Pasco City Councilman Tom Larsen on Monday expressed hesitations about extending Chapel Hill Boulevard in the vicinity of Road 68 in west Pasco.
Larsen was the lone dissenting vote on an $18,000 contract for preliminary design work on the extension, which would add a segment from Road 68 to Road 84 through land owned by the state Department of Natural Resources, and also build Road 76 from Argent Road to Burden Boulevard.
Larsen said he thought a new road in the area should be closer to the sports complex near the TRAC event center.
"If we're going to run a street north-south, it should be east of Road 68," Larsen said. "We would still have the problem of getting over to see a ball game."
That remark prompted Mayor Matt Watkins to offer a clarification to his fellow council member.
"This is an extension of Chapel Hill Boulevard," Watkins said. "It runs east-west."
Larsen also objected to the city spending taxpayer money to run a road through Department of Natural Resources land.
"We should have the people who own this pay the cost," Larsen said.
City Manager Gary Crutchfield said it's normal for the city to pay for general planning, and the preliminary design -- which would only be a rough draft of about 5 percent to 10 percent of the needed engineering -- fits that bill.
He added that the goal of hiring someone to draw a preliminary design is to encourage the natural resources department to put its land up for sale so that Pasco won't have a farm circle surrounded by development.
If the department sells and the land is developed, then the new owners would pay for the cost to extend the road, and the preliminary design would give them an idea what to expect, Crutchfield said.
"The actual construction of the roadway would be the responsibility of the owners on either side," he said.