Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hawkins 3-Fer, Part Three

As the Hawkins Stateline Retail Center gets closer to reality and a Revenue Development Area is created on the Washington side of the border, Moscow is not sitting idly by.

Brushing aside Queen Nancy's "Peace Through Sustainability" policy, the new Moscow City Council has now approved the Thompson rezone that was the point of such controversy two years ago when Wal-Mart wanted to build there.

Expect an announcement soon that Wal-Mart or another big-box store will be locating on the 41 acre property.

Instead of socialist meddling, now we have good old fashioned capitalist competition, the way it was meant to be. All we ever wanted was a level playing field

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Council OKs rezone of Thompson property; Land made controversial during 2006 rezone request now available for motor business use

A large chunk of farmland in southeast Moscow is now ready for business after a rezone request was approved by the City Council on Monday.

The Thompson Family Limited Partnership owns the 41.4-acre plot just south of the Troy Highway across from Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery previously zoned for agriculture/forestry uses. The land is now zoned for motor business, meaning it will be available for retail, professional and medical businesses, as well as bars, restaurants and other businesses.

The Thompsons attempted to have a larger parcel of the property 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.

Monday's approval came with two conditions: any future developer must provide a traffic impact study and make any needed traffic improvements or changes to accommodate drivers, and developers must preserve the natural area between the property and nearby Paradise Path.

No businesses are set to build on the property yet, but Susan Wilson, an attorney representing the Thompson family, said it is an attractive piece of land for retail and motor businesses.

"It seemed pertinent to give businesses some incentive to move in," Wilson said of the approval.

She said the plot is adjacent to two major arterials and near many other retail businesses, making it conducive to commercial use.

All but one City Council member voted in favor of the rezoning. Tom Lamar voted against it after expressing concerns about the city spreading its interests in too many places at once. The city's lack of direction could stunt further commercial growth, he said.

"I think we're all interested in seeing growth and development in Moscow," Lamar said. "We need to concentrate on one area."

Lamar also raised questions about public buildings like schools possibly constructing on the Thompson site. The new zoning makes it more difficult for schools to build on the property than businesses, he said.

Lamar said the timing isn't right for the city.

"This may be a great area to build on in the future," he said, adding there already are many scattered motor business zones in town that have remained vacant for years.

Other council members ultimately decided the family can do what it wants with the land. Councilman John Weber said the Thompsons are responsible developers in Moscow.

Wilson agreed, saying the family has contributed to the community over the years.

"The Thompson family is doing this because they truly believe the community needs to have something to offer," she said.

1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

What will I ever do with myself now that free-enterprise is alive and well on the Palouse? Hopefully, I'll be busy in my store and (sorta) happily generating and paying taxes.