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Homebuilder seeks hot-button E. Monroe land

MONROE — A homebuilder is asking the city to edit its Comprehensive Plan to let it build homes on the much-debated East Monroe land.
The site, owned by Heritage Baptist Fellowship Church, currently is zoned as Limited Open Space. It’s along U.S. 2 at the city’s eastern entryway. Homes sit above the site along the bluff.
Homebuilder Trammel Crow Residential seeks to have 13 of the 43 acres rezoned into residential land. It proposes building either 300 tight-knit homes or 75 single-family houses on the site. The 13 acres are the potentially developable part of an area largely of wetlands.
Trammel Crow Residential, of Seattle, filed a Comprehensive Plan amendment request, a method to petition changing an area’s zoning. It was filed to city planners in July on the last day to file a request this year.
“We believe our proposal will thread the needle for two of our region’s most pressing issues: 1) provide much needed housing to a severely under-housed region; and 2) protect and enhance 30+ acres of environmentally sensitive area,” the homebuilder wrote in its cover letter for its application. They do not seek to rezone the other approximately 30 acres.
Past rezone attempts here were heavily debated in state bureaucratic agencies and in court.
The city most recently sought to preserve the East Monroe land as permanent open space, mutually working with the site’s landowner Thomas Minnick, who is a local pastor.
In December 2020, though, the City Council halted pursuing grants toward buying this land when Minnick called on the city to act on buying the land from him right then for $3 million.
Grants hadn’t all rolled in. The council couldn’t bear the thought of pulling $2.5 million from the city’s coffers to complete the land buy. At the time, Monroe had so far collected a $500,000 county grant. It intended to ask for $1.5 million from state and county sources during this year toward the $3 million goal.
Minnick had waited for over two years to have the city buy the 43 acres from him.
The City Council discussed Comprehensive Plan amendments at its Tuesday, Sept. 28 meeting after Tribune press time.




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