Sunnyside to revisit UGA boundaries


Planning Supervisor Jamey Ayling points out proposed portions to be added and removed from the city of Sunnyside's UGA during last night's Sunnyside Planning Commission meeting.

A proposal to shuffle acreage in and out of Sunnyside's Urban Growth Area (UGA) is headed back to the drawing board. Urban growth areas are lands just outside of city limits designated for future growth and expansion. During the Sunnyside Planning Commission meeting last night, Tuesday, Jed Crowther of the Port of Sunnyside asked the city to not take acreage out of the UGA that is west of Midvale Road and fronted by Emerald Road. Crowther said the land is being marketed for development and the port has installed a large industrial sewer line to service future industrial growth. "Removal from the city UGA may unfairly diminish property value," Crowther noted in prepared comments submitted to the planning commission. The land along Emerald Road in question last night was among 348 acres the city was looking to remove from the UGA's southern boundary. Sunnyside was also proposing to add 342 acres to the UGA's northern boundary to meet demand for school expansion in that area. Sunnyside Planning Supervisor Jamey Ayling said the swap proposed adding areas outside the city limits where utilities were more suitable for future development and removing other areas lacking utility access. The industrial sewer line installed by the port on Emerald Road did not show up on the city's map of utility connections because it was not a city of Sunnyside installation. The Sunnyside Planning Commission held an informal public forum last month to gain comments on the UGA land swap. With no comments - or attendance - by the public, the commission recommended approval and to forward the proposal to the county's Urban Growth Boundary Board for review. Crowther took exception to that process. "The port was not notified, as port-owned properties were not within the proposed change, but do adjoin within 300 feet," he said in a prepared statement presented to the planning commission. Since Sunnyside held a forum and not a formal public hearing, the city only had to notify property owners in the impacted areas, not neighboring land owners. Ayling said a forum was held instead because so few people attend hearings it was hoped that a more informal setting might draw more public participation. Also he said the city council generally holds hearings before taking final action on land-use issues, anyway. The idea, then, was to hold a forum and avoid two hearings on the same matter. But following the port's testimony last night, the commission will hold a formal hearing. Chair DeAnn Hochhalter suggested an August timeline for the hearing to give Ayling and the port preparation time. Ayling and the commission will also pull back the proposal recommended last month as it has not yet been reviewed by Yakima County. In response to a question by Commissioner Jeff Barrom, Ayling agreed to make sure the Port of Sunnyside is kept in the loop on the dates and agendas of future Sunnyside Planning Commission meetings. The commission next meets on Tuesday, July 9, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sunnyside Law and Justice Center.


Comments are subject to moderator review and may not appear immediately on the site.

Please read our commenting policy before posting.

Any comment violating the site's commenting guidelines will be removed and the user could be banned from the site.

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment