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Zoning change near airport will get second look

Proposal rejected by Planning Commission

A proposal to allow high-density residential development near Spokane International Airport, panned by the county Planning Commission, will get a second chance.

County commissioners will conduct their own public hearing Nov. 22 on a proposed comprehensive plan amendment and zone change for 7.8 acres at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 2 and Geiger Boulevard.

The change, from light industrial to mixed-use zoning, would effectively reverse a 2008 action in which commissioners corrected a blunder that inadvertently allowed housing in light industrial zones.

With Anthony Carollo and Alene Lindstrand dissenting, planning commissioners said real estate agent Greg Blessing’s request would violate county goals by allowing housing to encroach on the airport.

Another proposal that will get a second public hearing during Thanksgiving week is developer Harley Douglass’ request to rezone 22.3 acres from low- to medium-density residential.

The land is northwest of the intersection of Waikiki and North Five Mile roads. Douglass wants to build apartments instead of the 26 single-family houses and 12 duplexes allowed by the site’s preliminary plat.

Planning commissioners recommended denial on grounds that roads in the area can’t handle the additional traffic. Commissioners Carollo and Peter Rayner dissented.

County commissioners approved a half-dozen other Planning Commission recommendations on Oct. 25.

One of those requires conditional use permits and public hearings for mining operations.

Another comprehensive plan revision adopts a change in state law that extends Spokane County’s deadline for updating its urban growth areas from this year to 2017. Thereafter, updates will be required every eight years instead of every 10.

Planning commissioners unanimously recommended the mining and growth-area changes.

County commissioners accepted the Planning Commission’s 5-1 recommendation to fold a zone change proposed by Kunze Farms Investment Co. into the urban growth area update.

Kunze Farms wanted a straight zone change, but the Planning Commission thought that proposed development should be in an urban growth area. Commissioner Mike Cummings dissented.

The proposed change would convert 40 West Plains acres, at the corner of Aero and Thomas Mallen roads, from urban reserve to low-density residential.

Also on Oct. 25, county commissioners approved two zone changes that were unanimously recommended by the Planning Commission.

They include:

•  A request by Richard Vandervert, Wheatland Bank and Frank’s Diner to rezone 23.6 acres on the west side of U.S. Highway 2, at its intersection with Nevada Street, from mixed-use to regional commercial zoning. The change will allow a strip mall next to the new YMCA center.

•  Genevieve Jensen’s request to rezone one acre at 5322 N. Corrigan Road, in Otis Orchards, from rural-5 to limited area commercial and light industrial zoning. The change allows a wholesale distribution center next door to expand.