A big item on the agenda of last night’s Wenatchee city council meeting was zoning changes to the newly annexed old station area.
Mayor Frank Kuntz says the city will continue to work with the port, who owns the land, to come to a long term agreement. For now, the area will remain unchanged.
“We go through a process once every six years or so to update zoning in different areas,” Kuntz said. “Most of the meeting was spent on the Old Station area. The area had been in the county and then the city annexed it in the last year or so and then as we started looking at land uses out there, we had recommended a north Wenatchee business district which is kind of more business oriented.”
The port was interested in keeping the area as industrial zoning for other industrial uses.
“The port and the city got together and decided to leave the zoning where it is which is an industrial zone,” Kuntz said. “We’re going to work with them, they’ve got some covenants attached to some properties that in our opinion preventing development.”
When annexation took place, Kuntz said after talking to property owners many wanted to see more development in the area of Old Station.
“It’s a mix of development, the retail area is struggling a little bit and there is a bunch of vacant property and it’s beautiful property,” Kuntz said. “The property owners out there asked me specifically to get involved and get things going. We’ve pushed a little bit and we got a little push back and we’re trying to work our way through that, which we’ve accomplished today.”
Kuntz said with an affordable housing need in the Valley, it’s worth considering Old Station as a solution.
“This is the part I disagree on is we have a huge housing need, they want to put in warehouses and I want to put in houses,” Kuntz said. “I think there should be a housing element in Old Station, specifically the Huron block, that is one that I think the PUD has their eyes on for perhaps relocation of their offices. We’re working through that there is just currently a disagreement on philosophy.”
The city council adopted the zoning the way the Port and PUD asked, with the industrial zone remaining and with hopes to find room for residential zoning in the future.