The Richland City Council will consider a request tonight for a tiered hillside condominium development in south Richland.
But if council members follow the recommendations of city staff members and the planning commission, they'll be asking developer TMT Homes to scale back the number of condos.
TMT Homes of Kennewick wants the zoning changed from low-density residential to a planned-unit development -- basically a custom zoning plan for a development with its own set of uses and regulations.
That would allow construction of 44 condos on a steep slope above Meadow Hills Drive near the Crested Hills and Meadow Hills developments.
The condos would be built in four buildings, each with 11 condos, on a little more than 10 acres.
According to a staff report, the buildings would be seven stories high, but representatives for the developersaid told the planning commission that they'd be tiered on the hillside so that functionally there would only be one or two stories of elevation rising from the slope at a time.
As proposed, each condo would have 3,150 square feet of living space plus a 1,200-square-foot deck.
And each of the four buildings would have a two-story penthouse with 5,650 square feet and two decks with another 3,000 square feet.
About seven acres would be left for open space, walkways and the city street.
At a planning commission hearing in July, some Richland residents spoke against the development because of the added number of people and traffic it likely would bring to the upper-scale neighborhood.
The plan presented this year was similar to a plan submitted in 2010 for 60 condos on more than 12 acres and a rezone to a planned-unit development. That application was rejected by the commission and withdrawn by the developer before it went to the city council.
Rick Simon, the city's development services manager, said the 2012 proposal is different in a few ways, namely that it involves fewer acres and fewer condos.
The proposal from two years ago also was planned for both sides of Meadow Hills Drive, while the current proposal keeps the development on the upper side of the street and leaves the lower portion as natural open space, Simon said.
But as with the 2010 proposal, city staff members are concerned about the density of the proposed development, the size and mass of thebuildings, and the steep slopes on the property.
A Technical Advisory Committee looked at the plan and recommended that the developer build either 32 condos in four five-story buildings or 33 units in three seven-story buildings.
Dale and Sophia Atkinson, who live near the proposed project, believe the city council should reject the rezone.
The Atkinsons wrote in a July letter to Simon that the condo project is an illegal spot zone request on property that is approved for 14 single-family homes.
They said the condo "heights and density (would be) disruptive to adjoining neighbors by creating lack of privacy."
Other neighbors testified in July that adding so many more units would worsen an already congested traffic problem.
Simon said the council has a number of options. It can approve the zoning change and development as submitted with 44 condos, adopt the recommendations of the Technical Advisory Committee, deny the application outright, or set its own conditions on the development.
Because the planning commission already conducted a public hearing, the council won't take new public testimony or comments at tonight's meeting, but members of the public who spoke at the July hearing will be allowed to summarize their comments for the city council.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org