The public will get a chance to voice their opinion on plans to restrict parking near Liberty Lake next Tuesday.
The public hearing, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 9 before the Spokane County commissioners, will be the final step before the board decides whether or not to follow through with the request by the Spokane Valley Fire Department.
The meeting will be held at the Spokane County Public Works Building, 1026 W. Broadway Ave., in the lower hearing room.
Due to the narrow nature of the roads around the lake – “They were made for horse-and-buggy times,” said Fire Marshal Kevin Miller – fire officials hope to restrict parking on 22 streets in the unincorporated area south of the city of Liberty Lake. Streets within the city would not be affected, Miller said at Monday’s meeting of Valley Fire commissioners.
Fire officials met with concerned citizens last fall, and Miller said “there was a lot of public input, and a lot of consensus.”
“It’s going to be a good deal (for everybody),” he said.
The problem has been a longstanding one, Miller added, particularly on July 4 during holiday festivities when the streets are so clogged with cars emergency vehicles have difficulty maneuvering around them. But some of the roads – many only 12 feet wide – are tough to traverse at all times, especially during snowy months when plows leave large berms.
Signs would be placed indicating where parking is not allowed. A full list of the affected streets can be found at www.spokanevalleyfire.com.
In other news, Spokane Valley fire officials are still hoping to iron out difficulties in an interlocal agreement with several area fire-control agencies in order to forge a single contract for emergency ambulance service.
The deal, over four years in the making, would save fire agencies money and clarify performance measures for American Medical Response, the largest ambulance company in the area and sole responder to a request for bids.
While AMR has been patiently biding its time while the affected players – which include 13 different agencies that serve areas such as Spokane Valley, Cheney, Medical Lake and Airway Heights – work out the details, the complexities of the proposal have made it difficult to move forward, said Valley Fire Chief Mike Thompson.
Fire commissioners agreed to extend the agreement – which had previously been extended three months in December – until the end of June. At that time, if no resolution has been made, Thompson said he is prepared to throw in the towel and call the whole thing off.
“I think it’s time to fish or cut bait,” he said. “If we can’t work it out, life goes on. We’ve been working at this for a long time.”
The biggest hang-up, according to Thompson, has been getting the participating fire departments to sign off on costs associated with the agreed-upon performance standards in the contract. AMR officials, he added, said they will have no problem meeting those standards.
“The ambulance company has been very cooperative,” he said.
The county averages about 22,000 calls for ambulances each year.