Fifty-five acres of farm land on the west end of Kennewick off Clodfelter Road could see homes, not wheat, sprouting by late next year.
The Kennewick City Council unanimously approved a comprehensive plan amendment for the property at 1500 S. Clodfelter Road at the request of developer Matt Smith of Bend, Ore.
Smith said the owners, Victor and Marilyn Johnson, preferred to see their land developed with low-density development, with about 3.5 homes per acre. That would yield about 192 homes.
Currently, their home is the only dwelling on the property.
The city council approved the comprehensive plan amendment without much comment. While its present use is for agriculture, it has been zoned commercial. Smith said the owners originally wanted a change to medium density residential but decided to scale down to low density residential.
The city's planning commission had no recommendation on the land use designation change from commercial to residential.
The nearest neighbors who live on Sunnyvale Drive fear more homes will bring increased traffic and might harm their neighborhood water well that is the main supply for the Badger Canyon Water Association.
A letter signed by 18 residents on Sunnyvale Drive and presented to the planning commission in October said they "vehemently oppose Sunnyvale Drive being extended" into the Johnson property.
Smith said now that the city has approved the comprehensive plan amendment, he will ask for a change in zoning to low-density residential, which could be approved by March.
"I would be very happy if we were pounding nails by next summer," Smith said.
Smith said the housing project would be similar to Shadow Run and Pheasant Run in Kennewick, which also average 3.5 homes per acre. Both are off West 27th Avenue between Ely and Olympia streets.
In other land use matters this week, the council:
-- Granted a request from Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 2707 W. 27th Ave., for a comprehensive plan amendment change on 7.7 acres from low-density to medium-density residential. The property at the southeast corner of Ely Street and West 27th Avenue had been approved for a residential project, but the developer could not go forward and make a profit.
The land went back to the church, which is trying to repackage the project with more homes and a greater potential for profit. The planning commission recommended approval after hearing concerns about traffic and quality of homes from the Shadow Run Home Owners Association board.
Council members Paul Parish and Don Britain voted against greater residential density, but it passed 5-2.
-- Unanimously approved a request for comprehensive land use amendment on various properties totaling 97.3 acres owned by the Port of Kennewick, including Vista Field Airport.
The changes would switch the land use designation from industrial to commercial for one parcel, industrial to public facilities for two parcels and commercial to public facilities for three parcels.