A proposal to rezone two properties in University Place to avoid having a gravel mining operation near the city’s southern gateway is back on track.
The city stopped in December its consideration of rezoning the properties to commercial from residential use. It wanted the property owner, Brian McGuire, to provide more details on how he planned to develop the properties and how he would reduce the effects of light, noise and other urban impacts.
Development Services Director David Swindale said McGuire has now provided enough information to move the process forward.
“It’s not much, but we believe we want the City Council to have the opportunity to make a call on this one,” Swindale said.
McGuire fought the city in court to preserve his right to mine the parcels, which are remnants of a gravel mine the Holroyd Co. operated for a half-century. He prevailed in the state Supreme Court in 2001.
McGuire said he’s willing to retire his mining rights forever if the city rezones the property to neighborhood commercial use. The city accepted McGuire’s request that it apply for the rezone to illustrate its interest in considering the idea.
Documents obtained by The News Tribune show McGuire is proposing to build a gas station on the property at the corner of Bridgeport Way and Chambers Creek Road. McGuire proposed an unspecified commercial use on the other property located behind the Fred Meyer shopping center on 67th Avenue West.
McGuire said in an interview he has no commitments at this point for a specific project on either property.
“We showed the worst-case scenarios,” he said.
To mitigate the impacts of the proposed gas station, for example, the plans call for construction of a six-foot-high fence between it and the homes across the street to block out noise and light.
McGuire applied for permits to extract more than 221,000 cubic yards of aggregate more than three years ago. He has said the mining would take 18 to 25 years. Swindale said the city hasn’t issued the permits because it’s awaiting additional information from him. McGuire said he’s waiting for the final decision on the rezone request, and will provide that information to secure the permits if it’s turned down.
The developer had temporarily leased the property at Bridgeport Way and Chambers Creek Road to Fred Meyer to park trailers used for the store’s remodel. The remodel is scheduled to be completed next month.
One of the properties is located across the street from the home of former Mayor Debbie Klosowski, who left office in December. She had instructed Swindale to bring to a council vote the proposed rezone before she left office but that never came to pass. Klosowski had said she gave the direction out of courtesy for the property owner so he wouldn’t face unnecessary delay.
The city planning commission will hold a public hearing on this and other proposed rezones on Wednesday as it considers what recommendation to forward to the City Council. The commission could make its recommendation as early as Sept. 19, Swindale said, but council action may not come until next year as a significant revision to shoreline management regulations takes precedence.