West Richland approves massive housing development on 148 acres

By Andrew Kirk

A proposed housing development could increase West Richland’s population by about 15 percent.

The Heights at Red Mountain Ranch will add 563 single-family residential lots on 148 acres with the option of later adding 226 multi-family homes on 36 more acres.

The first phase of the 10-phase project—expected to begin this fall—includes 105 homes.

The average residential lot size will be 7,702 square feet.

Larger lots to the north and south of the homes also are planned and will eventually be built for future businesses to serve the neighborhood.

Councilwoman Gail Brown said the development is planned as a 10-year project, if developers stick to their schedule. The 563 homes, which include five duplexes, could be built faster if the first phase lots sell quickly, said John Cooney, director of marketing for Aho Construction. He estimates 1,600 residents could move in over the next decade.

“The development on the ranch will be huge. It is the largest preliminary plot the city has ever approved. We are really growing out here,” Brown said in an email.

At full build-out, an estimated 2,249 people will live there.

Developer Frank Tiegs LLC and Aho Construction hope to break ground on the first 105 homes and extend Keene Road this fall.

“Aho Construction is proud to have been a part of the growth in the Tri-Cities over the last three decades. Having built thousands of homes in Pasco, Aho Construction is excited about its next chapter and opportunity in providing attainable housing in West Richland,” Cooney said. 

Aho Construction has homes for sale in developments in Sunnyside, Quincy, Moses Lake, Moxee and Cheney.

Its most recent local project was phase 9 of the Linda Loviisa development just east of Capital Park and Gesa Stadium in Pasco.

The West Richland land belongs to Frank Tiegs LLC, a real estate-focused subsidiary of Washington Potato Co. based in Pasco.

The property is currently farmland on the western border of the south half of West Richland. Ruppert Road will be to the north. Double Canyon Winery and Pacific Rim Winemakers will be to the south. Keene Road will bisect the new neighborhood when it’s extended to terminate at Ruppert.

The city is requiring the developers to extend Keene Road and another developer will extend Paradise Way to accommodate both projects.

Long-term plans for the area also include a light industrial park to the southwest and a fire station. The area is served by Benton Fire District 4.

The Heights at Red Mountain Ranch will include nearly 15 acres of open space accessible to the public and mostly managed by a homeowners’ association. That includes a seven-acre park to be maintained by the city with a playground, playfield large enough to accommodate a U-14 soccer game, bathrooms, basketball court, picnic shelter and benches.

The park will be looped by a paved trail and other trails will intersect some of the remaining 7.5 acres of open space. Names for the park and streets will be decided later.

“Additional details are expected to be announced in the coming weeks and months, such as final pricing, HOA fees, exact timing and exact floor plans to be offered,” Cooney said.

Updates will be posted online at ahoconstruction.com.

“With direct development involvement in the upcoming master plan community, Red Mountain Ranch, Aho Construction will be offering great homes at sensible prices,” he said.

A new irrigation district will be created to serve the community based on water rights already associated with the property, Cooney said.

The project received approval from the city council and planning department in August.

Brown said she asked questions about the strain the neighborhood might have on the available water supply and sewer service but was assured by city staff that resources were adequate.

Several required environmental studies concluded there would be no significant impact to the environment, as it is not critical or sensitive habitat. The existing farmland sits atop densely-packed sand with no threat of flooding or erosion, according to city documents.

Keene Road and Van Giesen Street will serve as the development’s main thoroughfares.

Paradise Way eventually will connect to Van Giesen, providing access to the businesses on Bombing Range Road.

As Keene is extended and Ruppert Road upgraded, sidewalks will be added for walkability and safe pathways to the area’s schools, according to city documents.

The Richland School District does not anticipate needing new schools to accommodate the new neighborhood, said Ty Beaver, district spokesman.

Nearby Tapteal Elementary is currently being renovated. When that project is completed, Badger Mountain Elementary will be renovated, and when that is finished, the new school on Belmont Boulevard—which is housing students who attend displaced schools during their renovations—will become a school with its own boundaries.

The school district’s 2017 bond also will pay for the district’s 12th elementary school to serve the Badger Mountain South neighborhood. That means in the coming years the two closest schools will be updated and two new ones added. Furthermore, land for a third high school has already been bought in West Richland, Beaver said.

“That being said, we do always need to monitor for growth,” he said.

As Red Mountain Ranch nears its final phases, the district will reassess needs, he said.

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