While much of the talk at Spokane Valley City Hall lately has revolved around the future of the embattled Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan, the city’s governing board turned its attention to some different development questions at Tuesday’s study session.
The Spokane Valley City Council received an update on several proposed amendments to the comprehensive plan, an annual tinkering process that brings up potential shifts to a document that serves as a blueprint for local development over the next 20 years.
The changes, according to Mike Basinger of the city’s community development department, are presented for the council’s consideration in order “to help keep the plan consistent with City Council policy direction and community direction.”
The deadline for 2010 amendment applications – a cut-off that applies to citizens, municipal staff and City Council – was Nov. 1 of last year. A public hearing was held in February, while the first official reading of the amendments is slated for the April 13 council meeting.
On Tuesday, council members were provided with an overview of three possible changes, one initiated by a local property owner and two recommended by city staff.
The first zoning modification would turn an area on the northeast corner of Park Road off Broadway from “low-density residential” to “neighborhood commercial” while the remaining alterations would address municipal mapping errors along the Sullivan Road corridor.
One of the city’s proposed changes involves land owned by the Washington Department of Transportation just north of the Spokane River and Sullivan Park. The property, currently being used as a gravel pit, would shift to “heavy industrial.” Basinger said the initial mistake in zoning classification had to do with a perception that the area was owned by the Washington Parks and Recreation Department.
The final amendment would mean transitioning a space located in the Spokane Business and Industrial Park from “community commercial” to “heavy industrial.” The area was initially lumped in with a retail area that includes businesses such as a fast-food restaurant and tire store.
The amendment process also includes adding certain policies – such as promoting a living wage and protecting the aquifer – that supplement existing goals within the comprehensive plan. Basinger said the approach puts the city in a better position when applying for state and federal grants as well as streamlining the council’s ability to establish municipal guidelines.
“If the council decided to put a regulation in place, the policy would already be there,” he said.
Mayor Tom Towey said the mention of policies within the document consisted of “language that is very generic.”
Council Member Bill Gothmann said the council should have plenty of time to review the recommended changes before the second reading on April 27.
“It’s a learning process,” he said. “By that time, if we don’t know it, we should.”