Prosser City Council members reluctantly but wisely agreed in principle to changes that will allow a low-cost housing project to be built.
It's the right outcome, even if the attitude needs adjusting.
Some council members made sure existing city residents know they did so against their own preferences.
The council generally opposed for some months a petition to rezone 11.6 acres on North River Road from low-medium residential to high-density residential so that Catholic Charities Housing Services could build up to 139 housing units there.
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The final vote was a 4-3 majority.
Prosser residents -- at least some of them -- loudly objected to allowing the development.
Yet Prosser's city administrator, Charlie Bush, said denying the rezoning could prompt a lawsuit that the city would probably lose.
He said Prosser has a shortage of land zoned for high-density residential development. And it fails to meet state laws on urban growth management.
A lawyer for Catholic Charities sent the city a 15-page letter outlining the possibility of federal lawsuits if Prosser didn't allow more low-income housing.
It is difficult to understand why anyone in an agricultural community like Prosser, so dependent upon cheap labor to keep its economy running, opposes low-cost housingfor workers who are essential to that success.
Prosser proclaims on its web site, without stretching the truth, that it is "The birthplace of the Washington wine industry."
Prosser is not an uncharitable town, but this belligerence toward the poor hardly shows its best side.
Catholic Charities made note of federal housing laws during the course of the application process.
In comments made before and after the meeting, it appears the council members resented Catholic Charities bringing up the matter of federal law at all.
Some complained they felt the tactic was putting a gun to their heads or twisting their arms.
It's an unfair characterization of the U.S. Constitution.
At any rate, we're glad the decision was made and that by next year, perhaps, more poor people in Prosser will have comfortable shelter with Catholic Charities' help.
There are more legal hurdles -- annexation of the land and other council input -- required before construction would actually start.
The majority did the right thing but unfortunately, when election time comes, having done the right thing instead of the popular thing is sometimes punished.
So the council majority's decision at this particular step indicates both wisdom and courage.
The same cannot be said of the losing side.