Six-acre city surplus property in blue could be for sale on the open market or not. The city declared the yellow property surplus and sold it on December 18, 2018, without taking public bids.

Six-acre surplus property at 24 Lawless Drive

Richland seems to have a never-ending supply of surplus property and people behind the scenes that want to buy it.

“Tonight’s discussion is to evaluate a proposed designation for the six-acre property at 24 Lawless Drive prior to initiating comprehensive plan and zoning processes,” according to the agenda packet.

Who wants it and for what may determine the zoning.

When the council agreed to surplus and sell 3.83 acres north of 24 Lawless without public bid to Bush Living Trust (Tim Bush) at the December 18, 2018, meeting, the following information was included on page 198 of the packet:

“The buyer also intends to work with the Washington State Department of Transportation and the City to acquire unneeded state and city right-of-way adjacent and south of the 3.83 acres of property subject to this purchase and sale agreement.”

What agreement, if any, does the city have with Bush regarding this six-acre parcel?

Richland needs the tribes’ cooperation to obtain shoreline property for development.

Richland City Council wants to obtain and develop federally owned shoreline property controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to their draft memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

The city has asked for two pieces of property, one near Hwy. 240 that would give the city better access to property it owns at Columbia Point South and another parcel near the Reach Museum.

The word “development” appears 18 times in the seven-page MOA draft document. “Community development,” “land development,” “economic development,” how many ways can you say it?

The current memorandum of understanding with the tribes, a hand-shake type of agreement, and the draft of the legally binding MOA are both included in the workshop packet.

During a February meeting with the council, David Reeploeg, vice president for federal programs at the Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC), tried to downplay the development aspect of the effort to obtain federally owned shoreline.

“I think sometimes we hear from the public that boy, it would be nice if we had just a little bit nicer parks, a little bit easier access to the river, some more amenities that are just really hard to have if the shoreline is in federal ownership,” Reeploeg explained to the council.

Local jurisdictions including Richland have been trying for years to have the federal government turn over property it controls to them. The Corps bought the shoreline property in the early 1950s, before Richland was incorporated in 1958, to accommodate the pool and potential flooding created by the McNary Dam.

Nothing will happen without the agreement of the tribes, which have had treaty rights since the mid-1800s, and Richland is working overtime trying to obtain it. The last attempt failed in 2018 when the tribes weren’t on board.

Richland police station

For several years, Richland City Council has discussed building a new police station. Various expansions of the current station have been considered as well as building a new facility on the old city hall site.

According to the information in the packet, “Tonight’s discussion is intended to focus on the financial aspect of the potential project.”

Traffic impact fees

The Richland city staff will recommend increases in traffic impact fees for new development that could increase the price of new houses.