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Proposed RV park hits snag

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City Planner and Community Development Supervisor Jamey Ayling discusses steps taken to annex property owned by MBM, LLC at last night's Sunnyside City Council meeting.

After hearing from concerned citizens and Sunnyside's city planner and community development supervisor, Jamey Ayling, the Sunnyside City Council allowed a motion to annex property owned by MBM, LLC to fail.

The council members were perplexed to learn there were questions regarding the process for developing the property. Permits were issued to the property owner prior to the annexation, including conditional use permits for developing the property.

A closed record hearing on the matter was held last night, but the public spoke to council members about their stance on the matter during the unscheduled appearances segment of the agenda.

Attorney James Carmody spoke on behalf of the Port of Sunnyside. He said the closed record hearing was not in accordance with city ordinances.

It was later established the council can hold either an open or a closed record hearing after an open record hearing concerning an annexation request has been held by the city's planning commission. That occurred on Feb. 9, 2010.

However, the record shows discussions on Feb. 9 centered around the effects that development of the property would have on neighboring properties.

Martina Castle, at the open record hearing last year, asked if she would still be allowed to farm on her property.

Ayling, at that meeting, assured her she would. He said a conditional use permit would be needed for MBM property owners to operate an RV park, but a trailer park would not be allowable under the zoning codes along Midvale Road.

Last night, he said the discussion was coincidental because he did not know last February the intent of the property owners was to establish an RV park.

Carmody asked the council to deny the annexation because the conditional use permit for an RV park was approved by city staff without proper procedure.

Pete Sartin, another property owner on Midvale Road, addressed the city council stating he did not feel he was properly notified regarding the use of the MBM property.

He said the size of the lots for RVs are also small and the use of the land is not in compliance with city codes.

On behalf of MBM, LLC, Bill Horton spoke to the council, stating he feels the annexation decision has been dragged out.

"The property could have been annexed as early as June 2010," he said.

The Washington State Boundary Review Board's 45-day review process expired June 28, 2010, and the annexation has been on the council agenda several times since, according to Horton. However, the issue was moved from the agenda to accommodate other city matters.

Horton said the neighboring property owners were provided sufficient notification and no objections were raised. He felt the objections voiced last night were out of order.

Ayling told the council he did issue permits after the boundary review board allowed the 45-day time period to expire.

He acknowledged the law states the city cannot take jurisdiction of the property until an annexation is approved, unless a written letter to Yakima County is submitted and approved.

However, Ayling followed "past practices." He admitted to council he learned those practices were not correct procedure in recent months.

Because of the permits issued, the property has been divided into three parcels and RV hook-ups have been installed.

Councilwoman Theresa Hancock and several others were not pleased.

Hancock asked for the annexation to be placed on hold because of questions raised regarding the permits issued and whether or not proper procedures for issuing conditional use permits were followed.

Councilman Don Vlieger agreed, stating he is concerned regarding the use of the property. He said the council recently asked staff to review and revise some of the zoning codes, including M-1. That revision could affect the use of the MBM property.

Deputy Mayor Nick Paulakis, too, voiced his concerns. He felt the RV spaces are small and he would like a review of the property.

He said he also has concerns that development of the property has proceeded without council approval.

Hancock spoke again, stating, "I need to know what the procedure is before I'm comfortable with the annexation...for me, the whole process has had issues from start to finish."

Following comments from the council members, the motion to approve the annexation died.

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