Chehalis Embarks on Process to Increase Urban Growth Area


The City of Chehalis is looking at adding two land areas to its Urban Growth Area (UGA), one of which could lead to a reduction in holes at the Newaukum Valley Golf Course should development arise.

The city’s UGA is an area outside the boundaries of city limits that the city has designated as a location where future growth should occur for potential annexation into the city.

Chehalis Planning and Building Manager Tammy Baraconi appeared before the Chehalis City Council Monday night to request that the city kick off the process of adding 247 acres and 109.8 acres, respectively, into the city’s UGA.

“What I’m asking tonight … is just a resolution showing our support so that we can demonstrate to Lewis County that the council is aware of what’s happening and supports this moving through the process,” Baraconi told the councilors. “It does not commit you to a decision today. Again, it is just a resolution saying you support this going through the process.”

The first land area up for a UGA expansion is eight parcels totaling 247 acres, requested for UGA consideration by owners Trevor Westland and Joe Enbody.

“This is the area commonly known as the Newaukum Valley Golf Course area,” Baraconi said. “This is going to be east of I-5 and south of Newaukum Village. A portion of the property is in a floodplain, and as per our state regulations, for us to bring it into our urban growth area, they do have to extinguish all development rights for the floodplain area.”

Five of the eight parcels are owned by the Newaukum Valley Golf Course, and the other three parcels are also privately-owned. Since the Newaukum Valley Golf Course encompasses the majority of the proposal area, if this proposal is approved, the golf course would be reduced from 27 holes to 18 holes to provide for some form of mixed-use commercial and residential development, according to meeting agenda documents.

Some of the residential development areas could be rezoned to allow four housing units per acre for single-family residences or 12 units per acre for multi-family homes, documents stated.

The second area proposed to be folded into the UGA is a single-parcel property of 109.8 acres.

“That’s going to be on the west side of I-5, right adjacent to Napavine,” Baraconi said. “This particular piece of property actually has part of its lot already in the urban growth area, so this will just be an extension of what is already existing.”

This area could also be rezoned to accommodate four housing units per acre for single-family residences or 12 units per acre for multi-family homes, documents stated.

“A large chunk of this land does have floodplain in it, but the applicant does know that in order for them to come into our urban growth area, they would have to extinguish all development rights (in the floodplain), and they have agreed to do that,” Baraconi said.

Next steps in the UGA expansion request:

• The Lewis County Planned Growth Committee will hold a public meeting to consider and make a recommendation to the Lewis County Planning Commission on June 1.

• The Lewis County Planning Commission will hold public workshops reviewing these items. It will culminate in a public hearing on July 26, in which the commission will make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) for updates to the Lewis County Comprehensive Plan.

• The Washington state Department of Commerce will have 60 days to review this request.

• After Commerce is done with its review, the BOCC will review these requests as part of their Comprehensive Plan update and decide to accept, accept with conditions or deny the request to expand the UGA.

It is anticipated that the BOCC will hold its public hearing this fall.

• After the county has completed its update, it will come back to the Chehalis City Council. The council will decide to either accept or deny the requested change to its comprehensive plan that will expand the UGA.