Local news

Council overrides Verner’s shoreline veto

TUESDAY, JAN. 13, 2009, 12:02 A.M.

The Spokane City Council on Monday barely gathered the votes to override Mayor Mary Verner’s first veto.

Late last month, Verner nixed greater restrictions on development along Latah Creek, citing an exception made along a 900-foot section of shoreline owned by the city’s former CEO, John Pilcher.

Most of the shoreline along the waterway was given a 200-foot buffer where most development is barred. But the section on Pilcher’s land was retained at 100 feet.

Many who testified at the meeting, including officials with the county Republican Party, said they supported the veto, but for different reasons. They argued that the buffer should be lowered along the entire creek, testifying that raising the restrictions violates private property rights. They also questioned if land owners were properly informed about changes that could lower their property values.

City officials said they mailed notices to affected property owners. They also noted that the shoreline rules were adopted after a three-year public process.

The state Department of Ecology will have the final say on the shoreline regulations.

Council members Nancy McLaughlin and Al French were the lone votes to sustain the veto.

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