Ellensburg City Council considers repeal or moratorium on regional retail ordinance - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ellensburg City Council considers repeal or moratorium on regional retail ordinance

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Ellensburg, WA -  The battle over regional retail is heating up again in Ellensburg.

This comes after the city council passed an ordinance allowing it in November.           

But a new city council has now been voted in. 

And several new members have replaced some people on the council who were pushing the ordinance through.

Now the new members are want to repeal, or - at the very least - put a moratorium on the regional retail ordinance until it can be amended.

The city council says this latest debate won't impact plans that are already in the works.      Triple L is moving forward with its development at the west interchange.     

But three new council members won election in November and they replaced three who had voted for the original ordinance.     

They say the site plan size is too large - a 40-acre minimum.   They also don't like legal protections in place for developers and where it's regional retail is allowed in the Ellensburg area.      

"This new place, it's a tipping point," says George Bottcher, a city council member who favors a repeal or moratorium, "Once it gets tipped in that direction, everything goes in that direction.   And then what do you get with your downtown?  What happens?  What's the cost?  Who is going to pay for it?"

"Yeah, there is a polarization," says Obie O'Brien, who, as mayor, helped to push through the ordinance, "But a majority of people - we did a major survey - they said they don't care where the shopping is located, they just want it here."     

O'Brien adds that Ellensburg can't support anymore than one regional retail center, so he believes it's unlikely that they will get more applications.  But others in the city council have expressed concern that a developer may try to sneak in an application to secure the freedom enjoyed by this ordinance.     

The city council will likely decide this issue at its the next council meeting.

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