A decision on whether Matson Fruit Co. will stay in Selah, Wash. has been put on the back burner for another month.


A city council vote on Matson Fruit’s request for a zoning change was pulled from the agenda in late October, because the city attorney determined that state law requires a public hearing be held before the issue may go before the council, said a spokeswoman for the city.


The vote is tentatively set for the council’s Nov. 24 meeting, she said.


 Matson Fruit agreed in 2007 to purchase more than 14 acres adjacent to its Selah warehouse-packinghouse facility, pending city approval of a zoning change.


After the city’s planning commission approved the zoning change later that year, the city council vetoed Matson Fruit’s request, a decision the 101-year-old grower-shipper-packer challenged in court.


In April 2009, a Yakima County Superior Court judge ordered the matter be returned to the planning commission, which again approved the change Aug. 4.


If the council does not approve the zoning change, the family-owned-and-operated company will be forced out of Selah, said Rod Matson, company president.


 “This has to work for us, or we’ll be looking at moving to somewhere else around the (Yakima) valley,” Matson said.


Portions of the warehouse-packinghouse facility date back to when the company built its first packing shed in the 1920s, he said, and there is no room to expand on existing company owned land.


“We have no room to even become efficient,” he said.