West Richland Citizens Protest Against Possible Rezoning Project - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

West Richland Citizens Protest Against Potential Rezoning Project

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UPDATE: The West Richland City Council has unanimously passed the proposed change of zoning on a lot on Austin Drive, from residential to commercial.


WEST RICHLAND, Wash. - A group of neighbors from Austin Drive in West Richland are angered by a proposal to re-zone a lot of land on their street from residential to commercial, and the potential business activity it would bring.

They call themselves the West Richland Citizens for Smart Growth.

"Basically what we don't want is the erosion of our rural lifestyle here in West Richland. We moved here because we didn't want to be next to a Burger King or a Starbucks or a Walmart," said Daniel Richey, a member of Citizens for Smart Growth.

"Primarily our concern is the fact that they're going off of the commercial growth patterns," said another Smart Growth member, Jon Swanson.

The lot of land across from Flat Top Park is owned by the Grigg family who own several Ace Hardware Stores in the Tri-Cities.

While a house currently sits on the lot, if the city council votes for it to be re-zoned from residential to commercial, a new hardware store could be going up in the future.

"When you have a comprehensive plan and in the comprehensive plan it says low density residential and the planning commission upholds that and the council turns it over against citizens wishes, especially when there's other commercial property better suited, what's the point?" said Merle Johnson, a candidate for West Richland mayor.

While the group of citizens wants to stop this  particular rezoning, they say they still want businesses to grow in West Richland, just not next door.