The Logan neighborhood and the city of Spokane are working on a new model for planning and zoning.
At an open house earlier this month, the neighborhood stakeholder group and the city’s Planning Department presented its form-based zoning code ideas to the neighborhood, including the North Foothills employment center and the Hamilton Street corridor.
The Hamilton business area is heavy on traffic – two lanes in each direction and a turn lane – and it is home to a mix of businesses, single-family homes, apartments and offices, but it’s not pedestrian friendly – especially during bumper-to-bumper rush hour.
“I think people who drive through here look at it as just a thoroughfare, but as neighbors we don’t see it like that,” said Karen Byrd, chairwoman of the neighborhood planning stakeholder group. “The neighborhood wants pedestrian safety. We want a neighborhood where people will both work and play.”
A news release from the city of Spokane explained that Logan’s proposed form-based zoning code will simplify the development design and permit review process and replace the current centers and corridors zoning.
Form-based zoning code relies on the physical structures – buildings, streets, sidewalks – already in the neighborhood to determine how development occurs, instead of focusing on separation of uses such as commercial and residential.
Byrd said Logan’s form-based code would allow for higher density development, but has more specific design guidelines such as designations for public space and mixed-use housing, as well as requirements for street-scaping that will increase green space.
“It’s a different way of going through a land-use zoning change,” Byrd said. “We are implementing the comprehensive plan but we are doing it based on the neighborhood’s vision.”
The Logan form-based zoning code project is one of three pilot projects supported by the city. The two other areas that will go through the same process are the North Monroe business corridor and the Lincoln Heights area, along 29th Avenue.
In the Logan neighborhood, one idea is to take Hamilton Street down to two lanes and a center turn lane, allowing more space for deeper sidewalks, street trees and curb bump-outs.
“Yes, that would slow down traffic, but the estimated delay is no more than 30 seconds,” Byrd said. She added that she hoped the North Spokane Corridor will come to fruition soon and take some of the traffic off Hamilton.
Byrd, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years, said she loves the area – especially the many new restaurants like Clover on Sharp Avenue.
“I think this is the right time for this development. We have put a lot of work into this,” Byrd said.