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King's Way pastors to grab their shovels

They say their prayers have been answered.

After being locked in a nine-year legal battle, pastors at Carlsborg's King's Way Foursquare Church are bringing in heavy machinery for Phase 1 of their plan to have a large-scale summer camp on church property at 1023 Kitchen-Dick Road.

On any given day they are flipping through pages of youth camp schematics, coordinating a volunteer work force and unloading heavy machinery.

They'll take a break for a small groundbreaking ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 20.

"Having a summer camp at this site has been a vision of King's Way since it purchased this property in 1994," said the Rev. David Rich.

"We have small camp activities for those children in our congregation but have wanted to open that up to a larger audience for some time."

Phase 1 of construction includes excavating a drainage system to handle the runoff from the increased development.

From there, the camp will begin to come to life, according to the Rev. Jerry Van Proyen.

"Nothing has really changed from the original plan, so we are going to see a great facility for children here," he said.

The initial proposal came forward in 2001. Since then, the church, Clallam County and neighbors near the site locked in legal battle after legal battle.

The Clallam County hearings examiner initially approved the camp in 2001 but put restrictions on its size and capacity, only allowing 159 campers. The church appealed on grounds the decision infringed on its freedom of religion.

"The thrust of the (Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act) suit was that these conditions substantially burdened the religious expression and practice of the church," King's Way attorney Thomas Richardson said.

The county and church eventually reached a settlement that allowed the church to go forward with the project as initially proposed.

However, neighbors to the project, Erwin and Diana Jones, continued to fight the camp's approval with a Washington State Land Use Petition Act complaint. But Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Russell Hartman denied the complaint.

"We have neighboring supporters and neighbors that unfortunately do not like this idea," Van Proyen said.

"We will be respectful of them while making sure this camp will be instrumental in reaching the next generation for the kingdom of God."

All appeals deadlines have expired, giving the church a green light for development.

Detailed schematics identify an outdoor amphitheater, an indoor pool and several sports fields surrounded by cabins and the church.

The agreement with the county allows as many as 22 cabins and parking for recreational vehicles. Outdoor activities are limited to 7 a.m.-11 p.m. except on Easter Sunday.

The camp will be able to house up to 350 overnight campers

and staff.

The site is near Carlsborg but not within its urban growth area, making it unlikely to be affected by a Growth Management Act ruling that invalidated some zoning in the Carlsborg UGA.



Reach Evan McLean at

emclean@sequimgazette.com.





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