The Monroe City Council gave preliminary approval to rezone about 71 acres on Roosevelt Road, but council members said they want to make sure any future development there includes creating another access road.
The city has been looking at changing the zoning to allow for higher density at the acreage, located adjacent to Roosevelt Road and north of U.S. 2. The new zoning ordinance, in keeping with Monroe’s comprehensive plan for that area, would permit up to seven homes per acre, rather than the two to five homes per acre under the current zoning.
The rezone has come under criticism from residents in the neighboring Foothills community, who have raised concerns about adding housing to an area that has only one access road. Increased traffic, and the impacts that new housing could have on the stormwater systems were the main issues voiced by citizens who went before the Monroe Planning Commission in recent weeks. The planning commission voted in favor of recommending the rezone, finding the ordinance is in compliance with the State’s Growth Management Act.
But access concerns resonated with the council members at its April 16 meeting. “Any development there should include a secondary access road,” said Kevin Hanford. Tom Williams agreed, and asked what could be done to assure a developer will follow through with creating additional access.
Public Works Director Brad Feilberg said the developer now looking at a building project there has already planned a new access route to Roosevelt Road as part of the development. He also told the council that any development proposal for the area would have to go before the city hearing examiner, who would likely require that additional access be a condition for future development.
Sanitary sewer service can now go beyond city limits
The council voted unanimously to amend its current sewer service ordinance to allow for those services to extend beyond the city limits to Monroe’s urban growth area. Expanding the sewer service area was studied by the Monroe Planning Commission, who recommended in favor of the amendment.
Areas that lie in designated UGA’s are supposed to be provided with urban services in order to support higher population densities, according to the state’s comprehensive plan. This way the entire UGA can accommodate growth without unduly impacting cities or extending the UGA boundaries.
The amendment to extend Monroe’s sewer services could enable higher density zoning districts, such as Roosevelt Ridge, to be developed.
Social Media Policy
The council held a brief discussion on social media policy, reviewing a draft document prepared by the legislative affairs committee. The draft policy, based on policies now in place in the cities of Seattle and Cheney, sets guidelines for the use of social media, and has chapters dealing with public records requests, records retention and open public meetings.
Legislative Affairs Chair Ed Davis said a discussion on developing a social media policy for Monroe should maybe wait until later in the year, possibly September, given that the city doesn’t have the software systems in place to implement a policy of its own. Those software programs, such as records management software and search software, may need budget consideration.