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Change in greenhouse size limits proposed

A local greenhouse operator wants Spokane County to allow bigger hothouses in rural zones so more temperature-sensitive crops can be grown locally.

“There is a genuine public interest in obtaining fresh organically grown crops,” Lima Greenhouses says in its request to eliminate greenhouses from building size restrictions.

Tomatoes, peppers and other warm-weather crops have to be imported from Central America for much of the year because size restrictions make greenhouse cultivation uneconomical, according to Lima’s proposal.

The company, which grows flowers at 2100 S. Inland Empire Way, is owned by Ed and Marian Lima.

Their proposed code change would remove commercial greenhouses from rules that limit buildings to 20 percent of lot sizes in the Rural Traditional, Urban Reserve and Rural Conservation zones, to 25 percent of lot sizes in Rural-5 zones and to 50 percent of lot sizes in Rural Activity Center zones.

Ordinary setbacks – five feet from lot lines for buildings no taller than 25 feet – would remain in force.

The Limas, represented by attorney Frank Conklin, argue that greenhouse farming isn’t economical if a 25-acre operation requires 100 acres of mostly unproductive land.

Planning commissioners have scheduled a public hearing at 9 a.m. on Oct. 28 in the basement of the county Public Works Building, 1026 W. Broadway Ave., next to the courthouse.

Commissioners also plan to take testimony on a possible overhaul of tax deferral programs for timber, farm and open-space land.

A hearing also is scheduled on a proposal to facilitate county acquisition of Saltese Flats property for wastewater disposal. A zoning code change would allow development rights to be transferred for public purposes.


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