The Greenacres neighborhood wants a refund.
A group of neighbors raised $1,800 earlier this year to apply for a rezone they thought would keep their neighborhood’s rural feel and prevent dense development. The rezone hasn’t happened yet, and neighbors want to abandon their request entirely and get their money back from the city, Greenacres resident Mary Pollard said Tuesday.
“We have really found this whole thing a boondoggle,” Pollard said of the time-intensive process of starting petitions, testifying before the planning commission and lobbying anyone who would listen.
The Spokane Valley City Council decided at its Tuesday study session that instead of voting on the rezone request, it would send the Greenacres issue back to the city’s planning commission.
Last week, Spokane Valley realized it had not followed Spokane County’s process for dealing with neighborhood rezones, said Deputy City Attorney Cary Driskell.
Spokane County prepares a report that outlines the relevant facts and conclusions when it looks at an areawide rezone. Because Spokane Valley adopted many of the county’s regulations, it should do the same, Driskell said. The Greenacres application was the first Spokane Valley had dealt with for a rezone of this type, Driskell said.
Until the council decides on the rezone issue, developers can continue to apply for building permits under the current, more dense zoning. Neighbors say that they feel misled about what the rezone would do for them and that they have not been treated fairly, Pollard said.
“I don’t have the time or energy to go on with this anymore,” Pollard said.
Yet Pollard hasn’t given up entirely.
Instead of trying for a uniform rezone of the entire 457 acres, Pollard and other neighbors now want to work with developers and other stakeholders to write a formal neighborhood plan, Pollard told Spokane Valley council members Tuesday. They want to build alliances and hash out a long-term plan unique to their area. The neighborhood sits along the south side of the Spokane River near North Barker Road.
The refund will help them start writing a neighborhood plan, Pollard said.
The council did not discuss the Greenacres neighbors’ request Tuesday.
When Pollard began to read a letter announcing the neighborhood’s intentions, Mayor Diana Wilhite cut her off, saying she was off topic.
Wayne Frost, general manager of Centennial Properties, told the Spokane Valley City Council he had also been confused by how the council has gone about the rezone process.
Frost said he’d assumed the council would hear testimony on the issue.
Centennial Properties owns 43 acres in the Greenacres area.
Company officials do not feel all its land should have the same zoning, but instead should act as a buffer between Interstate 90 and the residential areas farther north.
Frost said he wants time to continue a community dialogue on the issue and to look at the area in greater depth.
“I don’t think you need to move so quickly you shut out the public and residents and landowners,” Frost told the council.