I have lived near the proposed Bachtold property development for the past 30 years. The following are my thoughts and questions about the development:
First off, these houses are being said to be affordable housing options, but thus far Hayden homes are for upper middle class families. Property on the edge of Walla Walla is usually sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars and does not have access to services that many families may need. There are no close grocery stores and no bus routes that go into town.
The new housing built along Cottonwood Road has added significant traffic along Cottonwood, Plaza Way and Third Avenue. Our system of four-way stops at intersections does a pretty good job right now; you only have to wait during school pick up and drop off. But 300 additional families with 1-3 cars would change that and cause major backups. The added traffic would also make it more dangerous for those of us who enjoy walking and biking in an area that has no sidewalks or bike lanes.
There has been talk about flood control for the new development. Flood control does not work without the county cleaning ditches and overflow ponds of silt. I’ve seen the drainage pipe under Kendall Road completely backed up and shooting water like a fire hose, 20 to 30 feet in the air, west into the Bachtold property. There was so much water that my daughter and her friends canoed through the proposed development site from Kendall Road into the lower part of the Table Rock development.
As these properties are being zoned in the city, will the city or the county be held responsible to spend maintenance money on removing the silt to protect the properties from flooding? With all the chemicals used in farming, has anyone tested the silt that gathers to see if it’s toxic? Will the promised 13 acres of open space be mostly flood control ponds?
Will the flood control ponds end up as mosquito breeding grounds?
This development will change the lives of everyone who lives on the south side of Walla Walla. I hope the city does its due diligence to create a plan that answers our questions and addresses infrastructure and environmental concerns.