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Coyote Rock gets tentative OK

An expansive housing development under construction beside the Spokane River mostly complies with Spokane Valley’s shoreline regulations, a hearing examiner concluded Tuesday.

Hearing Examiner Michael Dempsey pointed out several shortcomings in the permit applications for the 285-home Coyote Rock project, though, and imposed additional measures to protect the river and possible archaeological sites there.

On the south bank of the river, north of Trent near the end of Pines Road, Neighborhood Inc. plans to build 30 new waterfront houses on an unbuilt portion of a subdivision laid out in 1908.

The remainder of the plan envisions condominiums on part of a reclaimed 50-acre site formerly used for mining and heavy industry.

The city of Spokane Valley granted a permit to grade the site on Sept. 22. Then, four days later, the planning department notified the company it would need to apply for a substantial shoreline development permit because work would take place on land restricted by environmental regulations designed to protect the river, wildlife and flood-prone areas.

Dempsey’s decision results from a hearing on the shoreline permit held April 19, after most of the grading was completed.

It tentatively gives the go-ahead for the housing and parts of a private road system to access them, but requires the builder to enhance the vegetation that was improperly destroyed by the grading elsewhere within a 250-foot buffer next to the river. Additionally, some of the apartments would have to be moved.

The company will be required to consult with the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation as well as the Spokane Tribe of Indians, which commented that “the site is located in an extremely culturally rich area with numerous identified archaelogical resources,” Dempsey wrote.

After consulting the two groups, the city can require a professional archaeological survey for the site if there is a high likelihood that something will be found.

Dempsey also identified other elements of the proposal that he found notable but fall outside of his ruling.

He wrote that 25 century-old lots already on the site somehow became 32 parcels through a boundary-line adjustment process that is not supposed to create new lots.

He also points out that in permit applications, the developer stated the plans called for 275 housing units, but the number of condos and houses planned actually add up to 285.

Representatives of the Coeur d’Alene-based development company were not immediately available to comment on the decision after it was released Tuesday afternoon.


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