Seven months after state land in the heart of Pasco sold for $10.3 million, three developers are moving forward with plans to build more than 360 homes.
The three neighborhoods will be part of a buildout that eventually could bring 1,000 total new homes to a city that’s still in the midst of a growth spurt.
Crop circles used to cover the 230 acres that sit just south of Interstate 182, between Roads 84 and 68. Chiawana High School is to the south and west of the property.
The state Department of Natural Resources put the land up for auction in November since it no longer was surrounded by open space, but by city, and it became clear that farming wasn’t the most profitable use.
The five parcels fetched nearly twice the amount expected for the state agency.
Now, where corn, potatoes and alfalfa used to grow, individuals and families will be able to put down roots.
The property is zoned for single-family homes, with one area for multifamily units.
The first three developments are borrowing from the nearby high school for their names: Chiawana Heights, Chiawana Place and Riverhawk Estates.
They’re still in the early phases, with two of the developments still awaiting approval of the preliminary plats by the Pasco City Council in July.
Chiawana Place went back before the Planning Commission last week after city staff raised concerns about traffic with the location of one of the subdivion’s access points onto West Argent Road. The developer agreed to modify the street layout, said City Planner Dave McDonald.
I really appreciate your looking at the traffic because we know from Road 68 that when we get it wrong, people are unhappy for a long time.
Councilwoman Rebecca Francik
Chiawana Heights was the first to get the city’s permission to move forward. It will have 84 homes on about 21 acres, with the average lot size at 8,205 square feet.
Engineering work has begun on the development, which will be located along Road 84 just north of the Franklin County Irrigation Canal and adjacent to a future Pasco elementary school.
Chiawana Place — the second development request to go before the city — will have 78 lots on just under 30 acres. The average lot will be almost 11,000 square feet.
This development will be to the east of Chiawana High’s athletic fields, between what eventually will be a Road 76 extension and what would be Road 72 if it were to extend north.
While one of the access points will feed out onto Road 76, the other was planned to be on Argent just 125 feet west of Road 72. That is the bare minimum offset allowed by the city.
Pasco staff were concerned because Argent already is an arterial street with increased traffic during the school year and higher speeds, and the street will only get more congested when people move into those developments.
“I really appreciate your looking at the traffic because we know from Road 68 that when we get it wrong, people are unhappy for a long time,” Councilwoman Rebecca Francik told staff.
Shifting the Chiawana Place street connection a little more to the east will reduce safety issues if cars are pulling out of the subdivision and from Road 72 at the same time. It will not change the number of lots in the neighborhood, McDonald said.
Riverhawk Estates will be at the corner of Road 84 and the future Chapel Hill Boulevard extension, north of the Chiawana Heights subdivision.
It is a large parcel, with the developer splitting it up and putting 199 lots on the first 54 acres. Another 175 or so lots are planned for the remaining 47 acres at a later date, McDonald said.
The Planning Commission last week voted to recommend approval for the plat’s first phase.
McDonald said there are about 37 acres that are zoned for multifamily, which can include condos, duplexes and apartments. That property runs along the freeway just north of the Chapel Hill extension, which ultimately will connect with Road 68.
Commercial development will go in east of the multifamily units, between Road 68 and the future Road 76.
McDonald said the Department of Natural Resources held on to two pieces of land, including the commercial property that will wrap around the Road 68 interchange on the south.
The state agency manages 5.6 million acres in Washington that collectively generate $200 million for public schools and other state-funded enterprises.