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Developer’s Plan Rejected By County Commissioners

A North Side developer says he’ll put 10 mobile homes on a lot overlooking the Little Spokane River unless the county lets him build apartments there instead.

“We’ve got approval for a mobile home park and we’re going to build it,” a frustrated Jim Markley said Tuesday after county commissioners rejected his plans for a 21-unit apartment on three wooded acres.

Later, Markley said he would resubmit his plans for an apartment complex before building the mobile home park.

Markley wanted to build a 48-unit apartment complex on the triangle of land north of the river and east of U.S. Highway 395. A hearing examiner rejected that proposal, but later approved one for 21 units.

The project approval was appealed by the citizens group Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley.

Opponents said the development was incompatible with the neighborhood’s spacious lots and single-family homes and would overburden schools, roads and parks. Conservationists argued that storm water and traffic from the apartments would threaten the peaceful river valley.

“Good heavens, we have spent thousands, millions of dollars in acquiring this extremely important area for our community,” said attorney Steve Eugster, referring to a natural area several miles downstream from the proposed development.

Eugster, who represented the citizens’ group, argued that Hearing Examiner Greg Smith had prejudiced himself and should not have heard the case.

Smith said when he rejected the 48-unit complex that he would have approved a lower-density plan, Eugster noted. Markley proposed the 21-unit complex during a second hearing and it was approved by Smith.

“There is absolutely no right for a hearing examiner who has already decided a case to hear a case,” Eugster said. “He (Smith) acted in violation of the law.”

All three commissioners agreed Tuesday that Smith had acted improperly and voted to overturn his decision. Commissioners also agreed the proposed development was incompatible with its surroundings.

, DataTimes