Don Haynes is appealing a hearing examiner decision denying his request to rezone 101 acres near the Little Spokane River for 103 homes.
Spokane County Commissioners will hear the appeal Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the assembly room on the lower level of the Public Works Building.
Throughout the nearly year-long process, Haynes has insisted he wants his land developed as a park, not for houses.
Negotiations with the Trust for Public Lands, which helps public agencies acquire land for public use, apparently disintegrated recently when they offered Haynes significantly less than he was hoping for.
“I was willing to bend over backwards for them, I was very sincere about it,” said Haynes. “But property values around here are going for so much more than they offered.
“I’m not going to give it away. I was promised a fair market value,” he said. “I have river frontage. That property is very valuable.”
The property is west of Leona Drive and south of the Little Spokane. Under current zoning, about 25 homes could be built on the land.
The rezoning was denied for several reasons, but primarily because it’s outside the sewer service area and no sewers are planned.
Haynes said he filed the appeal because several issues brought up in the original hearing need clarification.
“I had a promise by the commissioners in 1995 to hook on to sewers. I went forward with this in good faith,” he said.
Haynes’ family has owned the land since the 1940s. He says taxes on the land are $12,000 per year, and rising. The tax bill takes most of his annual salary as a county bailiff. He has taken a second job playing piano to make ends meet.
Chris Rogers, project manager for the Trust for Public Lands, said their negotiations with Haynes are on hold.
“There is still strong community interest in this land as a park,” said Rogers. “It is a very competitive process, and there isn’t a lot of money available.
“We would like to continue working with him,” said Rogers.
City Hearing Examiner Greg Smith filed the decision. Michael Dempsey, the county’s hearing examiner, stepped aside because of a conflict.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Map: Proposed Haynes Estate development
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