Yoke's Fresh Market in works for south Richland

By Michelle Dupler, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 7, 2012 

RICHLAND — South Richland residents soon may have another option for their grocery shopping.

City documents show that a plan is in the works to bring a Yoke's Fresh Market to Keene Road just west of Badger Mountain Park.

And the city's Parks & Recreation Commission at 7 p.m. Thursday is set to consider allowing a 30-foot-tall "Yoke's Fresh Market" sign on the Keene Road Trail Corridor, which is park land owned by the city.

Company officials confirmed Yoke's Fresh Market is looking at a possible building site in south Richland but said nothing has been signed yet.

Joe Hanson, senior vice president of Yoke's Fresh Market corporation based near Spokane, said if all goes well, Yoke's will begin building in the next couple of months.

Dave Bryant, senior park planner for Richland, said the city has allowed commercial signs in the trail corridor before through lease agreements.

A site plan that will be reviewed by the Richland Planning Commission on Feb. 22 shows a 52,000-square-foot grocery store and 256 parking stalls on a 5.8-acre site along Keene near Brantingham Road

Rick Simon, Richland's development services manager, said the Yoke's store is part of a larger 12.5-acre proposal that would include a mini-mall, restaurant and pads for future commercial development.

The land is zoned C1 "neighborhood commercial," he said, and no zoning change is required for the planned development.

The land is owned by Glen Englehard of Richland, but the site plan application was filed by an engineering firm on behalf of URM Stores, Simon said.

URM is a company owned by retail grocers who are customers as well as owners. One service the company provides for its members -- one of which is Yoke's -- is supermarket site planning and analysis, according to the URM website.

Simon said the Planning Commission's decision on the site plan likely will come Feb. 22, and will be final with no action required by the city council unless the decision is appealed.

"Then it's just a matter of going through the rest of the development review process," he said.

Yoke's opened its first stores in Pasco and Kennewick in 2003. Its 56,000-square-foot West Richland store cost $4.46 million and opened in 2005.

-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com.

-- Staff writer Loretto Hulse contributed to this report.

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