Local news

Opinions On Urban Growth Come Down All Over The Map

Like cats at the door, people who came to a Wednesday meeting on Spokane’s proposed urban growth boundaries fell into two camps.

They wanted in or they wanted out.

Doug Smith, for instance, wants to develop the 83 acres he owns with his sister just south of the city near Qualchan.

“We feel we should be included” in the urban area, Smith said.

Liberty Lake resident Sam Kinard wants to protect his neighborhood’s fragile environment.

“It would be inappropriate to declare the watershed areas … that drain into Liberty Lake as part of the growth areas,” he said.

About 30 people gathered at City Hall for the last in a series of five hearings aimed at taking the public’s pulse on proposed boundaries required by the state Growth Management Act.

Four maps showed four options - from tightly drawn urban boundaries to widely drawn ones.

John Mercer, the county planner in charge of growth management, said the final lines probably will be a combination of the four.

“There are an infinite number of possibilities,” he said.

The boundaries, which can be adjusted every five years, will determine where the county and cities will provide water, sewer and other services required for urban growth in the next 20 years.

Outside the boundaries, larger lots will be required, and residents won’t get as many services.

Having already missed the deadline set under the Growth Management Act, county and city officials hope to have final boundaries drawn by year’s end.

The growth management steering committee - made up of county and city officials - plans to recommend boundaries to county commissioners by Nov. 22.

Commissioners have the final say on where the lines are drawn, although their decisions can be appealed to a regional growth management hearings board.

Most of the people who testified at Wednesday’s hearing hoped the boundaries ultimately protected wildlife habitats and natural areas.

But one man thought people who wanted to protect those lands should buy them.

“All I hear about is the hootie owl watchers and the view watchers. No one said anything about the people who paid hard-earned money” for their property, said the man to applause before he angrily left.

, DataTimes



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