Citing an incomplete list of tasks the city thought would be finished by now, the Spokane Valley City Council extended temporary one-acre zoning in the Ponderosa and Rotchford neighborhoods at its study session Tuesday.
“What the ordinance does is preserve the status quo,” Marina Sukup, the city’s community development director, said at the meeting.
The neighborhoods’ zoning allows several homes per acre, although many of the houses there were built on lots one acre or bigger.
A year ago today, the city placed a year-long ban on denser development in parts of the two neighborhoods. Planners then thought that the city’s new 20-year comprehensive land use plan would be adopted by now. Also, they thought studies by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state Department of Natural Resources and other government entities would be complete when the first ordinance expired.
“I’m getting the impression that this is probably the last extension on this,” said Councilman Mike DeVleming, following a discussion with Sukup on the expected completion time of the studies.
The new measure extends the temporary zoning for another six months. The Comprehensive Plan is scheduled to be adopted before the end of the year, and the other studies should be complete before the extension expires.
Residents in the two neighborhoods have raised concerns about traffic, neighborhood character, fire evacuation and other issues if more houses were added to the area.
Once the studies and the comprehensive plan are complete, the council will decide what the permanent zoning should be.