South Richland sees city's most residential construction

The vast majority of residential construction last year in Richland happened in the southern part of the city.

A total of 265 permits for single-family homes were issued in 2012, and 196 of the homes were in south Richland, according to the planning commission.

"Multiple family housing units were distributed between south Richland (96 units) and north Richland (80 units), with no new multi-family housing units constructed in central Richland," according to the planning commission's 2012 annual report, which was given to the city council Tuesday.

The report also notes that "platting activity was exclusively focused in south Richland," with all 230 final platted lots and 44 preliminarily platted lots located there.

Planning Commission Chairwoman Marianne Boring presented the annual report, which touches on development trends as well as progress made in several areas included in the city's strategic plan -- from infrastructure and facilities to economic vitality. She spent about 15 minutes going through it during the council's regular meeting.

The city's parks and recreation commission and the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau also presented their annual reports during the evening session.

The planning commission report highlights numerous accomplishments, from the group's review and approval of a site plan for a new Yoke's Fresh Market to creation of a set of draft hillside development regulations.

It also makes recommendations for topics and matters that should be tackled this year.

It says the largest commercial projects in the city last year were in central Richland, including Kadlec's three-story medical office building on Goethals Drive and an extended-stay Marriott Hotel at Columbia Point.

Overall, commercial construction saw a dip last year, with 49 projects compared to 59 projects in 2011, the report says. In 2012, permits for commercial projects representing $38.4 million were issued, which is below the average of $67.1 million for the past seven years, the report says.

However, residential activity levels were above the seven-year averages, according to the report, with $74.2 million in single-family activity and $20.9 million in multi-family.

Total construction activity was down over 2011, with $133.6 million in construction projects permitted last year compared with $171.7 million in 2011 and $150.5 million in 2010, the report says.

The full report is available as part of the council meeting packet on the city's website, www.ci.richland.wa.us.

Also Tuesday:

w The city council approved issuing an estimated $11.3 million in bonds to pay for public infrastructure improvements in the Revitalization Area for Industry, Science and Education, or RAISE. The area includes part of the Tri-Cities Research District, the Port of Benton Manufacturing Mall and the Horn Rapids industrial park and business center.

The city created the RAISE in 2009 to take advantage of the state local revitalization financing program. The debt service will be covered with state funds, local shares of new tax revenue generated within the RAISE and city dollars.

In the same action, the council also approved issuing an estimated $2.3 million in bonds for design and construction of fiber optics citywide.