By Sally Gillie, Monitor
Owners of controversial east Monroe property, denied a rezone from limited open space to general commercial last year, have commissioned a new, expanded environmental impact statement, hoping to get that rezone after all. Heritage Baptist Fellowship has asked the city to continue consideration of the application to amend the city’s comprehensive plan and change the land use designation to allow for commercial businesses.
The more in-depth EIS will be done by PACE Engineers Inc., of Kirkland on behalf of the Heritage Baptist Fellowship, which owns the 43 acres located on five parcels at the east end of Monroe on U.S. 2. In its application last year, the rezone request was for 50 acres, which included additional land to the east. That acreage is no longer part of the proposal.
The city was notified of the EIS authorization in a March 15 letter from PACE Engineers. The letter included the request for a continuance of the rezone consideration, and stated, “Our intent is to augment the 2012 Environmental Impact Statement and demonstrate that the rezone will not have an adverse impact.”
Last year’s application by Heritage Baptist Fellowship, asking for a comprehensive plan amendment and a change in land use designation, did not go forward. A citizen appealed the city’s findings that such a proposal would not have significant impacts, and a city hearing examiner ruled in favor of that appeal, finding the city-prepared draft EIS inadequate under the law.
The new EIS should be completed this May, according to Monroe Planning and Permitting Manager Paul Popelka.
Popelka told the city council last night that the re-initiation of the project would be on the planning commission’s work program schedule this spring.