I have never written a letter to the editor before. Unfortunately, there was a letter to the editor by Richard Counsell published Wednesday that contains totally inaccurate information.
Mr. Counsell argues that the Walla Walla City Council by secret agenda approved amendments to the Walla Walla County Municipal Code that changed the zoning rules. He is implying that these were secretly done to aid the Hayden Home project. He could not be more incorrect.
The City Comprehensive Plan has been subject to multiple changes over the last 20 years. The urban growth areas have been subject to review. The area south of Prospect Point and the high school has been considered in these hearings because of the Triple Creek Development and Table Rock Phase I and Phase II (which are part of the same parcel subject to the Hayden Homes proposed development.)
The city of Walla Walla started a complete City Comprehensive Plan update in April 2017 as mandated by state law. There were multiple public notices in the newspaper, and on the city website.
Over a period of two years, there were many workshops and public hearings concerning all of the issues in the City Comprehensive Plan, including population growth projections, areas where the city should plan for urban growth, proposals to increase the urban growth area and to decrease it, and issues concerning infrastructure and traffic.
One of the major issues in this two-year process was consideration of changes to the standard zoning classifications to include more flexible development.
Many citizens attended the meetings and provided testimony. The Bachtold property and all areas south of town were specifically discussed. The City Council approval of the ordinance in December 2018 was simply the culmination of more than two years of meetings. Every person in the city and county had a chance to speak up about all of these planning issues and the future growth of Walla Walla.
For Mr. Counsell to imply that the ordinance was intentionally vague or hidden is totally incorrect.
I would challenge anyone to look back at the history of the City Comprehensive Plan and all of the opportunities that have been available at workshops and public hearings to voice an opinion. All of these zoning issues have been subject to a bright light and public scrutiny for many, many years.
James K. Hayner