December 7, 2004 in City

Another zoning battle shapes up in Valley

By The Spokesman-Review

Another land-use fight is brewing between residents of Ponderosa neighborhood and a developer looking to create smaller than average building lots.

Neighbors on the northwest edge of the Spokane Valley community say Ponderosa Properties LLC would build too many homes on too little land if city officials endorse a 49-home project called Broadmoor Estates North. The would-be development at the northern end of Ridgeview Road requires zoning that would allow roughly six homes an acre. The current neighborhood standard is half that amount, or 3.5 homes an acre.

But there won’t be as many homes in Broadmoor as neighbors fear, said Todd Whipple, the engineer who is shepherding the project through the city approval process. Rather, the tighter zoning allows each lot to be about 65 feet wide, while the lot depth would be 110 feet. The end result is a development averaging slightly more than three homes an acre, Whipple said.

“We’re keeping with the 3.5 guidelines. The rezone is mostly for a frontage issue. We’re not going to bust in and shoehorn a bunch of homes in there,” Whipple said.

Real estate broker Bryan Walker owns the proposed site.

Resident Ray Ancel, who has lived next to the proposed Broadmoor site for eight years, said seasonal standing water on part of the site makes it ill-suited for so many homes. Plans to tightly develop the land a few years ago were altered to accommodate five-acre lots, instead, Ancel said. Neighbors say they don’t oppose development outright, but would like fewer homes per acre of land.

Whipple said there will be a buffer between the Broadmoor homes and the wetland.

In addition to worries about congested housing, neighbors are concerned about increased traffic and fire evacuation.

Broadmoor is the second development this year to anger Ponderosa neighbors. Six months ago, neighbors battled developer Lanzce Douglass over a 181-home project proposed for the southwest end of Ponderosa.

The arguments against that development were identical to those in the Broadmoor dispute. In the middle of their fight over the Douglass development, neighbors managed to persuade city officials to invoke a one-home-per-acre zoning rule to preserve some of the community’s large lots, though neither the Douglass development, nor Broadmoor were affected by the change.

Spokane Valley city planners are taking written comments on the Broadmoor development through Dec. 8.

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