With the last of the details worked through, the Spokane Valley City Council approved a controversial rezone application 6-1 Tuesday night.
Having OK’d a developer’s agreement the week before, the council – minus member Brenda Grassel, who voted not – took the final steps in rezoning the land from medium to high density that will allow for a luxury apartment complex to be built near Conklin Road and Broadway Avenue.
Concerned residents near the proposed development, which will be limited to 22 units per acre, even got a bit of a consolation prize. At last week’s meeting, it was revealed the developer might put in residential units up to five feet of the property line. It turns out, however, that spacing will be 10 feet.
“We’ve got some new information on those dwelling units within the 40-foot setback,” said John Hohman, senior engineer of development. “After the 5-foot landscape buffer there’s an additional five foot buffer.”
The complex will also be separated by a 6-foot fence from existing houses.
On Tuesday, many of the same people who own single-family homes near the 10 acres of property, owned by Greg Arger, said they have come to terms that the land will be developed; but they hope to get a final look at the plans before bulldozers move the first mounds of dirt.
“We haven’t seen any concrete plans or drawings,” said Delbert Liljegren, who lives on nearby Moore Road. “That has caused some of the major concerns in our neighborhood.”
Katherine Potter expressed gratitude over the council, city staff and developer’s efforts to address some of the issues brought up by those already living in the area.
“We regret the loss of our big open field,” she said. “But we realize something will be going into that property.”
Potter also said she is relieved the plans call for upscale apartments rather than the developer being granted a bonus density for lower-income housing.
Still, there are concerns about truck traffic on narrow Conklin Road and privacy.
“I would encourage the developer to meet with the neighbors,” said Council Member Arne Woodard. “I know we (as a council) can’t require it.”
Council Member Arne Woodard said the zone change is within guidelines of the state Growth Management Act and will bring jobs to Spokane Valley and $1 million in building fees, not to mention added sales tax revenue.
“The developer’s agreement is fair for both sides,” he said. “We’re living in tough economic times.”
“It’s been a long debate,” agreed Mayor Tom Towey. “There was a lot of information to digest…(but) we are going to grow as a city, there’s no two ways about it. How we grow is critical.”