RICHLAND -- The city of Richland is moving closer to making a nearly 2,000-acre development on the south side of Badger Mountain a reality.
The city council is expected to consider a master plan for the area -- which is not yet within its boundaries but has been earmarked for future growth -- sometime in July after the planning commission unanimously recommended the plan's approval at a meeting this week.
The plan sets out general zoning and development guidelines for the area, which eventually is expected to include 5,000 homes, parks, schools, 150 acres of commercial development and a wine village.
Once the master plan, formally known as the Badger Mountain Subarea plan, is approved, then the city can start working on a more specific development agreement with the developer, said Rick Simon, Richland's development services manager.
And once those details are hammered out, the city would start to move toward annexing the land, Simon said.
Also this week, the commission recommended that the council approve a settlement agreement between property owners and neighbors of a proposed development at Keene Road and the future extension of Queensgate Drive.
The development was the subject of controversy in October 2008 when the owners asked the city to amend the comprehensive plan to redesignate 48 acres from low-density residential to medium-density residential and commercial, and redesignate 12.5 acres for neighborhood commercial use.
Residents of the nearby Country Ridge subdivision complained that having commercial development next to their homes would bring too much traffic and devalue their homes.
The city council approved the comprehensive plan amendment that would have allowed some of the land to become commercial, and the neighbors appealed to the Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, Simon said.
Rather than go through a costly appeal, the parties agreed to sit down and negotiate, he said.
The settlement agreement considered by the planning commission Wednesday provided a low-density residential buffer between Country Ridge and any commercial development, which would happen on the east side of the eventual extension of Queensgate, Simon said. Country Ridge lies to the west of the proposed development.
Simon said the agreement also restricted the character of commercial development and included some building standards, such as a provision that no large-scale retail stores could be placed there, and one that said buildings can't be more than 30 feet tall.
No development can take place until a right of way is established for the extension of Queensgate, he said.
The final decision to accept the agreement rests with the city council.
w Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org