Permits issued for south Richland apartments

By Pratik Joshi, Herald staff writerOctober 5, 2010 

Wolff Enterprises is going ahead with a plan to build a $20 million apartment complex near the Applewood Estates subdivision in south Richland, even as neighbors claim it would disrupt the residential area.

Building permits already have been issued for the project, which would be on a 15-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Westcliffe Boulevard and Brantingham Road.

But the company has withdrawn an application for a land-use change for the remaining 15 acres of the site that would have allowed development of single-family homes there. The company didn't provide any reason, said Rick Simon, Richland development services manager.

Wolff Enterprises officials couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

The apartment complex proposal has angered many neighborhood residents, who believe it effectively would turn the area into a high-density neighborhood and result in increased traffic and lower property values.

The site previously had been approved for a senior living complex, but the developer has told the city the market for such a development was not favorable.

Simon said the developer will share plans for the proposed 176-unit complex of medium to higher-end rental apartments with the community in a meeting beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the council chambers at Richland City Hall, 505 Swift Boulevard.

The city recently issued permits to Wolff Enterprises to build eight apartment buildings, seven garages and a clubhouse on the 15-acre parcel, which originally was part of the Badger Mountain Planned Unit Development project. Most of the apartment buildings would be three stories.

Although some area residents are opposed to the project, Simon said the apartment project is a done deal.

The original PUD called for 206 units, including senior apartments, assisted-living units, single-family homes and duplex rental units over the entire 30-acre parcel. Simon approved the new plan as an amendment to that plan after finding it would be a similar land use.

The apartment complex will add to the city's mix of housing mix and fulfill a need, Simon said. Currently, there's a shortage of apartments in the city, he said.

But area residents previously have told the Herald that the amendment, which was approved without a public hearing, ultimately would turn a quiet area into a higher-density neighborhood. Neighbors fear that could mean more crime and higher homeowner insurance premiums.

The Applewood Estates Homeowners Association has given details of its opposition to the planned apartment complex on its website at www.applewood estateshoa.com.

The site says the association is not opposed to development but is concerned about altering the quiet nature of the neighborhood.

"We would certainly like the city to recognize their unusual move with the 'minor' amendment and begin the process over," the site says. "This would give the area residents of Applewood, Brantingham, Cherrywood, Badger Mountain, Westcliffe and others a voice in the planning commission's decision to change the master plan."

The homeowners association website says a neighborhood meeting is planned today at 7 p.m. at the Bethel Church on Shockley Road.

w Pratik Joshi: 582-1541; pjoshi@tricity herald.com

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