City officials from Airway Heights and Spokane are seeking feedback from citizens and business owners along the boundaries of a potential annexation area, looking to hear preferences on which city they’d like to join.
Annexation negotiations for the unincorporated land have been extended to May 11. Officials on both sides are working hard on an agreement that would potentially divide much of the West Plains between them, leaving Spokane with almost 10 square miles, including Spokane International Airport.
If the negotiations follow as planned, Airway Heights will grow by about a square half mile, absorbing tax-rich Wal-Mart, and the roughly 1,500 residents who live in the area.
This land along the Airway Heights border has seen an increase in business and residential growth over the past few years. Airway Heights provides some of the services for people there, although Spokane and Spokane County are the main providers.
If the annexation passes, citizens may begin receiving urban services from their respective cities. Fire, police and water providers may change for citizens in the area as each city determines service areas. Mayor Matthew Pederson said Airway Heights is considering the annexation largely because owners in that area have called for it.
Dick Vandervert, of Vandervert Construction, owns about 18 percent of the land in the proposed annexation area. Vandervert has challenged Spokane County in Superior Court about zoning regulations in the area, saying in an interview last summer that he’s been frustrated working with the county. Vandervert is interested in developing more of the land into commercial use and said he’s been talking with Airway Heights about the possible annexation, so he can continue with development plans.
The final decision will be made by the Spokane County Boundary Review Board.
If the annexation goes through, Spokane would first annex all of the land in question and then quickly de-annex that half square mile back to Airway Heights.