A new proposed subdivision south of Bonney Lake has neighbors worried that it will aggravate crowding on a single, two-lane access road that would serve it and two massive residential and business developments already planned for that area.
The subdivision, named Bonney Lake 26 in planning documents, would generate 1,250 additional daily vehicle trips on 198th Avenue East, a steep, dead-end two-lane road that is the sole street access to the area, the developer, Lakewood Ventures LLC, said in applying for a county permit.
That road now is the only access to the state’s largest planned residential and business development, Tehaleh. That road would be a main access point to another large development, Plateau 465. Between the two larger developments, some 35,000 residents ultimately could use 198th as their main access to state Route 410, the area’s principal highway.
Tehaleh has about 800 homes now. When its first phase is complete, it will include some 2,600 homes and more than 1 million square feet of business and governmental uses. The developer, NASH Cascadia Verde LLC, is applying for county approval of a second phase that would add 6,400 homes. And the nearby Plateau 465, still in the planning stage, could include some 3,000 homes and apartments.
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Rosanna Miller, one of about 400 residents who live on larger lots off 198th south of Tehaleh, said she fears gridlock as more residents move to the area.
“During a normal day, 198th Avenue East is already burdened by school buses, parents taking and picking up school children, and children waiting along the two-lane, dangerous road,” she wrote county planners.
“Given these roads are so badly crowded now, how is the county going to stay ahead of the soon-to-be-bigger traffic disaster when more cars hit the road?” she asked.
The proposed Bonney Lake 26, would be just south and east of a traffic circle at 198th Avenue East and Cascadia Boulevard that already is a traffic bottleneck, Miller said.
Bonney Lake 26 is planned to include 125 three-bedroom and larger homes on three cul-de-sacs and two roads connecting to 198th.
The development plan for Tehaleh calls for 198th to ultimately be widened to five lanes. That plan also calls for construction of a new road to feed traffic westward from the area to state Route 162. That project remains several years distant. Who will pay for that road is still unsettled.
Tehaleh developer NASH Cascadia, whose property surrounds the Bonney Lake 26 project on three sides, said that while it favors approval of the project, it has concerns that should be addressed.
In a letter to the county, William T. Lynn, an attorney representing Tehaleh, said Bonney Lake 26’s traffic analysis fails to take into account the full development of Tehaleh. The growth assumption made by Bonney Lake 26 consultants doesn’t reflect the speed at which Tehaleh is growing or the level of traffic that has already been approved.
The Tehaleh attorney called for Bonney Lake 26 to help pay to improve roads.
Kurt Wilson, manager for Soundbuilt Homes, which is helping develop the Bonney Lake 26 tract, said he is confident that the three developers can work together to solve the transportation issues.
Area residents recently told the Pierce County Planning Commission they also want access from the east restored. That access was severed when a previous developer cleared a forested tract for a golf course that was never built.