Spokane County will pay the owners of a restaurant and market north of Mead $750,000 to settle a lawsuit.
County commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the agreement with Shawn and Theresa Gabel, who closed McGlade’s Market at Yale and Day-Mt. Spokane roads in 2007.
The couple claimed they were forced out of business because county Building and Planning Department officials changed their minds after granting construction permits allowing the Gabels to turn the fruit stand into a sit-down restaurant with a small organic food store.
“We have some of the most professional trained staff in the region and sometimes mistakes are made,” Commissioner Mark Richard said.
County Commissioner Bonnie Mager said the settlement indicates the county must more stringently obey development rules.
“If the county plays fast and lose with our land-use laws, then there are very serious consequences that will result,” Mager said.
The payout didn’t appear on the county’s hearings agenda when it was released last week. County leaders said they decided to make the decision at Tuesday’s meeting because the settlement was recently reached and they wanted to approve it before the end of 2008.
The Gabels filed suit in Spokane County Superior Court in 2007. They have since sold the business, which has sparked continued controversy.
Last month, commissioners voted to be neutral when they were asked by the state Liquor Control Board if they had objections to issuing a liquor license to the new restaurant, McGlades Bistro and Wine Bar.