A barrier to the expansion of Hansen Park south of 10th Avenue in Kennewick has been removed.
The Kennewick City Council unanimously approved changing the zoning on 1.5 acres that had once been considered for a future fire station.
The zone change from public facility to residential low density will allow Hansen Park to subdivide the property into parcels for new homes, said Anthony Muai, city planner.
The property between 10th and the Kennewick Irrigation District canal is part of a 20-acre parcel, Muai said.
Kennewick Fire Marshal Mark Yaden told the city council that the location is too far to the west to help the fire department improve response times.
The council instead has approved buying two properties on the corner of Kellogg Street and 10th Avenue for $400,000 for the city's fifth fire station. The sale has yet to close and the city is still in the process of performing its due diligence on the property to make sure it fits with the city's needs.
Yaden said the Kellogg Street location is more than a mile away from the Hansen Park site.
The Hansen Park location was never attractive to the city because it is located right as vehicles come up the hill from Five Corners, presenting some problems and concerns about visibility, he said.
Hansen Park has completed the development north of 10th Avenue and would like to expand the housing subdivision to the south, Muai said.
The city has been looking for land for a new fire station so the fire department can better meet the goals of responding to emergency medical calls in four minutes and fires in southwest Kennewick in five minutes. At the moment, travel time is closer to eight minutes.
City officials have said that the property at Kellogg Street and 10th Avenue will improve response time in southwest Kennewick, as well as providing good backup for other stations.
Three Kennewick residents who live near the proposed fire station on Kellogg Street told city council on Tuesday that they oppose the city's choice.
Tia Marie Bewlay, Juan Marin and Chris Cataldo told council that they think the cost is too high, the city will have a tough time making the property work and that a fire station should not be in an entirely residential area.
Kennewick Mayor Steve Young asked City Manager Marie Mosley to schedule a time to meet with the concerned neighbors.
-- The Kennewick City Council unanimously approved allowing the Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau to use about $134,000 in saved tourism promotion area assessments.
The bureau needs approval from Kennewick, Richland and Pasco to use the money, which is from a per-guest room fee on hotels and motels.
Most of the money would go toward creating a new website for the bureau.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org