The Richland City Council turned down a proposed land swap that would have subtracted a quarter acre from Trailhead Community Park in south Richland.
Shane Gentry was offering $8,000 plus about 9,000 square feet of a residential lot to the city in exchange for 11,747 square feet of the park. He wanted the extra land so his lot, which currently is long and narrow, could be more rectangular and conducive for building a house on it.
The council voted 6-0 against the trade, with Councilman Terry Christensen not present at Tuesday's meeting.
The 40-acre park is on Queensgate Drive off Shockley Road just west of the Westcliffe neighborhood and provides parking and trail access to the Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve, a 574-acre natural preserve atop Badger Mountain, according to the city's website.
Councilwoman Sandra Kent said the $8,000 offered by Gentry didn't seem to be enough, even though it represented the fair market value of $3.08 per square foot on the 2,557 square feet that was the net difference in the exchange.
Gentry had asked the city's Parks and Recreation Commission in June about the land swap and initially offered $4,000 for the difference in the exchange.
The parks commission voted in June not to recommend the deal because the park boundary would end up with a piece missing along its straight boundary.
The city's Economic Development Committee recommended the land exchange in July, but the Planning Commission voted to oppose it, citing a bad precedent, dissatisfaction with dollar value in the swap and the fact that park land would be lost in the trade.
Adam Fyall, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, told the council his board was "emphatically and enthusiastically" opposed to a land swap.
Fyall said the council before voting should at least consider accepting comment from the Friends of Badger group because its trails are adjacent to the park.
Jim Langdon, trails manager for the Friends group, called the deal bad for the same reasons given by the parks commission, and Richland resident Jan Rickard registered his protest too.
Parks and recreation department staff had recommended to the council that the exchange be approved because the land to be acquired for the park is adjacent to an existing parking lot where landscaping could be developed to screen the lot from adjacent homes.