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Sunnyside extends airport moratorium

A 60-day moratorium on zoning or change of zoning for properties near the Sunnyside Airport has been extended for another two months.

That was the action taken last night, Monday, by the Sunnyside City Council during a special meeting.

City Attorney Mark Kunkler said this second extension of the moratorium is necessary to allow the planning commission additional time to wrap up work on an airport layout plan that will address land uses in areas extending as far as one-mile outside of the airport.

The 60-day extension takes effect June 6, and means the moratorium will have been in effect for nearly one year. It is the second extension of the moratorium, essentially extending an extension approved in March.

The moratorium, originally intended for just 90 days, was first approved Sept. 8, 2008, to get the airport layout plan process started. Sunnyside needs to have the plan in place so it can receive federal money for airport improvements.

However, since passage of the moratorium, landowners looking to re-zone their properties have been put on hold.

Kunkler said the second extension approved last night will give the city time to present the plan to state transportation officials, as well as to Yakima County, since some of the land impacted by the layout plan lies within the city's urban growth area.

As for the additional 60 days, Kunkler noted, "Sixty days is doable, hopefully we can come in before that."

Whether or not it's doable, the additional 60 days will apparently have to do.

Mayor pro tem Jim Restucci said this is the last airport moratorium he will approve.

"Although I support the moratorium, I would counsel staff that I won't support another one," he said prior to the moratorium's approval.

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