A comprehensive revision of the city’s shoreline master plan – including new regulations on the height and mass of buildings near the Spokane River and Latah Creek – goes before the public in an open house today and then in a public hearing on Wednesday before the city Plan Commission.
Under the proposal, developers would no longer be able to erect large high-rise towers, but rather would have to build skinnier towers to allow views around them in coming years. Buildings below 55 feet in height would be allowed to cover larger areas, however.
An open house is set for 5 to 7:30 p.m. today in the city’s wastewater plant auditorium, 4401 N. Aubrey L. White Parkway.
The Plan Commission takes up the new regulations, including a river bank restoration plan, on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.
The commission is expected to make a recommendation to the City Council, which would hold a public hearing at the end of October, city planners said.
The proposed regulations won’t stop SRM Development LLC from erecting one of two residential high-rise structures over the Upper Spokane Falls at the site of the current YWCA. A second tower proposed by SRM would likely fall under any new shoreline rules once they are adopted, said City Planning Director Leroy Eadie.
But an application by SRM for the first of the two proposed towers should be “technically completed” ahead of any changes in shoreline development rules, Eadie said. That tower is proposed to rise to 14 stories and reach the 150-foot limit under current city regulations.
Under one alternative for height regulations, towers above 55 feet in height would be limited to 10,000 square feet per floor, which for a square tower would be 100 feet by 100 feet. The city currently has no such limitation.
Spokane’s existing plan was adopted in 1976, and generally allows high-rise buildings between 50 and 200 feet of the river from the Spokane Falls upstream to the eastern city limits. A 35-foot height limit is in effect in the shoreline area only when a proposed high-rise would block views of other residents, according to the city code.
The proposed rules would increase the setback for towers from the shoreline to 100 feet.
The SRM project is planned after the YWCA and YMCA move into a new facility being built between North Monroe and North Lincoln streets just south of Boone Avenue.
Also, the proposed shoreline rules are expected to prohibit docks on free-flowing stretches of the Spokane River. Docks may be allowed behind Upriver Dam and the hydroelectric works adjacent to Riverfront Park, planners said.