Spokane City Council members were divided 5-2 in a Monday vote on what normally would have been a routine approval for setting a public hearing on an alley improvement project.
Council members Bob Apple and Nancy McLaughlin voted against the formation hearing for an alley project between Nebraska and Rowan avenues from Morton to Perry streets.
Apple said he was concerned that a petition of residents adjoining the alley was signed by residents representing only 57 percent of the affected property, indicating that some residents were opposed and might be saddled with a paving bill they cannot afford.
Councilman Al French, who supported the resolution, said the petition was a request from citizens to form a local improvement district to pave their alley, and not the city dictating to them. “It’s not Big Brother coming down on citizens,” he said.
Apple said that from his experience, once a project is scheduled for a hearing it is unlikely that it will be stopped by citizen opposition. “It is Big Brother,” he said.
The hearing is set for Sept. 26 at 2:30 p.m. before the city hearing examiner at City Hall.
•In other action, the council set a formation hearing for Sept. 26 at 1:30 p.m. for street improvements of Liberty Avenue from Madelia to Pittsburg streets and Pittsburg Street from North Foothills Drive to Bridgeport Avenue on the North Side.
The council also set hearings for Sept. 25 on two requests by the city to relinquish street rights-of-way at Maple Street and First Avenue and a portion of the west side of the Monroe Street Hill on the North Side.
Also, the council ordered street improvements on Stevens Street from 12th to Sumner avenues.