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Issues Before County Planning

Land use roundup

Funeral home owners

seeking zone change

The owners of Gardner's Funeral Home are seeking a zone change from Klickitat County for their property that sits above Loop Road and outside the White Salmon city limits.

The zone change -- from Suburban Residential to General Commercial -- would apply to approximately three acres of land on which the funeral home, a crematorium and accessory buildings currently are located. The property is bordered on two sides by General Commercial zoning, according to the owners.

According to the zone change application filed by the applicants, the funeral home is a full-time business that has been in operation since 1930 and was grandfathered into the Suburban Residential zone when the county adopted its zoning code in 1979. A change from Suburban Residential to General Commercial would "properly recognize" the property for what it has been for decades, the application stated.

Today, the funeral home could not be built in a Suburban Residential zone. The zoning district restricts commercial activity to a list of conditional uses that includes cemeteries but not funeral homes. Mortuaries are a principal permitted use under General Commercial zoning, which provides great flexibility for commercial development.

"We would like the zoning change to better reflect the nature of the property's purpose," the applicants wrote.

They noted that an outdoor area next to their facility has been renovated and "we have been approached by people interested in using it for events other than funerals."

The Suburban Residential zone does not allow for the kind of commercial activity the property owners want to engage in.

"Arterials, surounding use of land, topography, etc., would not be affected by this zone change," the applicants wrote, "however, the change would allow the business to provide a wider range of services to the public."

The Klickitat County Planning Department gave the project a mitigated determination of non-significance during its required environmental review of the proposal.

Public comments on or appeals of the county's determination can be submitted to the Planning Department until 5 p.m. tomorrow, Oct. 19.

A County Planning Commission public hearing on the zone change will occur at some point but it won't be scheduled until the environmental review process has run its course.

Rezone would clean up

dual zone designation

Columbia Gorge Secure Storage, LLC, has applied to Klickitat County for a rezone of approximately one acre in the Dallesport area, from a dual General Commercial-Suburban Residental 1-acre designation, to General Commercial.

The County Planning Department issued a mitigated determination of non-significance for the proposal on Sept. 24. Public comments or appeals must be submitted to the Planning Department by 5 p.m. tomorrow, Oct. 19.

According to the zone change application, the previous and existing use of the property -- located on "a high traffic corner" of 3rd Street and Dallesport Road -- is commercial.

"As the new owners, we would like to improve the property and with the odd configuration of the current zoning, it is difficult to come up with a plan for this parcel," manager Nan Wimmers wrote. "The current dual zone with GC on the back (east) portion of this parcel and SR-1 on the front (west), if left, would create a large single-family lot one one of the busiest, most visible corner lots in Dallesport, and it would be surrounded by commercial uses, whereas if we rezone the parcel to GC, the surrounding uses would all be similar and conforming."

A public hearing on the rezone request will be scheduled before the County Planning Commission once the county has completed the environmental review process.

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