Padelford takes City of Sunnyside to court

Don Padelford is taking the city of Sunnyside to court to seek a judicial review regarding zoning for his 123 acres near the Sunnyside airport. Padelford, who with wife Colleen filed the suit last week, seeks to build homes on the property.

The city annexed Padelford's property into the city limits last year, but has yet to provide a decision on zoning the land.

"We applied for residential (zoning) because that's what the comprehensive plan says," Padelford said.

He claims he's had to turn away business prospects because of the city's inactivity.

"We had a guy that wanted it (the land) for a hangar and business park and we couldn't talk to him."

During a January public hearing on Padelford's zoning request, council turned away a hearing examiner's recommendation for residential zoning, claiming the comprehensive plan it was based on was flawed and did not reflect council's wishes.

During that same hearing, council received comment from some opposing Padelford's plans, noting it would stymie airport expansion.

Since then council has held off on a zoning decision and asked the planning commission to come up with a zoning plan specifically for the airport.

"Our position is we need the opportunity to develop a comprehensive airport plan," said Sunnyside Interim City Manager Mark Kunkler, who added that the plan is a mandate under the state's growth management act.

No dollar figures have yet been attached to Padelford's lawsuit. He says one will be forthcoming, though.

"It will depend on how long the city holds off on a decision," he said, noting the longer it takes the more he will seek in court.


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