May 20, 1995 in Washington Voices

High-Density Project Off Wellesley Approved Fraser Family Farmland Is Site For 164 Homes In/Around: Pasadena Park

Dan Hansen Staff Writer
 

(Unpublished correction: According to a Valley Voice story from Apr. 17, 1993, the Pasadena Park plan was approved in 1993, not 1996, as this story states.)

A neighborhood plan written by Pasadena Park residents got its first test Thursday.

Some neighborhood residents didn’t like the results.

Asked by a developer for permission to build 179 houses on 59 acres, the Spokane County Hearing Examiner Committee instead agreed to let him build 164. The land was zoned for one house per acre.

The decision fits guidelines in the 12-page Pasadena Park plan, written over a two-year period by neighborhood representatives. The plan calls for medium density - 2.8 houses per acre - where Mike Kinney plans to build the Fraser Estates development.

About 150 neighbors signed a petition asking that the zoning not be changed, despite the plan’s recommendations.

Neighbors said the development would put too many cars on narrow roads and would be out of place in the neighborhood, where most lots are an acre or larger.

“This is a farming community,” said Jane Cox. “Everybody has cows, horses, chickens, goats and sheep.”

The proposed development, north of Wellesley Avenue between Argonne and Lehman roads, has been farmed for a century by three generations of the Fraser family.

Family member Herb McIntosh, who was part of the committee that wrote the neighborhood plan, said farming the land no longer is practical.

“It’s very difficult to get farmers with big equipment to come down and work a small plat of ground,” McIntosh said. “So what’s left is to use it for the highest and best use.”

Several residents said they never liked the Pasadena Park plan, which was approved by a 9-6 vote by neighborhood representatives in 1996. The six who voted against the document shared similar concerns about congestion and small lots with those who testified Thursday.

Brenda Bodenstein, one of the three hearing examiners, said ignoring the plan would be “a total slap in the face” to the people who wrote it.

Bodenstein, a horse owner who lives on a large West Plains lot, said she sympathized with Pasadena Park residents.

“I wish I could tell people that land use is never going to change from the time you buy your house until the time you decide to sell it,” she said. “Unfortunately, that’s not the case.”

Neighbors said they may appeal the commission’s decision to county commissioners.

Kinney complained that he wasn’t warned until March that county staff would recommend fewer than the 179 lots he had planned.

“Not a word was said about density” during meetings with staff last fall, he said. “If it had, I would have done something different.”

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