BENTON CITY — Owners of coveted wine-growing acreage on Red Mountain near West Richland will see Antinori Road extended approximately one mile to Sunset Road.
Benton County commissioners voted Monday to form a road improvement district that will pay for the project, expected to cost $1 million to $1.7 million.
The road will cost property owners about $700 an acre, which is based on the amount of land contained in the district. Five landowners who protested being included were allowed to withdraw from the improvement district.
Sixty-five of the 109 parcel landowners signed a petition to form the district.
Among those who did not sign and asked not to be included are Orley J. Krogh, Ben and Jenny Oliver, Marcia A. McGee, Franklin Bruce Oliver, and Jeff Brown and Eva Baroni.
Jim Holmes, a Red Mountain property owner who led the petition drive, said completing Antinori Road will add value to all properties in the area. He said it will complete a loop and promote visits to the wine-growing region.
"It's the last piece of infrastructure to put this all together. It's been a rocky road, but this benefits everybody," he said.
Holmes said including a bike path and a roundabout would add something special to the Red Mountain community. "It would be an exclamation point," he said.
But commissioners chose to exclude the bike path and roundabout to cut costs.
Steven Becken, public works manager, said the next step will be surveying and acquiring right of way.
Commissioners also voted:
-- To reclassify 1,875 acres at the Barker Ranch in West Richland as open space. The land already is considered wetlands preserve by the federal government. The change will reduce property taxes on the property by $9,000 a year.
-- To hire Dr. Brooks Watson II as the new physician for the Benton County jail, replacing Dr. W. Thomas Cooper who asked that his contract be terminated. Brooks will be paid no more than $75,500 through the end of the year.
-- John Trumbo: 509-582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org