The city of Pasco will consider zoning for county land west of Road 80 before taking up a proposed annexation in response to a request from residents.
County residents who participated in a city-formed committee also urged Pasco City Council Monday to consider some sort of agreement that would better allow them to maintain their rural lifestyle.
Having the zoning set first would make county residents in the proposed annexation area more comfortable with the idea of becoming city residents, said Rick White, the city’s community and economic development director.
The area proposed to be annexed includes 688 acres of unincorporated county land west of Road 80 in what is commonly referred to as the doughnut hole. The area includes more than 400 homes, McLoughlin Middle School and Ruth Livingston Elementary.
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The planning commission will consider keeping the current RS-20 zoning for at least five years, which means a minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet per home, according to city documents. While residents asked for 20 years, that would be difficult to legally justify, according to city staff.
Steve Schlegel, a member of the fact-finding committee, told city council he feels the city needs to have some sort of agreement that addresses the concerns of the residents in the area to be annexed beyond zoning the area before considering the annexation.
He said there a lot of concerns about protecting their current rural lifestyle.
Schlegel and other committee members gave the city council two pages of recommendations of issues that could be addressed with an agreement that could be approved along with the annexation of the property.
Among the requests are maintaining the current minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet per home, allowing out buildings consistent to what the county allows, and allowing home businesses to operate without being in a commercial zone. Recommendations also were made for code enforcement, animals, standards for yard maintenance and parking.
The nine fact-finding committee members who signed onto the recommendations also requested that the right to farm be protected in the area to be annexed, that cost of services be set prior to annexation and that county building permit fees, impact assessments and permitting requirements be maintained. They suggested the agreement be in effect for at least 20 years.
Five of the fact-finding committee members did not sign onto the recommendations.
The city council formed the committee in January. That was similar to what was done during Pasco’s last annexation in late 2012.
Roger Lenk told the council he thinks the remaining county residents living in the doughnut hole will be willing to be annexed if what the council adopts is consistent to recommendations made by the fact-finding committee. He lives in the doughnut hole, but outside of the area currently proposed to be annexed. He was an outspoken opponent of a previous city annexation of part of the doughnut hole.
City Attorney Lee Kerr said many of the conditions that would be in an agreement as suggested by Schlegel likely could be addressed by zoning the area ahead of time. The city also could consider such an agreement while considering the actual annexation.
The city planning commission will consider zoning for the unincorporated area on Thursday. A public hearing will be held during the 7 p.m. meeting. The city council would consider the planning commission’s zoning recommendation on April 20, White said.