KENNEWICK — Kennewick developer Jose Chavallo's plan to build 38 upscale homes on the north slope of Thompson Hill south of town will not have Kennewick Irrigation District water.
KID directors are pulling the plug on a water allotment application for the proposed 24-acre Citadel Estates because a geotechnical report says the slope could become unstable if irrigated.
The KID board voted Tuesday to send a rejection letter to Chavallo, along with a copy of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's geotechnical report that identifies the potential risk.
Chuck Freeman, KID district manager, said the analysis done by the bureau's regional office in Boise said the steep slope on Thompson Hill has a soil type that could break loose and slide if irrigated.
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A landslide could block KID's Division Four canal at the lower end of Thompson Hill, Freeman said. If that happened, it would send KID water from the canal into residential areas to the north, including part of Creekstone and other neighborhoods on the south side of West 10th Avenue near Kellogg Street, he said.
There would be considerable property damage and potential loss of life, Freeman said.
The risk is wholly dependent on whether irrigation water is applied on the upper slope of Thompson Hill's north side, the report says.
"If it remains dry, it is fine," said Ed Everaert, KID's manager of engineering and operations.
"The (bureau's) geotechnical engineer said this project should not be approved. The water allotment application (for Citadel Estates) is being rescinded and the money refunded 100 percent," Freeman said.
Everaert said the bureau also denied a request by Chavallo to build a retaining wall within the bureau's right of way along the Division 4 canal.
Freeman said the geotechnical analysis is one of several that have been done for the proposed Citadel Estates site, including one done by the previous owner of the property.
"(Chavallo) did one himself," Freeman said. All of the geotechnical reports identified slope stability issues, he said.
Reached late Tuesday, Chavallo said he knew nothing about KID's decision to back out of an agreement to provide irrigation for Citadel Estates.
"They should have at least invited me to their meeting," said Chavallo, adding that he would not respond further until after having had the opportunity to review the letter and geotechnical report.
The Citadel Estates project was considered by a Kennewick hearing examinerApril 11, and a decision is pending for a meeting in May.
Chavallo's project has been opposed by residents in the neighboring Panoramic Heights subdivision.