The Spokane County hearing examiner has approved a zone change allowing a retirement center on the Palouse Highway southeast of Shopko.
The decision issued on Tuesday by Hearing Examiner Mike Dempsey allows construction of the 418-unit Clare House on 16.6 acres of land.
The site was formerly zoned for single-family residences, but the new zoning allows independent-living apartments, congregate-care units and assisted-living units.
Developer Harry Green said the new center will provide a retirement choice for low- to moderate-income seniors. Green is known in Spokane for developing retirement centers at the old Holy Names Academy on the North Side and the former Edgecliff Hospital in the Spokane Valley.
Some people living near the site opposed the project because it would increase traffic and is inconsistent with the single-family developments nearby.
Dempsey said apartments and commercial uses are found in the same area, and the city and county comprehensive plans call for urban development there.
A traffic study showed the facility would generate about 330 vehicle trips a day.
Because many of the residents will be living there without vehicles, the center will provide only 151 parking slots.
A 2.9-acre section on the north end of the property will be used for a stormwater drainage pond. Engineers hired by Green said it probably will have no more than six inches of water during runoff and a foot and a half of water during a 100-year storm. A fence or wall must be built around the pond for safety.
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