe residents believe Minnick’s son Chad Minnick, a political consultant, assisted a majority of these council members win their seats in recent years, which those residents accuse created a biased, Minnick-friendly majority of elected officials.
Following the hearing examiner’s decision, there will be a 10-day reconsideration period where the applicant, appellant or the city can ask Cox to re-examine his decision.
Anderson and Rogers’ 12 appeal arguments include:
• the study doesn’t consider agriculture as an alternative use to commercial
• the study doesn’t identify methods of flood storage, or the fact that the area has a history of flooding
• the study ignores concerns identified by the Department of Ecology, including that the study is scientifically flawed
• difficult access to the site off U.S. 2 is ignored in the study
• the study doesn’t address the environmental impact of extending utility lines to the site, which currently lacks electrical, sewer and water infrastructure
• the economic risks to develop the site weren’t addressed in the study, including that it probably would be subject to state and federal review

 

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