The Kennewick City Council will review six comprehensive plan amendments Tuesday, the most controversial being a proposal to allow commercial use for 20 acres on the upper part of Thompson Hill.
The city planning commission is recommending denying developer Jose Chavallo's request to change the property use from open space and low density residential to commercial.
The city denied Chavallo's request in 2009 and deferred action on it last year.
Chavallo wants to put a boutique-like hotel on the now-vacant property, which is above the Panoramic Heights subdivision. Some of the 20 acres has slopes up to 40 percent.
The planning commission was unanimous at its Oct. 3 meeting opposing the change, saying it was too close to an established residential area.
Ten people, most of them Panoramic Heights residents, testified to the planning commission against Chavallo's proposal.
Joel Comfort of Kennewick, an attorney for the Panoramic Heights Homeowners' Association, said compatibility of the proposed use with existing low-density residential uses should be considered. He praised the planning staff for being "spot on" in a report opposing the change.
There were five people who spoke in favor of the change, saying it would bring new jobs and enhance the community with increased property values.
Paul Christensen of Oasis Development in Pasco, a civil engineer representing Chavallo, said the staff report appeared too one-sided against changing the use to commercial.
Lawrence Costich, an attorney from Seattle representing Chavallo, argued that city codes will allow the city to mitigate the neighbors' concerns about environmental, noise and lighting issues.
Chavallo claimed the city hasn't treated him fairly.
Tuesday's hearing will have background information and an overview about the issues, with public comments allowed. No decision will be made at the workshop session.
The other five comprehensive plan amendments are:
-- Changing 21.5 acres west of Southridge Boulevard and south of 36th Avenue and Ridgeline Drive from commercial to medium density.
-- Changing 60 acres north of West Clearwater Avenue and south of the railroad tracks and west of Clodfelter Road from industrial to commercial.
-- Changing just less than 3 acres at the corner of West Hildebrand Boulevard and Highway 395 from open space to commercial use.
-- Clarifying the boundary of the Southridge Subarea, and aligning land use designations to parcel lines, then assigning zoning to be consistent.
-- Update the comprehensive plan document to incorporate 2010 U.S. census data and a new goal and policy for the industrial element of the plan.