Hambleton Lumber closes Washougal sawmill

City submits highway commercial rezone request

The “closed” sign posted at the entrance to the Hambleton Bros. Lumber Co. has a more definitive meaning these days, as the sawmill has ceased operations – at least temporarily – and the waterfront land could have a commercial and recreational future.

Prior to the mill’s closure, the closed sign could be seen on the entry gate after regular business hours. According to Mike Reinhart, more than 40 Hambleton employees lost their jobs in June. Reinhart, a “semi-retired” owner of Camas Realty, has served as a consultant for Hambleton since 1971.

Approximately 25 acres of land and a sawmill at 335 S. “A” St., owned by Hambleton Lumber Co. LLC, have been leased by Hambleton Bros. Lumber Co. A six-year lease expired in June.

Reinhart was among the individuals who attended the July 13 strategic planning session at the Port of Camas-Washougal. At that time, he said the sawmill could reopen for a short time.

“There are no set plans at this time,” Reinhart said. “Eventually it would be developed in this decade. I’m sure it will be something spectacular. It’s going to take time to plan it right.

“It’s up to the corporation what to do in the future,” he added. “The corporation planned at some time to develop it.”

A notice of application that was sent Friday to several entities, including the port, Killian Pacific, the Washougal School District and MBM Properties mentioned the city of Washougal was seeking a comprehensive plan change and rezone of property at the Hambleton site. The proposal is to change the comp plan designation from industrial to commercial and rezone the effected property from heavy industrial to highway commercial.

“This is part of a citywide economic development effort,” Washougal Planning Manager Mitch Kneipp said Monday. “The idea is to increase available land for commercial developments, which can create opportunities for ongoing retail sales tax revenue.”

According to the Washougal Municipal Code, acceptable uses under the highway commercial zoning designation include restaurants, gas stations, retail nurseries and garden supply stores, athletic clubs, sporting goods shops, bakeries, car washes and professional offices.

Port Director David Ripp said no one from Hambleton has talked to the port. He would eventually like some of the Hambleton land to include a waterfront trail system – tying Marina Park to Steamboat Landing and the levee.

“If we were able to buy a portion of it, we could do some commercial development or mixed use, with commercial on the ground level and residential condos on top,” Ripp said. “Commercial could be retail or restaurants.”

Comments regarding the application for a comprehensive plan change and rezone can be sent to: City of Washougal, 1701 “C” St., Washougal, WA 98671 or e-mailed to rjewell@ci.washougal.wa.us. Comments received by Monday, Aug. 2, at 5 p.m., will be considered in the staff report.

A public hearing before the Washougal Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m., in the council chambers at City Hall. For more information, contact the Community Development Department at 835-8501.

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