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After a tied 3-3 Longview City Council vote Thursday, a petition to have property owners finance construction of the unimproved parts of Beech Street failed.

Three impacted property owners and two Longview residents all spoke in opposition to the proposed local improvement district during a public hearing Thursday night.

Bruce Wadsworth, owner of El Patio Mobile Home Park, said he drove up from Oregon City, Ore., to address the council about the inclusion of his property in the local improvement district.

“We have people that rent from us that are very low-income. Most of them are one step from living out on the street,” he said. “This is going to equate to $120 per month rent increase for my tenants. ... Then my property will be a ghost town and you’ll have a lot of people living on the street.”

Property owner WRSCO first submitted a request to the city last year to form the local improvement district as a way to construct the unfinished Beech Street right-of-way from 14th Avenue to California Way.

Impacted property owners would have shouldered about $3.7 million of the $4.4 million project. Property owners that represented 73 percent of the land signed the petition.

University Place resident Judi Orr, whose family owns Specialty Motors, said her property would not benefit from construction of Beech Street whereas others who own undeveloped land will greatly benefit from the project.

“Let me be clear, my family and I are not incentivized to participate in this project, and we encourage the 17 owners who will also not greatly benefit from this so-called improvement to oppose this project by removing their names from the initial petition in protest,” Orr read from a prepared statement.

Following the public hearing, the council initially took no action on the petition. But then, after discussion about possible adjustments to the proposed property boundary, Councilman Mike Wallin made a motion to accept the local improvement district petition.

“I am concerned about this assessment and the methodology, but we hired a third party professional because we don’t have the expertise in this area (and) Valbridge Property Advisors is the recognized advisor in Washington State to do this,” Wallin said. “We need to keep the process moving forward.”

Councilmen Scott Vydra, Ken Botero and Wallin voted in favor of the petition. Mayor Don Jensen and Councilmen Steve Moon and Chet Makinster voted against. Councilwoman MaryAlice Wallis was absent. Because the vote was tied, the motion died.

The council then immediately and unanimously voted to direct staff to talk to Valbridge about possible ways to exclude the residential parcels and include property east of California Way in a potential future local improvement district petition. If Valbridge, or another consultant, created another boundary line, the petition process would begin again.

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