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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington Voices

Millwood Planner Wants Public Input On Growth

Heather Cannon, a planner for Millwood, is waging a one-woman war.

The town is developing its comprehensive plan - a vision for how the town should grow over the next 20 years - and Cannon urges Millwood residents from 10 years old to 100 to join the process.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve lived here, or if you only work here, you should have an interest,” Cannon said.

She also wants to jolt people out of thinking “it’s always been this way” - and into realizing that they can shape the town’s growth.

Growth? But isn’t Millwood landlocked?

“Millwood doesn’t have that much vacant land, but it does have redevelopment.”

In other words, old buildings are coming down to make way for new development. In recent weeks, for instance, demolition crews have knocked down two buildings within three blocks of each other on the west side of Argonne.

“How much higher do you want that new density to be?” Cannon asked.

A series of monthly public meetings has been scheduled, starting July 14, on various parts of Millwood’s land-use plan.

The July 14 meeting, to start at 6 p.m. at Millwood Town Hall, will focus on the town’s infrastructure - streets, sewer, police and utilities. A meeting on Aug. 11 will look at transportation; on Sept. 15 the topic will be housing.

The land-use plan should be complete by February 1998, Cannon estimates.

Millwood wrote its zoning code in 1955.

“The interesting thing is that Millwood didn’t actually develop the way people thought it would,” Cannon said. The northeastern residential area, bordered by Empire Avenue, Woodruff and the Spokane River, remained predominantly single-family homes. The existing zoning code, however, allows much more dense residential uses: apartment houses, condos, even hotels.

Don’t suggest to Cannon that no one could possibly hope to build a hotel in the neighborhood, because she’ll point to what she says could be a potential site - the open land along the southern bank of the river. Just because that land “has always been that way” is no guarantee that it will always be that way in the future, Cannon says.

“The point is, do people want it to stay the way it is now? Or what do they want it to look like in the future?”

, DataTimes

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