Dirt roads and no sidewalks near you? Yakima County says poor planning to blame

Dirt roads and no sidewalks near you? Yakima County says poor planning to blame
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Drive through Yakima county and you might end up on a street that isn't paved or in a neighborhood without sidewalks.

Yakima County says irresponsible planning is to blame for some of this. Cities throughout the county are expanding their Urban Growth Area too quickly.

It means cities are annexing county property into city lines without the proper infrastructure to support it.

"It's true,” Bill Woolen said. “You see it in city government, county government."

Bill lives in the West Valley. County officials say the area near Apple Valley Elementary is without sidewalks and paved roads. They say it was annexed into Yakima city limits and now the county gets complaints about the lack of infrastructure.

From now own, county officials say any city that wants to annex county property must have defined plans for infrastructure and how they'll pay for it.

The county says one of the biggest problems with expansion that happens to quick is that county and cities can't keep up with the infrastructure. For example, you'll see unpaved roads right next to those that are finely groomed.

The county says it typically loses tax revenue when cities annex county property. It spends nearly $10 million dollars a year on its roads. Sometimes, cities assume those streets and all the counties effort that went into it.

Bill says he likes his country living and doesn't mind the dirt roads. But, he would like to see it hold on to some tax revenue.
"I'll leave that in the hands of the commissioners. As far as I'm concerned they're capable,” Bill said.

The county is holding an all-cities meeting on May 15th to address these issues. It plans to define a new plan for the urban growth areas.