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Bible camp to expand big, soon

Several additions and an extensive property redevelopment could be a reality for the Lakeside Bible Camp in Clinton.

The camp filed a development permit application with Island County Planning and Community Development department in February. The application outlines a five-phase development on the camp’s 48-acre site on the shore of Deer Lake. The permit, if approved, would allow the camp to construct an additional 21,000 square feet of buildings, according to Ryan Morrison, an Island County planner.

In the application, the proposal states that the first phase of the project will consist of a replacement dormitory. In the second phase, the camp will build a covered sports facility and a bathhouse/restroom. The third phase includes adding nine camping/RV sites to the existing eight sites, while the final two phases include the construction of a new water storage tank and two new dormitories.

Morrison said the Lakeside Bible Camp could begin development as soon as a list of the county’s comments and requirements are addressed. Those concerns must be addressed by the bible camp by June 8.

Included in the county’s list of requirements for the camp is a request to specify where a future water tank and pickleball/basketball courts would be built; to modify cabin and drainfield sites so they are not in a 50-foot setback; to submit documentation and designs for existing and proposed signs; and to draw up a specified lighting plan for all existing and proposed fixtures on the site.

The Lakeside Bible Camp sits off Wintergreen Drive on the west side of Deer Lake Road in Clinton. The property is home to several structures, including seven camper cabins, a meeting room, an infirmary, a chapel and a dining hall, all built in 1960. Prior to 1960, a lakeview guesthouse was built in 1917, and a second guesthouse was built in 1940. A director’s home went up in 1951, and a bus barn/shed was raised in 1958. A maintenance shop was built on the property in 1978, a guesthouse in 1990, and an additional camper cabin in 1998.

The property also includes soccer and softball fields, an archery range, volleyball court, a pickleball and basketball court, a swimming deck, a boat and fishing dock, and a water ski dock.

Lakeside Bible Camp opened over four decades ago when a group of evangelical churches in the greater Seattle area purchased close to 50 acres on Deer Lake in the summer of 1959. Through volunteer labor the camp was built over the winter, with the first camp session held summer of 1960. Lakeside remains owned and operated by these churches today, and has become one of the premier destinations for campers in the Pacific Northwest.

Staff from Lakeside Bible Camp did not return calls to comment on the expansion permit application.

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