Greenacres neighbors against proposed rezone

So many people spoke in opposition to a plan to rezone a piece of property in Greenacres to high density residential to allow an apartment complex that the public hearing before the Spokane Valley Planning Commission Thursday was continued to the next meeting March 13.

The 5-acre parcel is located on the northeast corner of Sprague Avenue and Barker Road and is currently zoned low density residential. Neighbors spoke about increased crime, loss of privacy, overcrowded schools and more traffic coming through an intersection that already sees significant backups. Several scoffed at a Whipple Consulting Engineers estimate that a 100 unit complex would generate about 39 traffic trips during peak hours.

Resident Jackie Williams said she thought the traffic number should be at least 200. “It doesn’t take a second-grader to do the math,” she said.

Toward the end of the hearing, Todd Whipple of Whipple Consulting said the 39 trips would be only during the peak morning traffic hour and peak afternoon hour. Whipple said a complex of that size would generate 665 car trips per day, a statement that generated several gasps of alarm from the crowd.

The parcel is surrounded by land zoned low and medium density with single family homes, with the exception of a single parcel immediately to the north that is zoned high density residential. It is that existing parcel, which was rezoned by Spokane County in 1996, that would allow the current rezone request, said senior planner Lori Barlow.

Several neighbors pointed out that the existing high density parcel is being used as a pasture. “It’s not high density,” said William Currier. “There’s eight cows.”

“Houses would be fine there,” Dallas Williams said. “It would fit. Cows north of the apartments? That doesn’t fit.”

The rural nature of the neighborhood with large lots and farm animals was a key argument made by several residents. “The property may meet the criteria, but it’s inappropriate,” said Scott Jutte, who said he now has seven immediate neighbors. “This property is trying to give me 300.”

George Kovacs said he recently bought a house in the area. “I don’t know what genius thought this was a good idea,” he said. “This plan has no thought.”

Another rezone request also generated negative comments during Thursday’s hearing. When the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service bought the old Harley Davidson dealership at Trent Avenue and Bradley Road, the deal included a vacant parcel just to the north. SCRAPS has asked to have that rezoned from low density residential to corridor mixed use so a dog walking area can be put on the site.

Two residents spoke in opposition, asking the planning commission to keep the property as buffer between their homes and the commercial area along Trent. “I will not tolerate any increase of traffic on Bradley,” said Mark Shollenberger.

Shollenberger said he was concerned about illness. “If any of my pets become ill because of SCRAPS, God help you,” he said.

Once the public hearing is concluded, the planning commission will make recommendations to the City Council on whether the zone changes should be approved. The council has the final say and can accept or reject the commission’s decision.

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