May 3, 2012 in Business

Land near Fairchild readied for future

County starting environmental checkup of Geiger Spur property
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Spokane County is launching an environmental assessment on 140 acres it owns near Fairchild Air Force Base in an effort to make the land attractive to employers who would bring jobs to the region.

The county bought the land as part of the $6.2 million rerouting of the Geiger Spur rail line that serves industry on the West Plains.

County commissioners said they want to piggyback on that asset by getting the spur property shovel-ready for economic development.

Transportation, sewer and water are the major issues that need to be addressed, commissioners said.

The land is west of Craig Road between McFarlane and Thorpe roads.

Adjacent property owners will be asked if they want to join in the environmental assessment through a consultant the county would hire.

A pair of right-angle turns on Craig Road at the southern side of the property would pose an obstacle for truck transportation, commissioners said. Better access will be needed to the site from Interstate 90 and state Highway 902, commissioners said.

A determination of environmental significance would lead to a limited environmental impact statement, Planning Director John Pederson said.

This will be the first time the process has been undertaken in Spokane County, but it has been used elsewhere in Washington, and has proven successful, Pederson said.

Spokane city officials have indicated willingness to extend city sewer and water service to the area as part of a wider agreement that would keep the land off-limits to city annexation.

In exchange, the county would share tax revenue from the property, Commissioner Al French said.

Spokane International Airport recently bought a smaller parcel at the southwest corner of Craig and McFarlane.

The county also owns 105 acres northwest of Craig and McFarlane that will remain open space to protect Fairchild from the encroachment of development.

The property to the south could be developed without encroaching on flight paths and approaches, commissioners said.

Most training flights out of Fairchild circle to the north and northeast of the base. Aircraft generally don’t circle over land between Fairchild and the Spokane airport for safety reasons.

Geiger Spur was realigned in 2008 to get the tracks off Fairchild property as a security measure.

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