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Sewer prospects dim for Belle Terre development

Wed., Oct. 13, 2010

Spokane County may drop plans to extend sewer service next year to the Belle Terre area in the unincorporated Spokane Valley.

Utilities Director Bruce Rawls told county commissioners Tuesday that the county would pay more to serve the area than it could recover.

Another reason is that the area – east of state Route 27, west of Sullivan Road and bisected by 42nd Avenue – is not likely to be included in a growth area for 20 years.

Except to prevent a health problem, the state Growth Management Act generally prohibits extending sewer and water service lines outside of designated growth areas.

Rawls said the Belle Terre development could affect the Spokane-Rathdrum Prairie aquifer, but it isn’t directly over the aquifer. He said the incomplete subdivision has large lots and little history of septic tank failures.

County Commissioner Todd Mielke said going ahead with plans to serve Belle Terre – adopted before the Growth Management Act – would invite a challenge that “would be difficult to defend.”

Rawls said he will conduct a neighborhood meeting to make sure he wasn’t overlooking “some compelling reason” to keep Belle Terre in the county’s Septic Tank Elimination Program.

John Craig

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