At its meeting Tuesday night, the Spokane Valley City Council heard appeals of a proposal to build 21 houses on a 4.6 acre lot in Greenacres, which was approved by the Valley hearing examiner.
The neighbors’ appeal of a rezone for the site near where South Barker Road intersects Fourth Avenue and a separate appeal by the land owner, Dennis Crapo, aimed at the hearing examiner’s decision to forbid building the subdivision as a planned unit development were the first appeals the council had heard since the city’s incorporation.
The council, given binders over an inch thick with evidence and documents, had several legal questions on the appeals process for the city attorney and will again consider the issue at a future meeting.
People who live next to the proposed development argued that the area is still rural, with large lots and roads that were not built to handle higher housing densities. They contend that the hearing examiner was incorrect to assume that there had been a change of circumstances in the area since it was last zoned that would justify rezoning the lot to allow more houses. They also had concerns about the lack of an environmental impact study for the development.
“There has not been a substantial change in the use of the land,” Stephen Hormel said at the meeting.
Meg Arpin, a lawyer for the developer, said adoption of the city’s present comprehensive plan constituted the change of circumstances because it classifies the land as low density residential, a category that the new zoning falls under. Even if that weren’t the case, the developer doesn’t have to show a change of circumstances if the development is consistent with the comprehensive plan, she said.
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