June 11, 2011 in Washington Voices

Residents oppose project density

Development fits zoning
By The Spokesman-Review

The owners of 9.5 acres of property west of Evergreen Road and north of Wellesley Avenue – just inside the Spokane Valley city limits – have applied to subdivide their land into 41 individual lots. While the land’s zoning allows up to six homes per acre, several neighbors traveled to a hearing on the proposal this week to complain that the number of proposed lots is too dense.

“The density of what this is proposing is much more significant that what we have,” said Brian Holecek, who owns 9 acres in the 5200 block of North Mayhew Road right across from the proposed development. He acknowledged that property owners Lonnie and Janice Roth have the right to put in that many lots under the single family residential zoning. But putting in 41 lots is “taking it right to the maximum,” he said. “None of the lots in the vicinity of the development are as narrow as the proposed lots. My appeal here is for larger lots.”

Neighbor Clifton Johnson lives on the north edge of the land proposed for development and said he thought he was buying a house in a rural area. The proposal is a “ridiculous amount of people crammed into a very small 9 acres. There is quite a bit of frustration with this whole thing.”

Christine Birkeland asked why the land couldn’t be developed like a similarly sized piece of property next door that has 19 homes on it. “Why can’t they just do 20 houses?” she said. There is a lot of wildlife in the area and Birkeland said she would lose her view of the mountains and instead have a view of rows of homes. “I think that this should not happen period, unless they cut their (number of) lots in half.”

A preliminary plat map shows how the 41 lots would be accessed through two new east-west streets, Olympic and Queen avenues, that would feed onto Mayhew Road. A new north-south street called Avalon Court would connect the two new streets.

Holecek said he was also concerned about having so many homes fronting Mayhew Road, which is narrow and rural. “This road has foot traffic on it constantly,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who ride their horses on this, walk their dogs.”

Attorney Stan Schultz, who is representing the Roths, said there is no reason to deny the project. “It’s very clear, as the staff report points out, that this project complies with the R3 code, complies with the Comprehensive Plan.”

The report from the city’s Community Development Department indicates that the project meets all the requirements and recommends approval of the project. Other local jurisdictions have reviewed the plan, including the Spokane Valley Fire Department. “They have reviewed this file and are requiring two new fire hydrants,” said assistant planner Christine Janssen.

The development proposal also includes 5-foot sidewalks on Mayhew and the new roads that would be built.

Spokane Valley Hearing Examiner Mike Dempsey said he will issue a written decision on the development in two weeks. That decision can be appealed in Spokane County Superior Court.

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