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Cowlitz County Commissioners amended the comprehensive plan and rezoned 1.43 acres in Lexington Tuesday morning to accommodate a proposed 30-unit apartment complex.

The property is next to Riverside Park on the east side of West Side Highway and near the highway’s intersection with Louise Street.

Commissioners changed the land use designation from “remote” to “urban” in the comprehensive plan and rezoned it from “urban residential” to “multiple-family.”

The application was submitted by Red Leaf co-founder/owner Ray Vandervalk, who was not present at the meeting. However, he was represented by Three Rivers Land Services consultant Tim Wines.

Wines said increased density would be a boon for the Lexington area, as commercial businesses like restaurants and grocery stores are more likely to open new locations in areas with more residents. Additionally, River City Transit is considering providing service to Lexington if the population grows, according to Wines.

After the meeting, Cowlitz County Building and Planning Director Elaine Placido said Vandervalk’s tentative plan is to build a 30-unit development, but an official application had not yet been submitted.

More information about the proposed apartments/family-housing were not available as of Tuesday morning.

The changes to the comprehensive plan and the zoning map were approved unanimously by commissioners Joe Gardner and Dennis Weber. Commissioner Arne Mortensen was not at the meeting.

Weber said the Lexington location should be a good fit for a new multi-family development.

“The location we approved is perfectly situated to handle the increased density,” he said.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners approved Rural Economic Development Grants and loans to Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue, the City of Longview and the Cowlitz Economic Development Council (CEDC).

Cowlitz 2 received a $250,000 loan for 2018 and a $250,000 grant for 2019 to replace its crumbling station in Lexington.

Longview received two $250,000 grants (one in 2018, one in 2019) to help extend Beech Street from 14th Avenue to California Way.

Finally, the CEDC received a $50,000 grant for 2019 to continue funding for staffing.

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