Regulating hillside development in Richland

Regulating hillside development in Richland
RICHLAND, Wash. - Richland wants to stop fighting neighbors every time a developer wants to build on the hillsides.

Sophia Atkinson said, "Citizens can rely on certain limitations and some protection as to what goes up on the hillside."

Not just for looks or the changing landscape. The Meadow Hills high rise condo complex raised a lot of questions with neighbors. The project was doomed to fail.

Richland only has rules for developing on the ground. Nothing is in place to support condos on the hillside. This requires more engineering. That research is happening now.

Richland intends to create a maximum height for buildings. No structure would be taller than the hill it's built on. Also in the works, retaining walls and grading restrictions to prevent sliding.

Many would argue the genie is already out of the bottle. Many homes already dot the ridgeline. All the while, Richland was working behind the scenes to establish regulations that will go before citizens.

Community action groups have played a big role on how these regulations have developed but the city says they also want to be fair to developers.

Bill King, director for Richland's community and development services said, "As a matter of fact, some of the things that we're looking at in terms of the correct way to develop on a hillside would incorporate some of the features of this TMT proposal."

TMT hoped to build those condos on the hillside. If it pushes forward with the project, the new rules would apply. Richland hopes this will saving tax payer time and money going forward.
And that's all neighbors have been asking for planned development.

Sophia continues, "We as a community feel really good that we feel like we really are working with the city. You know, I guess we can make a difference."

To get all sides KEPR reached out to the architect for the Meadow Hills Condo complex to comment on how these regulations will affect plans to resubmit the project. We haven't heard back.

Richland plans to open up these regulations for public comment and adopt changes before next summer.