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Hearing examiner to sort out dispute on proposed RV Park

A hearing was held at the Sunnyside Law and Justice center yesterday (Wednesday) regarding the proposed RV Park at 1200 Midvale Road.

Hearing examiner Patrick Spurgin was authorized by the city of Sunnyside to hear an appeal by the Port of Sunnyside and other landowners near the proposed RV Park.

The Port's appeal was related to the State Environmental Policy Act review of the proposal, but the city gave the hearing examiner authority to the full extent of the law over the annexation of the land and the conditional use permit that would allow the RV Park to be built.

Spurgin listened to arguments from both sides of the issue and comments from members of the public. Spurgin will make a decision or recommendation on the issue within 15 days.

The dispute arose when the city planning commission approved annexation into the city of a parcel of land consisting of 3.5 acres in February of 2010. The owners of the parcel subdivided the land and requested a conditional use permit to build an RV Park on less than two acres of the property. The landowners of surrounding properties, including the Port of Sunnyside, objected to the proposed use of the land as an RV Park.

The lawyer for the City of Sunnyside, Ken Harper, and Sunnyside Planning Supervisor Jamey Ayling provided a timeline of the events leading up to the ecological review and presented their case that the proper procedures were followed.

Attorney James Carmody, representing the Port of Sunnyside and several other landowners in the area, disputed the characterization of the zoning in the area to be light industrial, argued that the petition method used for annexation was invalid, and presented the case that the proposal did not meet any of the requirements of Sunnyside's Municipal Code. Carmody also argued that because no environmental review was conducted in the early stages of the proposal process as required by law, all the steps in the process were void.

Spurgin then heard comments from the public, including Rick Van de Graaf, Martina Castle-Charvet and Martin Beeler. Van de Graaf argued that the location was unsuitable for an RV park due to noise and heavy traffic on the highway. Beeler testified that RV users are picky, and just the smell from the nearby feedlot would drive them away and give a bad reputation to Sunnyside, hurting his business in the process.

Speaking on behalf of MBM development, LLC, Bill Horton responded to both Carmody and the public comments, claiming that the petition method of annexation was carried out correctly because the land was partitioned later, that the zoning west of Midvale Road is different than zoning east and therefore light industrial was proper and that the Sunnyside Municipal Code that Carmody referred to was not applicable to the proposal.

Spurgin allowed a few more public comments, then stated he would render either a decision or a recommendation to the Sunnyside City Council in 15 days.

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