After hearing concerns from neighbors about a proposed high-density project, the Kennewick City Council decided to make it medium density.
The city council voted 6-1 Tuesday to send developer Jose Chavallo's proposal to change the density of 10 acres near Lawrence Scott Park back to staff for more work.
Chavallo told the council that he thinks the project would be a good place for housing for disabled veterans. He said he has no plans to build the full 270 units that would be allowed if the density was changed from low density to high density.
The property is on the southeast corner of North Kellogg and North Lincoln streets and West Quinalt Avenue, near the Port of Kennewick's Vista Field Airport.
Sharon Zeller of Kennewick, who lives nearby, said she is concerned the project would add to the area's traffic. She was one of about 13 neighbors who spoke against the project.
She and other neighbors said they were concerned their property values would drop and crime would increase.
Zeller said she thinks medium density would work in the neighborhood, such as a project that includes four-plexes or condos, but not high density, she said.
"We live there because it's a nice neighborhood," she said.
The city's planning commission recommended council approval at its Aug. 20 meeting.
The city needs more high density residential property to meet the city's 20-year population projections, said Anthony Muai, city planner.
It also would provide a transition from the commercial and industrial area to the low density residential area.
The city's traffic engineer estimates if the project was built out to the maximum, it could add up to 1,800 trips on a weekday, Muai said. It's likely mitigation would be needed.
Councilman Don Britain expressed concern the project could add traffic that would be beyond Quinalt Avenue's capacity.
The council also directed city staff to work with the Port of Kennewick before bringing the proposed comprehensive plan amendment back for another public hearing.
The Port of Kennewick submitted a letter notifying the city of a requirement to go through a "formal consultation" process with the port about land use compatibility because of the property's proximity to Vista Field.
Larry Peterson, the port's planning and development director, said the port's concerned the future viability of the airport could be affected by the land use action.
He said the port is concerned that not going through the process could jeopardize the port's chances at getting state grants for the airport.
Muai said the city staff has not entered a "consultation" process with the port because it was not aware of that part of state law.
Councilman Bob Parks said he did not appreciate the port bringing the issue to the city at the last minute, and said it felt like a "gotcha."
Councilman John Hubbard opposed the motion.
w The council unanimously approved selling property adjacent to the Three Rivers Convention Center to A-1 Hospitality of Kennewick for an attached hotel. The $194,750 sale helps pave the way for Vijay Patel, president of A-1 Hospitality, to build a 102-room SpringHill Suites. The hotel will need to submit an application for a city building permit within six months of the sale closing, and the building has to begin within 18 months of closing, said Lisa Beaton, city attorney.
w The council approved a lease for the Carousel of Dreams in a 6-1 vote. Britain, who voted against the lease, said he appreciated the efforts of the volunteer board, but remains concerned the group will not be able to sustain operations of the carousel and that the city will have to take it over. The volunteer group plans to install the 102-year-old carousel at the Southridge Sports and Events Complex. The 20-year lease will allow the nonprofit's board to rent the land for the carousel for a $1 annual rent.