Group threatens to sue city over downtown plaza

Group threatens to sue city over downtown plaza

YAKIMA, Wash— With enough funds to move forward with the building of the Downtown Central Plaza, one would think from here, it’s smooth sailing.

Not so much.

“The ordinance is what they passed in order to tax all the nearby property owners to pay for the parking lot, and what they agreed is, if you folks agree to this tax, we will agree to build this parking lot and leave it a parking lot forever,” said Bruce Smith of the Yakima Valley Business Times.

Smith spearheads a group called Preserve Downtown Parking, a group of people, he says including nearby business owners, who are against the plaza being built in the proposed parking lot, downtown.

Their attorney sent a letter to the city, asking them to drop the plaza plans, stating, building anything there is illegal, because nearby property owners paid for the parking lot.

The letter also points out an ordinance which states the city may in the future construct buildings for public use, including use as a convention center, but in the air space above the parking lot.

“It says that's parking today. It’s parking, tomorrow, it’s gonna be parking forever, and unless they wanna build a convention center over it, there’s nothing in the law that says they’re gonna be able to build a plaza there,” said Smith.

He says it's to his understanding that city attorneys are meeting and discussing the issue with city council.

I reached out to City Attorney Jeff Cutter who says it's too early for him to comment.

Smith, however, says he doesn't think this will end up in court, but that he's willing to take it that far.

“We hope they get good legal advice, and if they get good legal advice, they’re only gonna have one conclusion. Which is they can’t build it there; they have to build it somewhere else. And if they don't, that's OK. This is America, and we'll just exercise our rights to go to the courts and have the courts stop them,” said Smith.

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