A developer who wants to build a 300-home project in the Spokane Valley will be required to submit an in-depth analysis of the plan before he can try to win approval.
The Spokane County Planning Department has asked Richard Dahm to prepare an environmental impact statement for his Morningside Heights development.
Dahm’s preliminary plans show more than 300 homes on about 150 acres between Sullivan Road and the Saltese area in the southern part of the Valley.
The size and complexity of the development warrant an exhaustive study of its potential impacts, said Wally Hubbard, the county’s planning director.
Planners want to know how the project will affect traffic circulation and schools in the Central Valley School District, Hubbard said.
They also want to know about the availability of water, sewer services and fire protection, he said.
Environmental concerns, like the potential for air pollution and soil erosion, must be addressed as well, Hubbard added.
Dahm will pay for the analysis. The developer will be required to mitigate any negative impacts identified by the study should the county approve the project.
Dahm has hired Ramm Associates to perform the analysis. Owner Cathy Ramm said the study will take at least six months to complete.
“We’re just barely getting started on it now,” Ramm said this week.
The report will be available for public review and comment when it is finished.
The development is likely to be controversial. Neighbors in the area fought hard against another project Dahm developed nearby.
The Morningside project - 134 lots on 76 acres in the same area - was called an “aberration” by neighbors in late 1993 when Dahm was seeking approval.
Neighbors argued that the nearly urban densities in Morningside would conflict with the rural-like setting in the Saltese area, cause traffic problems and drive away wildlife.
Dahm ultimately won approval for that development, where homes now sell for between $230,000 and $500,000.