Pullman Mayor Casts Deciding Vote Approving Rezone For “Resort-Style” Student Housing Project

Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson has decided the fate of a proposed “resort-style” student housing project involving the sale of public property.

Council considered a request Tuesday night to rezone 26 acres in the Port of Whitman County’s Pullman Industrial Part West.  The land must be rezoned from light industrial to multifamily residential to finalize the sale.

A development company out of Austin Texas has agreed to purchase the property from the port for 1.16 million dollars.  Aspen Heights wants to develop one of its self described “resort-style” student housing projects at the site on the North end of town.

The City of Pullman’s Planning Director Pete Dickinson recommended that the rezone be denied finding that it would have a negative effect on the community and is inconsistent with the city’s comprehensive plan.  The City of Pullman’s Planning Commission disagreed and recommended that council approve the rezone.

Council voted 3 to 3 after little discussion.  Councilwoman Eileen Macoll did speak up citing her concerns with Aspen Height’s arguments for the rezone as she read directly from their application.  You can listen to Macoll’s comment by clicking on the link below.

Macoll joined Councilwomen Ann Parks and Pat Wright in voting against the rezone.  Councilmen Al Sorensen, Dan Records and Brandon Chapman voted for the rezone.  The tie breaking vote went to Mayor Johnson who voted for the rezone because of its location next to the new “Hills on Grand” student housing development.  You can listen to Johnson’s comment by clicking on the link below.

Pullman taxpayer’s investment in the site was brought up during Tuesday night’s meeting.  Mayor Johnson asked how much city money had been spent extending utilities to the location which the port initially intended for a second Pullman industrial park.  Public Works Director Kevin Gardes estimated that the city had spent about 300,000 dollars on that project.

Aspen Heights plans to build over a hundred duplexes with over 200 units and nearly 900 beds on the property near Albion Road and North Grand Avenue.  This marks the 5th time in the last 3 years that a development company from outside the region has pursued a high-end student housing project in Pullman.  Last night’s meeting was the first time that Pullman City Council got to vote on one of these projects.

Councilman Nathan Weller was absent from Tuesday night’s meeting.

 

 

Concept Image of “Aspen Heights-Pullman”