City Council, planning

The City Council and Planning Commission signs at Civic Center Auditorium.

The Hanford City Council initiated proceedings to annex property on the northwest side of the intersection of Fargo and 12th and prepare it for residential development.

The property is 153 acres and is largely used as agricultural land at this time, as well as seven single-family houses. The annexation and redistricting, which will have low, medium and high density residential, went through the planning commission earlier in the year and was not recommended.

Hanford Senior Planner Gabrielle Myers said for the annexation to move forward the Council would need to certify that negative impacts of development would be mitigated and that it fits into the city’s general plan.

The annexation did not have unanimous support from the residents because it originally excluded three parcels, which would have created a county island. The residents in the originally designated area did consent, but those on the added area have not.

“This project clearly meets the current general plan, current zoning ordinance and all other city ordinances,” said John Zumwalt, civil engineer with a local engineering firm and representative for the annexation applicant. “This is a logical implementation of the City’s general plan with growth projections.”

Community Development received three letters of opposition to the project, two of which were from the same resident. The letters voiced concerns about undeveloped land in the city, whether the annexation followed the general plan and how the annexation was being run.

Council member Amanda Saltray read a letter she received into the record, stating that the resident didn’t feel the city could maintain the land and houses which already exist, and voiced concern about water availability.

Resident Bob Ramos said he opposed the annexation over concerns of water availability if a residential development were to be put on the land.

Saltray asked multiple times about where water for a residential development would come from and whether more wells would be drilled to accommodate. Zumwalt and Public Works Director John Doyle said urban use areas actually use less water than agricultural land, although urban land does not create a product.

Doyle said the City has worked to prepare for a growing demand for water. If a development were to be proposed and built on the land, it would first have to go through rigorous processes to ensure there would be adequate water, Doyle said.

“It meets all the criteria, so I will support it,” said Mayor Francisco Ramirez. “But also ... I feel that in the next five years, if you don’t get adequate water you’re going to be in a (development) moratorium and then whatever you decide to do, it’s going to be hard.”

Myers said during her presentation that approval of the annexation process should not be based on positive or negative impacts of possible development, but that those factors could be considered later in approving or denying proposals.

Council made four motions to move the process forward, all of which were between four members, as Vice Mayor Diane Sharp was absent.

Council passed motions to certify the mitigated negative declaration, introduce and waive the reading of the ordinance and find the annexation met general plan policies with a vote of 4-0. The approval of initiating the process of annexation passed 3-1, with Saltray voting no.

Other business

Council approved the $700,000 replacement of emergency radio systems for the police, fire and public works departments, and directed Police Chief Parker Sever to accept a $59,000 grant to fight underage sale and consumption of alcohol.

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