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City approves SCRAPS zone change

Shelter’s request only land-use proposal OK’d by the council this year

The new home for the region’s animal control service soon will include a big outdoor dog run on an adjacent parcel despite opposition from neighbors.

Spokane Valley City Council members decided unanimously Tuesday to approve a proposed land-use designation along Trent Avenue that was sought by Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services. The parcel, which is north of the new facility and sandwiched between a residential neighborhood and industrial area, will be converted from single-family residential to corridor mixed use.

Lori Barlow, senior planner for the Community Development Department said the yard would be a “reasonable transition and really a kind of buffer” between the residential homes and the light commerical and industrial uses already affecting the neighborhood. The council noted in its findings the yard would require a 6-foot fence and vegetation to shield it from its surroundings.

Some neighbors, however, objected to the plan, saying they worry about noise from barking dogs and about the safety of the neighborhood, if dangerous dogs ever escaped.

SCRAPS executive director Nancy Hill promised to be a good neighbor.

Hill had promised city leaders that the new walking area would be used during daylight hours only and all dogs would be on a leash with trained volunteers or potential dog owners, never left to roam. There would be a site-obscuring fence around it.

“Dogs being walked on a leash are generally happy dogs and do not bark,” Hill said in May. “Dogs bark when they are left unattended and are bored.” She also said SCRAPS is subject to ordinances regarding noise and barking dogs.

Hill also said SCRAPS will be a quiet neighbor in an area where freight trains routinely roll past and where forklifts and semitrucks are in use 24 hours a day at the nearby Mutual Materials plant.

The SCRAPS proposal was the only proposed land-use change approved this year by the city.

Council members rejected plans redesignate a 5-acre parcel at Barker Road and the old Sprague Avenue to multifamily use so developers could build apartment buildings in an area of the Valley that’s still mostly rural.

The council also rejected a plan to redesignate a parcel of city-owned property along the Centennial Trail near Mirabeau Park that would have enabled it to be sold and developed. The move initially was contemplated as a way to prepare for a potential sale or land swap that would facilitate development of a bridge to carry Pines traffic over railroad tracks.