Browne’s Addition neighborhood earned an additional six months to make its pitch to the city for protections of historical homes and apartment buildings this week after the City Council voted to halt demolition.
“We’re quite vulnerable right now, as the business district in Spokane gets stronger, and living spaces in downtown become more available, the neighborhood is going to become more attractive as a place to come live,” said Rick Biggerstaff, chairman of the Browne’s Addition neighborhood council.
That could mean future development requiring razing of expansive houses and apartment buildings that have long been a part of Spokane’s oldest neighborhood. City Councilwoman Lori Kinnear, who sponsored the moratorium, said the neighborhood needed to be given time to complete the application to become a historic district under city laws.
“One house has come down already,” Kinnear said, referring to the demolition of an older home at Second Avenue and Chestnut Street to make way for planned apartments and town homes. “So in order to give them time to complete their survey, I’m asking that we impose this moratorium for six months, to give them that little bit of time to move forward.”
Biggerstaff said the neighborhood council had already polled several property owners who live in Browne’s Addition, all of whom endorsed moving forward with the historic district designation. Under those rules, any proposed demolition, rehab or construction would require review to determine if the work is compatible with the character of the neighborhood.
“The moratorium lets us relax, and know that we don’t have to look over our shoulders and see another house coming down,” he said.
The moratorium prevents city officials from processing any demolition permits in the neighborhood. A public hearing has been scheduled before the City Council at its May 22 meeting to discuss whether the moratorium will be authorized for the full six months, which began with the signing of the law Monday.
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