Construction continues at the Spokane Valley Mall after two developers moved closer to settling a dispute on Monday that threatened to delay the project.
“I’m satisfied that I’ve got a commitment to moving ahead,” said Dennis Scott, Spokane County’s public works director.
The dispute centered on 14 acres of land that abuts the Spokane River near the mall site at Sullivan Road and Interstate 90. The land will be used to drain stormwater from an access road and parking lots.
County officials were concerned that neither mall developer JP Realty Inc. nor Hanson Industries, which owns the surrounding land, would assume liability for the drainage field.
Scott said last week he would stop work on an access road to the mall site and withhold needed building permits if the companies couldn’t reach an agreement by Monday.
Though neither company has accepted liability, Hanson solved the problem by agreeing to leave Spokane County out of any dispute.
When the plat for the land first was approved in 1990, the agreement dedicated the 14 acres to the county for a park. “That language started the whole issue,” Scott said.
When the county realized it had no use for the land as a park, it wanted out of the agreement and no responsibility for the property.
“We didn’t want to have the liability in case there was a spill,” Scott said.
To resolve the issue, Scott said, Hanson agreed to apply for a change to the plat agreement. That issue will go before the hearing examiner Oct. 16.
“Hanson will stay the owner,” Scott said, “but the county will have no involvement.”
Hanson and JP Realty still are negotiating to determine who will own and be liable for the land.