Bear Creek United Methodist to build church
by Jeff Switzer
Members of the Bear Creek United Methodist Church are elated over the news that they will be able to begin work soon building their church on the northeast corner of NE 165th Street and Avondale Road.
Since March 1992, the 217-member church has been meeting in a multi-purpose room at Wilder Elementary for its Sunday services, and has been renting offices from Cottage Lake Presbyterian Church.
In July, King County issued a Determination of Non-Significance for the proposed 16,000-square-foot church and its 190 parking spaces on four acres.
In response, some neighbors concerned about the possible effects to the area formed the Bear Creek Neighborhood Alliance (BCNA) to appeal the determination.
The appeal was denied on Dec. 6, reiterating that an environmental impact statement was not required because the developer was willing to mitigate the impacts to the site.
"Obviously we're pleased," said Bear Creek United Methodist Church Pastor Don Sorenson. "We plan to keep the neighborhood informed of the progress we're making."
"It's exciting being a part of a new place of worship like this," said church member Bill Hoppe. "It's going to be a nice facility that will really enhance the Cottage Lake area."
The new mitigated determination outlines the requirements the developers will have to follow for the proposed project, including allowing access to the site only from Avondale Road, parking lot lights 20 feet in height or less and turned off by 10 p.m., and honoring their agreement not to construct advertising or a cross taller than the church.
The developer will also be required to conduct a winter groundwater monitoring study to county standards.
Ken Kawafune, BCNA president, said he was pleased with some of the mitigations proposed in the order, but still feels some issues have not been addressed.
"I had hoped more attention would be given to the actual size of the project, the concrete and the clearing involved in a rural area," Kawafune said.
According to Kawafune, reactions of the 150-member BCNA have been mixed, and Kawafune and Jack Brand, vice-president of the group, will be gauging the reactions of the alliance as a whole to determine their next step.