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Tuesday, June 2, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Residents Ask City For Construction Moratorium In/Around: Moran Prairie

Members of the Moran Prairie Neighborhood Association aren’t giving up on their call for a building moratorium in fast-growing southeast Spokane.

Association leaders have asked the city to impose a moratorium on all new development inside the incorporated portion of southeast Spokane.

Spokane County commissioners last spring rejected a moratorium involving unincorporated areas. Instead, the commissioners adopted temporary controls on storm-water disposal.

Now, Moran Prairie leaders have taken their moratorium request to a joint meeting of the city and county planning commissions.

At a meeting last week, association President Susan Brudnicki submitted a letter calling for the moratorium. The letter also warned the commissioners about the consequences of rapid commercial development in the area.

“We are not giving up on this moratorium,” she said. The association fears development will cause more flooding of streets, yards and even basements, problems that have worsened as development has increased in the past several years.

The Spokane Plan Commission is not likely to endorse a moratorium, said Planning Director Charlie Dotson.

Rather, the commission is poised to endorse the same controls adopted by the county this spring. Those new regulations required lined evaporation ponds instead of grassy depressions that collect storm water and allow it to seep into the ground. They also prohibit basements.

The city plan commission will consider a resolution urging the new storm-water controls at its regular meeting Aug. 13. If the plan commission approves the resolution, the issue will go before the City Council.

In any case, the proposed city regulations and the new county regulations would remain in effect until the county and city come up with a long-term solution to handling storm water on Moran and Glenrose prairies.

A consultant currently is studying the problem and is expected to make recommendations later this summer.

Now, a developer wants to build a new 70,000-square-foot superstore on Regal at 44th Avenue, which is just north of the existing Shopko store.

The site of the proposed store is a former wetland that has been filled with loose dirt. The land historically served as a drainage for snow melt and runoff.

Developers of the site, which is inside the city, are proposing a large grass settling pond. Underneath the grass would be several rock-lined ditches that would help absorb water from the parking lots and buildings.

The owners of the property are Dr. Ralph Berg and his wife Mary.

Even if the city adopts a moratorium or other controls, the changes probably will not affect the Bergs’ proposal because it was submitted prior to any new rules.

Much of the site won zoning for a superstore in 1989.

The Bergs are seeking to add two acres to the previously approved commercial site, and they need to get a revised development plan approved.

No hearing has been scheduled yet.

Brudnicki said the area already has a supermarket at 46th and Regal and several others on the South Hill nearby, so she questions the need for another similar store.

Moran Prairie association members said the Bergs’ proposal, combined with other developments already built, is catering to the automobile lifestyle of suburbia.

They want to see new developments incorporate plans that are more suited to neighborhoods, such as a coffee shop, where people can meet and talk.

The association has not taken an official position against the Bergs’ proposal. Brudnicki said they are studying the issues before deciding whether to fight the issue when it goes before the city hearing examiner.

“Right now, we are still gathering information,” Brudnicki said.

, DataTimes

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