Responding to community uproar over a planned McDonald’s drive-thru restaurant near Gonzaga University, the Spokane City Council this week imposed an emergency six-month moratorium on similar projects along Hamilton Street in the Logan neighborhood.
Spokane Valley is home to the largest marijuana-growing facility licensed by the state so far. Now city leaders, despite their near-unanimous dislike of legalized pot, are poised to open more industrial areas to potential cannabis production.
Your chances of surviving a heart attack at Spokane Valley City Hall soon will improve. After learning about a new effort that uses smartphones to alert CPR-trained volunteers to life-threatening emergencies nearby, city leaders decided to purchase a heart-jolting automated external defibrillator that paramedics say can dramatically improve chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest.
Motorists speeding through school zones could be the next target of Spokane’s push into automated traffic enforcement cameras. With statistics suggesting red-light cameras have helped improve safety at intersections, while also hauling in millions of dollars in fines, Spokane now wants to know more about automated speed cameras that state lawmakers have authorized for use in school and road construction zones. Seattle and Tacoma already are using them.
The Spokane City Council’s anti-sprawl measure appears dead. For now, anyway. Council President Ben Stuckart, rather than trying to muster support for an unlikely override of Mayor David Condon’s veto, is starting over.
After losing a 2011 bond measure, Newman Lake Fire and Rescue promised to get its finances in order. The fire district serving the northeastern portion of rural Spokane County restructured the volunteer department, paid off long-term debt and now is back with another ballot request this month that’s only about half the size of the earlier one.
Kris Stanford is trying to fix a quirk in state law that she considers an automatic death sentence for any dog declared “dangerous” by authorities. The Spokane woman’s puppy, Salon, was destroyed in 2012 after she was unable to obtain state-mandated liability insurance following an investigation that concluded the young pit bull terrier had attacked another dog. Stanford said she couldn’t find any insurance companies offering the $250,000 in coverage that state and local laws require for dogs with a history of biting.
Citing concerns about the region’s economic health, Spokane Mayor David Condon vetoed a contentious City Council plan Monday that relies on new utility restrictions to thwart improper sprawl outside city limits. It marked the first mayoral veto of Condon’s term and sets up a potential City Council scramble to find an unlikely fifth vote among the council’s three most conservative members to override it.
Spokane’s crackdown on unlicensed lodging is being put on hold. The city announced Friday it’s imposing a 120-day moratorium on investigating complaints against those who rent out rooms and other short-term accommodations in Spokane, often using online services such as Airbnb.com and VRBO.com to market and book them. Exceptions include any egregious risks to health and safety brought to the city’s attention.
Out of work and new to Eastern Washington last year, Mark Woolsey found a fresh start at Spokane Valley Library. He’d hoped to find a few self-help books but ended up getting far more than that. The library’s computer labs, public printers and free Wi-Fi enabled him to search for jobs and submit online applications. Librarians helped him update and improve the appearance of his résumé.
The plan to put more police on Spokane Valley’s streets when they’re needed most is moving forward. As expected, City Council members gave the green light Tuesday night to adding two additional deputies as part of a reorganization of the patrol division that includes creation of a fifth platoon to augment day and night shift staffing. The goal is to have more patrol deputies on the street when demand for police services tends to be highest.
A half dozen new bus shelters will be installed in Spokane Valley this summer and now it appears the Spokane Transit Authority has enough left over from a federal grant to put up five more. But there’s a catch: The city would have to acquire the easements, as well as pay for the design and construction of the 12-by-12-foot concrete pads where the additional shelters would be installed.
Growing, raising and selling your own food just got easier in Spokane. City Council members agreed Monday to lift zoning restrictions on small livestock and allow unlicensed produce stands in residential neighborhoods, a move backers hope will encourage more urban farming and sustainable lifestyles.
The likelihood of a fiery, Quebec-style oil train derailment in the Inland Northwest is considered remote but authorities already have begun planning for the worst as shipments of Bakken crude rolling through Spokane keep growing. “If we have a moderate to severe event, we’re going to be stretched very thin,” said Deputy Spokane Valley Fire Chief Andy Hail. “We’re looking at a potential depletion of local resources.”
A lobbying push is underway to persuade Spokane Mayor David Condon to veto a contentious anti-sprawl ordinance approved this week by a divided City Council. The Spokane Homebuilders Association, which was among several business groups that urged the measure’s defeat, is leading the drive. It would be the first veto of Condon’s term, and it’s unclear whether the City Council could muster the five votes needed to override it.
Spokane Valley took another step this week toward putting more police on the streets. City Council members want the budget scoured to find as much as $423,000 needed to pay for the proposal, which wasn’t included in Spokane Valley’s current annual spending plan that was put together last year. The plan also includes some equipment upgrades.
In a bid to curb unwanted sprawl, Spokane city leaders Monday imposed new prohibitions on extending water and sewer service to potentially contested developments outside city limits until any legal challenges are resolved. The 4-2 vote capped a marathon evening of public testimony pitting developers and business boosters against environmental activists, planners and fiscal conservatives. Councilmen Mike Allen and Mike Fagan opposed it.
Mayor Dean Grafos has thrown his support behind a $22 million library bond that would pay for two new branches in Spokane Valley and the expansion of a third near Millwood. Grafos, stressing that his personal support doesn’t constitute an official city of Spokane Valley endorsement, urged business leaders this week to consider backing the Spokane County Library District’s bond measure in next month’s special election.
City leaders want to know if government could do a better job running Spokane’s energy-producing trash incinerator. With potentially major changes coming over the next few years in how and where the region’s garbage is disposed, Spokane City Council members this week authorized a study of whether it would be more effective to operate the Waste-to-Energy Plant with city workers rather than extend the contract with Wheelabrator Technologies Inc.
Spokane Valley city leaders are open to joining the countywide garbage system but want to continue pushing forward with development of their own state-mandated plan so they can compare which is the better deal for residents. “I think the only prudent course for the city of Spokane Valley is to develop a solid waste plan and pursue it if we need it,” said Mayor Dean Grafos.
Beach volleyball enthusiasts are hoping Spokane Valley can become part of a tournament circuit. The city’s only public park that features sand volleyball courts is being studied for potential upgrades that would make it a more attractive tournament venue, which backers say could draw participants and spectators from throughout the Northwest.
Spokane Valley soon will have a cheaper way to deal with stormwater sludge sucked from thousands of flood-control wells across the city. A regional processing facility pushed by Spokane Valley took a major step forward Tuesday when City Council members agreed to pay a North Idaho company nearly $842,000 to build it. S&L Underground Inc., based in Bonners Ferry, was the lowest of six bidders.
After a decade of relying on rented office space, Spokane Valley City Hall may be closer to finding a permanent home. Owners of the former University City Mall have expressed interest in selling 2.5 acres at the corner of Sprague Avenue and South Dartmouth Road, which is across from the planned Balfour Park expansion and proposed new county library branch. The property owners reportedly also are offering to make aesthetic improvements to other parts of the property, including demolition of older buildings.
Don’t bother lobbying Spokane Valley City Council members by text message or email during meetings. The city Tuesday became one of the first in the state to ban council members from using electronic messaging during council meetings, a move that backers say is designed to help ensure transparency in public debate.