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Barista ordinance advances in Spokane Valley

Thu., Nov. 14, 2013

A crowd filled the Spokane Valley City Council chambers Tuesday to hear the council vote to advance an ordinance regulating barista attire.

Two people spoke in favor of the ordinance, praising the council members for their decision.

Resident Shane Criddle said he was representing the Coalition for Community Values and that the city had “crafted a fine document” quickly. “We’re full of gratitude for what you have done,” he said.

Cheryl Demars said the council’s quick work had bolstered her faith in government representing the people.

Council members had no comments about the proposed ordinance, which states that at least half of women’s breasts must be covered by a “full and opaque covering.” The ordinance is a reaction to outrage about a “bikini barista” coffee stand two doors down from City Hall that advertises topless Tuesdays and Thursdays. On those days the baristas wear pasties and G-strings.

The vote to advance the ordinance to a second and final reading on Nov. 26 was unanimous. Councilman Arne Woodard was absent, but sent an email to be read into the record expressing his support.

In other business, the council voted to approve a comprehensive plan amendment docket. Most of the items on the docket are minor housekeeping items brought forward by the city. The city is also seeking to rezone land it owns near Mirabeau Park, and there are two privately initiated amendments. The proposed amendments now go to the city’s planning commission for consideration.

The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service has requested that a county-owned parcel at 2117 N. Bradley Ave. be rezoned from low-density residential to corridor mixed use. The parcel is directly north of county property at Trent Avenue and Bradley that is being converted into an animal shelter.

The second private amendment request would change 4.71 acres on the northeast corner of Sprague Avenue and Barker Road from low-density residential to high-density residential. The property has a house and barn on it. According to the Spokane County Assessor’s Office, it is owned by Wendell and Teresa Olson.

Councilman Ben Wick noted that if the Barker property were rezoned, there would be a parcel to its north zoned low density completely surrounded by property with higher zoning classifications.

Senior planner Lori Barlow said it’s not ideal to create an “island” of low density, but the owner of that parcel was uninterested in rezoning when approached about the neighboring zone change request.

“Perhaps the staff could contact the property owner,” Councilman Dean Grafos said. “Does that property owner understand what’s going on?”

The council also discussed a towing ordinance requested by the Spokane Valley Police Department. Currently when property owners find abandoned cars, they call a tow company to have them removed. Sometimes those cars are stolen and owners are “revictimized” when they have to pay towing and impound fees, said Deputy City Attorney Erik Lamb. The new ordinance would require towing companies to call police to check if a car has been reported stolen before it is towed.

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