Franklin County plans to ask a former major league baseball pitcher to remove landscaping from a public walkway that provides access to the Columbia River.
The bushes and other vegetation growing in a county easement next to a home owned by Jeremy Bonderman are not allowed, county Engineer Matt Rasmussen told commissioners at their Wednesday meeting.
"I believe we are certainly within our rights to ask that landscaping be removed," he said.
Pedestrians are allowed to walk through the right of way even with the landscaping. But some at the meeting were concerned about crossing the property to get to the river.
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"Basically, we can just walk down the guy's driveway?" said Cheryl Baird, who lives on Ridgeview Drive near Bonderman. "It's uncomfortable."
Bonderman, who said he didn't know about the meeting, said people can walk around the landscaping.
"I don't give a (expletive) if they walk down there, but I'm not going to rip out the bushes and stuff," he said Wednesday afternoon.
Bonderman played in the major leagues between 2003-13, most of that with the Detroit Tigers, before pitching for the Seattle Mariners last year.
Baird was at the meeting for a public hearing on a request by Bonderman's neighbor, Paul Strangeland, who was asking the county to vacate part of its right of way because he had already grown his yard over it and wanted to be able to legally make it part of his property.
The pedestrian access to the river was a reason Baird bought her home, she said. She feared removing the access could negatively affect her property value.
Commissioners approved Strangeland's request, but Rasmussen said that it will not affect the 10-foot-wide pedestrian access that people now have because a retaining wall has already been built between Strangeland's yard and the walkway.
They initially asked staff to send a letter to Bonderman, asking him to remove the landscaping from the pedestrian right of way. But they decided a conversation would be better.
"I'd much rather work with them and see if it is something we can agree on," said Commissioner Brad Peck.
Longer term, the county should look at replacing the walkway off Ridgeview Drive with a safer location for river access, Peck said.
-- Commissioners approved a new $309,855 telephone system for the emergency dispatch center. They had feared that the new system, which is paid for with state money, would not be compatible with a new regional dispatch center Franklin County is considering with Benton County and the cities of Pasco, Kennewick and Richland. But Peck said changes were made to the agreement that will make it compatible.
-- Commissioners approved a request from Franklin Fire District 3 to annex area along Pasco Kahlotus Road from Franklin Fire District 2. Residents who spoke during a public hearing said that the move will reduce response times in emergencies.
-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom