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Washington Voices

Rules Proposed To Protect Areas From Development

After three years, 48 meetings and 1,500 hours of volunteer time, a panel of Spokane County residents is proposing a wide-ranging set of regulations to protect steep slopes, wetlands and wildlife corridors from development.

If approved by Spokane County Commissioners, the regulations would identify and define these areas, establish rating guidelines, and set standards for those wishing to develop on land where these features are common.

The county planning commission has scheduled a public workshop on the regulations for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 14 in the Public Works Building hearing room.

Among the areas coming under the regulations would be natural open spaces around Mead and Green Bluff, steep slopes and deer habitat northeast of Deer Park, nesting areas around the Little Spokane River and Mount Spokane and some urban open space in the Indian Trail and Gleneden neighborhoods and around the Rutter Parkway.

County planner Tim Lawhead said the regulations are required under the state Growth Management Act and set into law much of what the county already does.

The regulations clarify other issues such as the buffering required around wetlands and what type of management plans would be required for wildlife areas.

“We tried to make this real flexible, there’s almost nothing that is outright prohibited,” said Lawhead.

Lunell Haught, chairwoman of the citizens committee, said the regulations are both flexible and firm and solve problems with overdevelopment in these areas rather than just pass more regulations.

The regulations themselves are almost 70 pages in length.

Those wanting a complete copy or more information should attend the workshop or contact the county planning department at 456-2205.

, DataTimes