Othello approves Sand Hill development agreement

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OTHELLO — The Othello City Council approved an agreement with the developer of Sand Hill Estates to share the costs of improving Olympia Street and install irrigation water lines to the development.

The agreement, which also includes improvements to the storm water system along Olympia Street, is expected to cost the city around $286,000 — a portion of which will be repaid by development residents when the city’s irrigation water utility is created.

“Olympia Street is really a half street,” Othello City Administrator Wade Farris told the Columbia Basin Herald. “It was allowed to be built like that.”

The city will refurbish the existing portion of Olympia Street from Seventh to 14th. The street has delineated the northern limit of residential development in the city, but the 248-unit Sand Hill development will extend northward from Olympic Street.

Developer Angel Garza, who is also a member of the city council, will pay to build the other half of the seven-block stretch of Olympic Street.

Garza recused himself from discussions on the proposal, and did not vote on the measure.

The city is creating an irrigation water system that will replace the water used on lawns and gardens — which is currently the same water residents drink. Farris said eventually Othello wants to use reclaimed water in the irrigation system.

The city council also approved a modification to an agreement with the Sunnyside Police Department to house misdemeanor offenders in the Sunnyside jail.

According to Othello Police Chief Phil Schenck, Sunnyside increased its day-rate for inmates to $45 from $42, and that necessitated council approval.

“We don’t have a jail of our own,” Schenck said. “We use Adams County first, but if it’s more than a couple of days, then we transfer them.”

By comparison, Schenck told the city council the Adams County sheriff charges around $75 per day to house prisoners.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at countygvt@columbiabasinherald.com.

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