July 21, 2005 in Voices

Residents discuss land-use issues at latest meeting

By The Spokesman-Review

Housing density, businesses cropping up in neighborhoods and the designation of new commercial areas were the hot topics of the final and best-attended public hearing on the Spokane Valley Comprehensive Plan.

The plan is required by the state’s Growth Management Act and will guide land-use decisions in Spokane Valley for the next 20 years. The Planning Commission will refine the 303-page document and make its recommendations on the plan to the City Council in the fall.

At the commission’s July 24 meeting, residents of the north Greenacres and Ponderosa neighborhoods argued for more detailed zoning in those areas that would hold down housing densities in new developments.

Another land-use issue raised was the ambiguity of rules governing businesses in residential areas. John Boyd testified that a year and a half ago a property owner wanted to build an office in the middle of his neighborhood, much to the chagrin of the surrounding homeowners. He asked the commission to refine the land-use rules to make them more specific about businesses allowed in residential areas.

Others asked that land-use designations on their properties be changed. Eric Ellingsen, a Valley dentist, along with people owning property near the hospital asked that their land designations be changed to allow new medical offices.

A lawyer representing the Appleway Automotive Group, which owns a car lot on the southern end of a proposed city center, suggested that the city scale back the size of the plan’s proposed downtown for a few years. He said the dealership may have to move if it ends up within a city center zone.

Others topics ranged from a desire for more parkland and open space to looser regulations in industrial areas.

Commissioners said they will consider the comments as they study the plan in the coming weeks.

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