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Council discusses undeveloped land

Sat., July 13, 2013, midnight

Lack of sewer service at industrial sites deterring companies

There is good news and bad news in Spokane Valley: The city has 742 acres of vacant industrial land, but most of it is not connected to the sewer.

The city’s Economic Development Committee sees adding sewer service to some of that land – particularly the swath between Trent Avenue and the Spokane River from Flora Road to the eastern city limits – as a way to attract businesses to the Spokane Valley.

Various companies over the years have looked at that land, which has rail access, but have been deterred because there is no sewer. The cost of adding sewer has not been determined.

Only 118 acres of industrial land is on the sewer system, most of it near the Spokane Industrial Park on Sullivan Road.

The city has 705 acres of vacant land zoned low-density residential inside the city limits. An additional 969 acres are considered only partially used. A lot is considered partially used if it is at least five times the minimum residential lot size required, Spokane Valley Senior Planner Mike Basinger told the City Council on Tuesday. For example, lots zoned R-2 must be at least 10,000 square feet so any lot larger than 50,000 square feet would be considered partially used.

Most of the lots identified as partially used are in the Greenacres neighborhood, with another cluster located north of Trent and west of Evergreen Road as well as a few in the Ponderosa neighborhood.

Council members questioned whether partially used lots are truly available for development. There may be hills or other conditions that would make building difficult, said Councilman Dean Grafos. “Most of those parcels are not developable,” he said.

Councilman Arne Woodard pointed to a parcel he owns listed as partially used near the city limits west of Sullivan Road. He owns 1.3 acres, but there’s a steep slope on site, he said. “There’s no way in hell you’re going to put nine houses on my property,” Woodard said.

Basinger said the number of partially used acres available may not be precise because of on-site conditions. “You’re point is well taken,” he said. “It gives us an idea.”

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