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Sunnyside property owner wants out of city

SUNNYSIDE -- A retired farmer who once hoped to develop luxury runway homes with private hangars on his land adjacent the Sunnyside airport now wants his property taken out of the city limits.

Longtime Sunnyside City Hall critic Don Padelford plans to attempt the rare move of de-annexing his 120 acres north of the municipal airport at the east edge of town.

"They did not give us our housing zoning, thus we see no reason to stay in the city," said Padelford, 62.

Padelford's property, a homestead that has been in his family more than 100 years, has been tied up in zoning battles for five years. He currently has two lawsuits against the city.

Padelford envisioned an upscale neighborhood of luxury homes, some of them bordering the runway with private hangars. City officials have at alternate times seemed to agree, then balk at the idea, fearing such a development would prevent economic growth.

In a move that would restrict nearby development, city officials someday want to extend the runway by 600 feet to 4,000 feet in hopes of attracting larger planes. Padelford and other critics call that a pipe dream at the expense of property rights.

Padelford first applied for annexation in 2005. Padelford said then-City Manager Bob Stockwell told him he could reverse the annex if things didn't work out.

"If they don't give it to me, as far as I'm concerned, it's fraud," he said.