COLLEGE PLACE, Washington – The city of College Place believes the Walla Walla County Board of Commissioners failed to follow the Growth Management Act by not allowing the city to plan for future commercial development.
On Monday, the board rejected the city’s application for an urban growth area involving two areas south off State Route 125 totaling 139 acres, but approved a small 19-acre section off South College Avenue.
“The purpose of the Growth Management Act is to allow us to plan, not to actually to be able to do that when the time is right,” Mayor Harvey Crowder said. “Since we’re looking at a window that goes out as long as 20 years, that gives us the ability to plan for infrastructure.”
Crowder added that the city thinks the area west of College Place High School will build out over the next 10 years, but that will leave no future urban growth area for commercial development.
He also said he was disappointed with the county commissioners’ decision because the areas they rejected south of State Route 125 are already in the city’s commercial water service area.
“Basically what we’re going to have to do is evaluate how we go forward, how we’re going to plan and how we’re going to spend city resources or plan for the spending of city resources until we have a little firmer grasp on what can be done with future urban growth,” Crowder said.
Crowder said city staff will be meeting to discuss the options.
“We can petition the county to open up the comprehensive plan again at some time in the future,” he said. “We can wait until the next mandatory update of the comprehensive plan whether its eight years or 10 years.”
Crowder said there is a move in the Washington Legislature to take a look at the Growth Management Act and make some changes to it to make it more consistent across the state.