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City Council declines East Monroe 2021 docket request

MONROE — The City Council last week declined a homebuilder’s request to get a foot in the door for its proposal to build a housing development on the East Monroe site off of U.S. 2.
The council voted 6-1 to not place homebuilder Trammel Crow Residential’s request on the city’s annual Comprehensive Plan docket. It means city staff would not be tasked with doing due diligence on the viability of rezoning part of the site to residential zoning.
Trammel Crow conceptualized either 300 apartments or 60 to 70 homes on 13 acres of the 43-acre site. If the council had approved, the homebuilder would have discussed the proposal with the community. The entry and exit would have been U.S. 2.
With the council’s decision, “we’ll be backing away,” said a development manager for Trammel Crow Residential’s Seattle office tied to the project who asked not to be named. “There are more cities that are favorable to development.”
Another company representative, Managing Director Mark Hoyt, told council members that the company was at the stage of doing feasibility studies for its housing proposal. He said it would require working with state and federal agencies because of the site’s land features and environmentally sensitive wetlands.
Some council members openly asked the purpose of letting the project proceed when the flood-prone site has been extensively discussed for more than a decade.
Councilman Ed Davis, who gave the sole vote favoring putting it on the docket, said that the land is privately owned. He said he’d like to hear out the proposal.
Homeowners near the site spoke against it advancing.
The land, owned by Pastor Tom Minnick, currently is zoned as Limited Open Space. Past rezone attempts here were heavily debated within state regulatory agencies and in court, resulting in the city being deemed out of compliance with the state Growth Management Act by the state’s Growth Management Hearings Board. In May 2016, a new makeup of City Council members returned its zoning back to Limited Open Space to have the city regain compliance, reversing an action from a prior group of City Council members made in November 2015. The land’s zoning switched multiple times during the 2000s and mid-2010s based on who was elected to the City Council as Minnick sought to get this acreage rezoned for commercial
Trammel Crow Residential is a Dallas-based homebuilder that has lately expanded in the Pacific Northwest. Its local office is in Seattle. It says it has more than 19,000 housing units across Washington and Oregon.
Councilman Kirk Scarboro pitched to Trammel Crow representatives that there’s open land for sale in the North Kelsey area near Lowe’s to consider instead.




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