Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Family requests rezone in east Moscow; Thompsons were denied request in 2006; hope to have 38 acres rezoned for motor business"

Whitman County really doesn't need an economic development advocate thanks to Mark Solomon and his fellow Wal-Mart Derangement Syndrome sufferers who see the "Bentonville Bully" behind every bush. I'm sure the No Super WalMart group feels that Wal-Mart is back in play in Moscow after last November's election. They could be right....

From Tuesday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
The Thompson Family LP will ask the Moscow Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday to rezone a large chunk of its property along Mountain View Road from agriculture/forestry to motor business.

Thompson Family attorney Susan Wilson said no businesses "are knocking at the door" to locate on the 38-acre piece of land between the Troy Highway and Palouse River Drive. The family plans to continue farming the land until a suitable development opportunity comes up.

The Thompson Family attempted to have a larger parcel encompassing the land rezoned in 2006. The controversial request stemmed from Wal-Mart's plans to build a super center on the 77-acre parcel and met resistance from the Moscow No Super Wal-Mart group.

The City Council at the time decided to reject the rezone. Then-City Councilmen Bob Stout, Aaron Ament and John Dickinson said the parcel was too large.

Wilson said the smaller size of this request is in response to the council's concerns.

Councilmen John Weber and Bill Lambert, who still are on the council, voted in favor of the 2006 rezone request.

No Super Wal-Mart member Mark Solomon said community members are not pleased with the new rezone request.

"I know there are people who are as concerned now as before as to whether or not that's an appropriate site for motor business," he said.

He said any motor business development on that side of town will affect traffic flows and downtown Moscow businesses, and also could block the expansion of adjacent Alturas Research and Technology Park.

The Thompson Family wrote in its new application for rezone that the motor business designation would fit with the city's comprehensive plan. The plan designates the area for "extensive commercial" uses.

The application also states that the rezone would meet the plan's goal of economic development. Wilson said the family wants to open up a motor business area to compete with the proposed 714,000-square-foot Hawkins Companies development, just across the state line in Whitman County.

She said Moscow needs an area to attract large businesses from within and entice businesses to come to Moscow "rather than just having Hawkins take the commercial development away from the state of Idaho and Moscow."

The Thompson Family's application packet includes the minutes of a meeting with the property's neighbors. Sue and Ken Chamberlin and Karen and David Douglas were "very supportive" of the rezone, according to the minutes.

The neighbors asked whether any businesses were lined up to use the property and said they would rather see commercial development than multi-family housing. The Chamberlins and Douglases did not return calls seeking further comment.

No comments: