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Urban use areas could be expanded

County commissioners may alter growth boundary

A growth management update in Spokane County would expand the boundary where urban uses are allowed, opening new land for development.

Spokane County commissioners this week asked for additional environmental review on a handful of locations so that they can take a comprehensive look at areas proposed for urban use.

The commissioners have been working for months on a 10-year update of the county’s growth boundary, which was originally drawn in 2001 under state mandate.

Many of the locations under consideration already have housing tracts and other developments, or they may be places where developers have vested plats pre-dating establishment of the growth boundary.

The commissioners have received proposals from the Spokane County Planning Commission and a Steering Committee of Elected Officials. The commissioners are likely to pick and choose among the recommendations.

The commissioners ultimately will decide which gets into the urban area and which is left out.

A handful of areas could be removed from the boundary.

The proposals should be ready for final public comment, public hearings and a decision by the commissioners in September or October.

The county website contains documents and comments submitted on the proposals as well as the draft environmental study needed to implement any changes.

One of the largest areas to be potentially included in the growth area lies along U.S. Highway 2 north of Farwell Road and south of Greenbluff Road.

The steering committee wants that area included, but the planning commission deadlocked on adding it. Much of the area is developed with homes. Businesses line the highway.

The northeast section of the Five Mile bluff would remain in the rural area under current recommendations. That area remains an alternative that could be included by the commissioners.

A series of smaller areas are proposed along the south side of Spokane Valley. In addition, the Monte Del Ray hillside to the northwest of Trent Avenue at Wellesley Avenue is in the proposal.

Vacant land in the Glenrose neighborhood west of Glenrose Road and south of 37th Avenue is proposed for addition. Glenrose Prairie residents have long opposed that subdivision in an effort to maintain a rural feel in the area.

Also, an area in southeast Moran Prairie is under consideration for the urban growth area.

Elsewhere, urban expansion is proposed for an area along Government Way north of Greenwood Road, but below Palisades Park. It would include cemeteries there.

That proposed extension was reduced from an earlier proposal that would have added city-owned Palisades Park land at the top of the canyon rim. Neighbors have opposed an urban extension there.

An area south of Thorpe Road and west of Trainor Road could be removed under the proposals.

A site that might potentially hold a future jail south of state Highway 902 near Medical Lake could be designated as urban, too.

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