The Pasco City Council is considering expanding the city’s urban growth boundary to the north.
The 80 acres, designated to be residential, is northeast of the intersection of Road 52 and Powerline Road, diagonal to the new Rosalind Franklin Elementary School. If approved, the urban growth area would be expanded to take up about half of a current crop circle.
The site initially was 160 acres, but only about half of it can be developed because of zoning restrictions near the flight path at the Tri-Cities Airport.
An urban growth expansion application for the site was initially reviewed in 2010, but the city turned it down because of inadequate sewer service to the area at the time.
But studies have since shown that analysis was overly conservative, according to city documents. Also, a wastewater lift station is planned nearby, and the changes to airport zoning regulations have limited the number of homes that can be built in the area, reducing the potential demand on the sewer system.
“With all the utilities that are up next to Powerline Road and the new school, I think it would be a wise move to bring it into the city,” said Councilman Al Yenney.
The Franklin County Commission will have to approve the urban growth area request in March, and the city council can then give final approval, said Rick White, Pasco community and economic development director.
Pasco’s first urban growth area was created in 1993, and has only been expanded four times since then, according to city documents. Pasco estimates it will need an additional 1,222 acres in the city by 2027 to meet growing population needs, which the state estimates could top 87,000. Currently population is near 68,000.
The expansion is not likely to be denied by the state Growth Management Hearings Board, which recently concluded that Kennewick failed to show how anticipated population growth justified expanding by 1,263 acres south of Interstate 82 and west of Highway 395.
“We’re actually shy land needed to grow by,” White said.