Franklin County commissioners OK development near Pasco

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldJune 12, 2013 

Franklin County commissioners voted 3-0 Wednesday to approve a new 30-acre residential development to be built northwest of Pasco.

The zoning change will allow around 40 homes eventually to be built in the subdivision being developed by Dave Greeno near the intersection of Kohler and Burns roads.

While no one from the surrounding area showed up at Wednesday's meeting, 16 people spoke against the application at the county planning commission's April 9 hearing. The commission ended up unanimously recommending the application in May.

The previous zoning allowed for only one home to be built per acre. Now up to two houses can go on an acre.

Opponents were concerned about potential threats to their rural lifestyles, said county planning and building director Jerrod MacPherson.

They also did not want Sandy Ridge Road extended and expressed fears of E. coli seeping from the homes' septic tanks.

While the city of Pasco will be responsible for connecting the homes to water lines, sewer would not be included in that, Miller said. The property is outside the city limits but lies within the city's urban growth boundary.

Miller said he understands the residents' concerns, but the county had little choice but to approve the request.

"Unless we can find a reason not to, like safety or health, or there's not a road to it, there's not a lot we can do," he said.

Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield said later Wednesday that the city and developer would share the cost of the water lines, estimated at $500,000. The city is responsible for paying for extra capacity for the lines, so they can be used for future developments. Those developers then would reimburse the city.

The developer also will be responsible for building roads in the subdivision, Crutchfield said.

The city doesn't have short-term plans to annex the area, Crutchfield said.

Also Wednesday, commissioners denied a request from the Army Corps of Engineers to hold a public hearing on closing a two-and-a-quarter-mile stretch of Columbia River Road to vehicle traffic to stop people from dumping trash.

The road is owned by the county, but leads into Corps property.

Public works director Matt Mahoney showed pictures of trash left in the area and a "no shooting" sign that had split in half because of all the shots taken at it over the years.

"Their intent is not to close it to foot traffic, they want people going in there," Mahoney said.

But commissioners said that putting a gate in would do little to stop dumping.

"They'd ride up to the gate and dump it," Commissioner Bob Koch said.

Commissioner Brad Peck added that while he didn't like to see illegal target shooting, the sign Mahoney showed a photo of had been in poor condition for years.

"This is likely to increase dumping on private property," Peck said. "Really it comes down to, should we do something that's a law enforcement issue?"

In other business, the commissioners chose to use a brick scheme similar to the historic Franklin County Courthouse on the new part of the county jail that is under construction. The choice, which was based on the recommendation of the jail project's architect, was made instead of beige and yellow bricks that resemble the existing part of the jail.

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