A Realtor from Mead filed a proposal Tuesday to form a city north of Spokane - hours before Spokane County set new rules that would have prevented such a move.
Most of the city Jack Dein proposes would be outside the urban growth area county commissioners adopted. Under the state Growth Management Act, cities can only be formed in designated urban areas.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Dein could successfully skirt the new regulations with his last-minute move.
Susan Winchell, planner for the governor-appointed Boundary Review Board of Spokane County, said the board would have to “lop off” any area not designated urban, based on past court cases. The board reviews incorporation proposals and can modify the boundaries before they make the ballot.
Other experts weren’t as certain as Winchell, since the proposal was submitted before commissioners set urban boundaries.
“A lot of attorneys are going to be paid a lot of money to figure that out,” said John Mercer, the county planner in charge of growth management.
With 20,000 residents, the city of Mead would cover about 22 square miles, stretching from Five Mile Prairie on the west to Peone Prairie on the east. It would include Wandermere Golf Course, miles of Little Spokane River shoreline and hundreds of acres north of the river.
Much of that area is sparsely populated. Under growth management, the entire city automatically would be slated for urban growth.
Dein must collect signatures of 10 percent of the registered voters in the proposed city to put the issue on the ballot.
Attempts to reach Dein were unsuccessful Tuesday. Julie Dein, his wife and fellow Realtor, said they’re hoping for a vote next fall.
Many Mead residents are angry about being left out of the urban boundaries. But Julie Dein said that’s just one issue driving incorporation.
“There are neighborhood issues with all of us, and school issues,” she said. “We’ve been talking about this for months.”
Some residents fear their neighborhood will be annexed by the city of Spokane, she said, although only areas designated urban can be annexed.
Annexation was the key issue in 1992, when Mead was part of a proposed North Side city. The issue never reached the ballot.
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