April 3, 2014 in Washington Voices

Logan residents angered by McDonald’s design

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Spokane city councilwoman Amber Waldref, speaking, and State Senator Andy Billig, left, are joined by Logan neighbors and business people at a press conference to address the construction of a McDonald’s at Hamilton and Augusta, on Friday.
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The sign above the construction site for the new McDonald’s drive-through restaurant in the Logan neighborhood reads: Come see us in June.

It’s being built on the corner of Augusta Avenue and North Hamilton Street, immediately across the street from Safeway. Neighborhood residents, and especially Karen Byrd, are furious the city issued the building permits.

“It goes against everything we have planned for the neighborhood,” Byrd said last week. “And we were partners with the city in developing new form-based code for this neighborhood.”

On Friday, Byrd and Councilwoman Amber Waldref held a press conference with state Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, across the street from where construction has begun.

“McDonald’s got in under the wire,” Waldref said at the press conference. “It is unfortunate that we are here today.”

A little more than a year ago, the Logan neighborhood partnered with the city Planning Department to develop a plan using form-based zoning for the area around the intersection of North Hamilton Street and East Mission Avenue. 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 commerical and residential.

In February 2013, the city said the Logan neighborhood’s form-based zoning code would simplify the development design and permit review process.

The zoning plan calls for new buildings to face the sidewalk with parking lots behind them.

“Other new developments here, like the Clementine, had no problem following the guidelines,” Byrd said, “but McDonald’s chose to ignore them.”

Developers are not yet required to follow the form-based zoning because the plan has yet to be adopted by the City Council, something Waldref said she hoped would happen in April.

Preventing new developments from violating neighborhood plans is a challenge, Waldref said.

“We are trying to change the code and the law,” Waldref said, adding that she hopes something can be done to make sure other neighborhoods don’t end up in the same situation.

Billig said he’d reached out to the developers of the restaurant hoping to initiate a dialogue with the neighborhood.

After a meeting with McDonald’s officials on Tuesday, Byrd said McDonald’s declined to change the design of the building.

Mark Ray Sr., the owner of Spokane Food Services Inc., which will operate the new restaurant, said in a press statement that his design team has worked closely with the city of Spokane Planning and Building Departments since May 2013 developing the new restaurant layout.

“As a local business owner, I care deeply about the community in which I do business. I look forward to being a part of the Logan neighborhood community,” the statement continued.

The drive-through restaurant will feature a walkup window and some outside seating, but no indoor dining room.

After Tuesday’s meeting Byrd said she is disappointed it’s too late to stop the restaurant.

“I will take all of this back to my neighborhood group and see where we will go from here,” she said.


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