It was a familiar tune – neighbors not liking the idea of an apartment complex going up nearby.
But the majority of the Spokane Valley City Council agreed Tuesday night to approve several privately initiated comprehensive plan amendments forward to a second and final reading planned for May 22.
Such amendments can only be made once a year under the state Growth Management Act.
The only one who voted no at the first reading was Council Member Arne Woodard, who said he is uncertain whether or not a higher density zoning should be granted for an area at Conklin and Broadway that would accommodate an apartment complex that could accommodate up to 12 units per acre on the 10.6-acre site.
“This is a tough one for me,” Woodard said about the Conklin property before the vote was taken to move the zone changes forward. “You want to protect property rights. So what do you do?”
The Conklin property was the only one of several that received much in the way of comment on Tuesday. The Planning Commission had recommended that the higher density be approved on the condition that a developer’s agreement be worked out with city staff in order to increase the buffer between the proposed apartments and nearby single-family homes.
However, such agreements take time, and both the majority of the council and the property owner are anxious to get moving on the project now without having to go through that process.
“We’d certainly like to do the project this year,” said Greg Arger of Arger Conklin LLC, owners of the property, located at 601 N. Conklin Road.
Still, at least three who spoke before the council said they would just as soon see single-family homes be built in the area.
“We’re not looking forward to another apartment building,” said Cheryl McManamon. “I like progress, but I don’t understand why they would want to put this humungous project here.”
Neighbor Jan Wold agreed, saying the lights, noise and extra traffic on narrow Conklin would be a major intrusion, even though they’ve seen the area grow through the building of the nearby Wal-Mart and Kohl’s stores.
“We’ve all invested our lives here,” she said, “and we have no say.”
Also up for consideration at the May 22 meeting for final approval will be properties at 12510 and 12512 E. Olive (low-density to high-density residential); 16913 E. Mission (low density residential to mixed-use center); 15922 and 16002 E. Broadway Ave. (garden office to community commercial); 805 N. Park Road (low-density residential to neighborhood commercial); 1114 N. Vercler Road (low-density residential to garden office); and 15712 E. Broadway (garden office to community commercial).