Site work has begun on a plan to build 28 townhouses on a 2.47-acre parcel just down the hill from Skyline Hospital.
Crews have been cutting some trees and removing brush from the land, which is at 1174 E. Jewett Blvd. The parcel is zoned R-3, which allows for multi-family housing.
The White Salmon Planning Department is reviewing the subdivision application, which proposes the creation of separate lots for "middle income" townhouse units on a parcel within the city limits.
A small sliver of property was recently annexed into the White Salmon city limits as part of the planned development.
"The annexation has already taken place. It's zoned R-3, and townhouses are allowed outright," said White Salmon Mayor Roger Holen.
The average lot size on the property will be 3,200 square feet.
White Salmon resident James Kacena, a partner with BBK White Salmon I, LLC, said the architects handling the construction part of the project are top-notch.
"It will be a professional project, unlike what White Salmon has seen before," Kacena said. "We have a group of builders from Bend, Ore., who would do the actual building. It'll be a cut above what has been seen around here and in Hood River."
"The proposal is to develop 28 separate townhouse lots by subdividing the land and installing infrastructure, to result in buildable lots, which will be sold to home builders," Kacena wrote in the application to the city of White Salmon. "We do not plan to build the townhouses."
Kacena pointed out that the two-story townhouses being proposed represent a significant reduction in the maximum allowed density in the existing zoning.
"R-3 zoning allows apartments and townhouse units," Kacena explained. "The zoning would allow us to put up a lot more than we're planning. We could put up to six townhouses per cluster, but we're planning two per building."
Kacena said he hopes construction could start by July.
"Depending on demand, we will build over several years," he said. "We'll do several clusters at a time. If they are taken quickly, the builders could accelerate their pace."
In his application, Kacena noted that he plans a similar subdivision on a 1.5-acre parcel directly to the north of the 2.47-acre parcel
The deadline for commenting on the application is March 2.
Comments can be sent to the White Salmon Planning Department, P.O. Box 2139, White Salmon, Wash., 98672.