A controversial plan for an apartment complex at Sprague and Barker Road will not be among the list of changes to the Spokane Valley Comprehensive Plan to be considered by the City Council in coming weeks.
In a 6-1 vote, the council declared the high-density use would be jarring in the mostly rural Greenacres neighborhood, which again had strong representation at Tuesday’s meeting. Even after it was clear the council would not be advancing the issue to a formal motion -- which would have changed the designation of the 5-acre parcel from low- to high-density residential -- nearly two dozen spoke out against the plan.
“If the apartment complex goes in, there will be no sunshine on my deck,” said Dallas Williams, whose property is adjacent to the site.
Increased traffic on Barker and overcrowding of nearby Central Valley schools have been familiar arguments of the residents, who have packed previous council and Planning Commission meetings on the subject.
In the end, council members agreed that the mostly rural character of the area needed to be preserved.
“The integrity of the neighborhood is extremely important,” said Council Member Chuck Hafner.
Mayor Dean Grafos concurred, saying the property owners could develop the land more appropriately under the existing zoning.
“They could put in duplexes,” Grafos said, adding that Barker does not have sidewalks. “I can just picture us plowing snow with kids walking there. I don’t want to be responsible for that.”
Todd Whipple of Whipple Consulting Engineers, who represents the land owners, stated that the property is appropriate for high-density housing due to the zoning of adjacent undeveloped land.
“Sometimes the unpopular decision is still the correct one,” Whipple said. “(However) there are still possibilities for this piece of property.”
The council will consider next Tuesday whether or not a small strip of city-owned land near the Centennial Trail at Mirabeau Point should be reclassified form parks/open space to mixed-use center, which could open up uses such as food sales for trail users. The council was split, however, with three members saying there was no need to move the issue at this time.
Council Member Bill Bates, who voted with the majority, said the rezone would give the city “an opportunity” to consider options for the land.
Finally, the council overwhelmingly supported advancing to a first reading a proposal by the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service to rezone property on North Bradley just north of Trent Avenue from low-density residential to mixed use to allow a dog-run at the soon-to-be-opened shelter at that intersection.
The property, just north of the former Harley-Davidson outlet, would be used as a screened exercise yard for leashed, adoptable dogs, according to Nancy Hill, SCRAPS director.