Franklin County commissioners put off a vote Wednesday on allowing Pasco to expand its urban growth area because of concerns of potential development being close to air traffic.
The 75-acre property is located northeast of the intersection of Powerline Road and Road 58.
The county planning commission removed five acres from the request because it went into a zone where new housing is restricted because it is in the flight path of one of Tri-Cities Airport’s runways.
But the remainder of the property might also be too close to air traffic, particularly looking into the future, commission Chairman Brad Peck said.
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The 20-year projections the airport is looking at for growth might not go out far enough, Peck said, pointing to military bases and other airports that have been closed or had their growth restricted because of complaints from neighboring areas.
The concern is greater because runway 12/30 is the only one at Pasco that still has realistic opportunity for expansion because too much development is around the other runways, Peck said.
“We’ve got to take the long view on things like this,” Peck said. “I’m not sure that 20 years is long enough for a major regional airport that’s on the grow.”
The airport is already planning a 1,700-foot runway extension, airport director Ron Foraker said.
Tom Kidwell, whose children own the property Pasco wants in its urban growth area, told commissioners that half the land in the area is useless because of the airport restrictions.
“The airport did away with half our property being usable, which is not in our best interest,” he said. “But this does make it better.”
Commissioner Rick Miller expressed support for opening the land up for development of a subdivision, but they ultimately followed Commissioner Bob Koch’s suggestion to move a vote on the boundary change request back a week.
“I see every day — homes built, it’s going to approach up to the boundary very soon,” Miller said. “But I don’t want to hold anyone back from selling land to the public for homes.”
Also Wednesday, commissioners pushed back a vote on approving a draft agreement of the Multi-Agency Three Rivers Information and Communications Services. The regional 911 dispatch service has been approved by Pasco, but Peck said that while it is a pretty good agreement overall, it needs language to make sure Franklin County’s interests aren’t threatened.
“I’m less inclined to do anything on the agreement in good faith,” he said. “I want it in writing.”