October 3, 1996

Apartment Expansion Has Neighbors Worried

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Neighbors living atop Sunset Hill west of downtown like their tranquil surroundings near Indian Canyon Golf Course.

That’s why they are so concerned about a plan to expand apartment dwellings nearby.

“We think it’s too much development,” said Tom Perko, a Spokane banker who is part of a neighborhood association formed to fight the plan.

Perko and others are appealing to the Spokane City Council a decision last summer by the hearing examiner to allow the 48-unit apartment complex along Westcliff Drive, north and east of the Indian Canyon Golf Course driving range.

The appeal is scheduled to be heard by the council at its regular meeting Oct. 21.

It pits builder Ron McCloskey against the Carousel Lane Neighborhood Association, which includes several people prominent in civic affairs.

Along with Perko, association members include builder Chris Kopczynski, known for his mountaineering feats; Tanya Guenther, a hotelier who served on the Spokane Arena board; and Bernie Loposer, who raises money for the foundation at Eastern Washington University.

The association has hired land-use attorney Steve Eugster to argue the case.

The group lost its first battle when Hearing Examiner Greg Smith in August ruled in favor of construction on the three-acre site as long as McCloskey complies with several conditions.

McCloskey must provide appropriate landscaping, storm water diversion, sewer and water connections, a secondary access route for fire engines and buildings of no more than two stories.

McCloskey did not return telephone calls to his office seeking comment.

The apartments would be in four separate buildings along with eight garage structures.

McClosky is building on land that was held for nearly 90 years by the Episcopal Diocese in Spokane. The church bought the property in 1908 as a potential site for a school but in recent years has had the land for sale.

The property is zoned for multifamily structures. The comprehensive plan contradicts the zoning by calling for low-density housing.

Under the state’s Growth Management Act, the decision would have to be consistent with the zoning.

However, because the city and county have yet to comply with growth management, the hearing examiner ruled the zoning designation still allows the development.

Eugster said he is going to argue that point.

The neighbors also are expected to challenge the adequacy of the roads, fire access, storm water handling and other issues.

They said if the property is developed, it should be used for duplexes to provide a better transition between nearby businesses and apartments and their single-family neighborhood.

“I would refer to it as a creeping encroachment of going from medium density to high density,” Loposer said.

, DataTimes


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