Spokane Valley council OKs Evergreen project

THURSDAY, FEB. 9, 2012

Residents along south Evergreen Road will have the street in front of their homes fully repaved this summer after Vera Water and Power installs a new water line underneath the road.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to do the full-width paving project. Councilman Gary Schimmels was absent.

In a previous meeting several council members seemed hesitant about the project, but appeared to have their concerns addressed this week.

The water line will run under Evergreen from 16th to 32nd avenues and under 32nd from Evergreen to Best Road. Most of the street will be ground down and a new asphalt overlay put in, but the section of Evergreen between 24th and 32nd has deteriorated so badly it will be completely ripped up and replaced. Bike lanes will be added on both sides and sidewalks will be put in on two sections on the east side of the street south of 24th. The road will have to be widened in a couple of spots to accommodate the bike lanes, said senior capital projects engineer Steve Worley.

Councilman Arne Woodard had expressed concern about spending $80,000 to put in stripes for the bike lanes. Worley said it will actually cost the city an additional $20,000 to put in plastic lane stripes that will last a long time or $2,600 to paint on lane stripes that would likely have to be repainted annually.

“We went and looked at it in detail,” Worley said.

It has been evident that Evergreen needs to be fixed and city staff has unsuccessfully applied for a grant to pay for the project several times, Worleys said. It makes sense to do the project when a portion of the road is being ripped up anyway, he added.

The estimated cost of the project to the city is $684,000; Vera will pay $275,000 for their portion of the paving. “We feel this is the best bang for city dollars,” Worley said.

Councilman Chuck Hafner questioned whether Evergreen was in worse shape than other roads in need of preservation work. Worley said he spoke to the city’s road maintenance crews and they all agreed that Evergreen was the one in most need of repair, Worley said.

Mayor Tom Towey said the city should do a full repave to be consistent with what was done after recent sewer installation projects. “We certainly should strengthen that roadway out there,” he said.

In other business, Councilmen Dean Grafos and Woodard both learned they have nonconforming barbed wire fencing on property they own. The council was reviewing proposed landscaping and fencing code changes recommended by the city’s Planning Commission when they made the discovery. The current code does not allow barbed wire fencing on commercial property adjacent to any public right of way and barbed wire fences are currently banned in residential zones.

Barbed wire in commercial zones is limited to the top fourth of the fence and Grafos suggested removing the right of way limitation.

“I would rather see that it would be allowed,” he said. Grafos has a barbed wire-topped fence around his mini-storage business at Sprague Avenue and Conklin Road that runs next to the sidewalk in places. “I can tell you from personal experience it works and it is a deterrent,” he said.

The new language suggested by the Planning Commission would allow barbed wire fencing in residential areas if it was used to confine animals. Woodard said he has a section of barbed wire fence on his property that was there when he purchased it, but he doesn’t have any animals.

The council decided to change the language to allow barbed wire-topped fences in commercial zones if the wire is on vertical posts or angled away from the sidewalk and to grandfather in barbed wire fences in commercial or residential zones that already exist. Towey said he didn’t see any reason to make existing fences nonconforming.

The proposed new landscaping rules would eliminate a requirement for a landscape architect on smaller projects and not require any landscaping for a new sign on a developed site or if fewer than 10 parking stalls are added to an existing site.

The council is tentatively scheduled to have a first reading of an ordinance with the new fencing and landscaping language at the Feb. 28 council meeting.

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