On behalf of the Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities, I want to commend Hayden Homes and the city of Richland for working to balance the interests of development and preservation in regards to the Amon Creek Natural Preserve. In a community such as ours that continues to attract economic development opportunities, new housing will continue to be needed. We all appreciate the natural beauty of places like the Amon Creek Natural Preserve and understand the need for preservation. Development and preservation are sometimes in conflict and this case is no exception. The city of Richland continues to operate a fair and open review of the plat approval and zoning change processes and have taken the time to listen to the concerns of citizens. When Hayden Homes became aware of the community concerns about their Clearwater Creek development, they worked with the Tapteal Greenway to create a buffer area between the subdivision and the natural area, to donate 8 acres and then allow Tapteal to buy another 4 acres at a discount. As a community, we have the responsibility to preserve the things that are appropriate to preserve, but to understand that we cannot preserve everything because we are a growing and thriving community. Richland has long planned to extend Rachel Road, knowing that, as plans for future growth and development came to fruition, it would be needed. They were transparent about the future need for this road from the beginning. It may disturb a portion of the preserve, but not the entire thing.
I believe that both the city of Richland and Hayden Homes have gone above and beyond in protecting Amon Creek Natural Preserve, while still allowing much-needed development to go forward.
-- JEFF LOSEY, Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities