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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Future of Painted Hills Golf Course uncertain

The majority of Painted Hills Golf Course has seen its last golf ball, if the new owner’s plan for a housing development goes through.

The future of the course has been uncertain since the previous owners declared bankruptcy and shut it down. The property was purchased by Dave Black of Black Realty Inc. for $1.1 million in a trustee’s auction in October.

Broker Bryan Walker presented development ideas to a group of neighbors earlier this month. His discussion centered on plans to keep the short par-3 course and the driving range, turn the clubhouse into a restaurant and put multifamily housing on the rest of the 91 acres.

“It was a brainstorming session for me to hear their concerns,” Walker said. “We have an interested party that would like to lease the par-3 and the driving range and the small building. If that comes to fruition, we would keep that.”

The development would likely include a mix of housing; it could become a mixed-use project like the Kendall Yards development in downtown Spokane, Walker said. “It’s a big enough site,” he said. “We’re trying to fit all that into a master plan.”

Walker said he has also had discussions with the city of Spokane Valley about using some of the land for a park. “I’m just trying to make sure that everybody that has a concern gets their voices heard,” he said.

Spokane Valley City Councilman Dean Grafos was among those attending the community meeting. “I was pleasantly surprised at their thinking,” Grafos said. The new owner appears to be trying to include the public in development plans and isn’t proposing hundreds of apartments, he said.

“It’s a great concept,” Grafos said. “The par-3 makes good money, and the driving range is a great asset for the schools and the kids that want to play golf and the neighborhood. If they’re going to do that, I think it’s a win for the community.”

There are a few hoops to jump through before any plans can become reality. The property is zoned low-density residential, which allows six homes per acre, and could need to be rezoned. If the owners create a planned residential development, however, the project could have higher housing density without a rezone as long as at least 30 percent of the property is dedicated as open space.

The biggest hurdle, however, is that part of the former course sits in the Chester Creek flood plain. It’s not just a designation on a map: a portion of the site floods every spring during high water flows. Walker said a soil study is underway. “We’re trying to solve that problem, so we won’t have a flood situation there anymore,” he said. “We’re obviously going to work very hard on that particular topic before we finish any sort of plan.”

Walker estimates that it will be at least a year before development plans are finalized. “My goal is to really cooperate with the neighbors,” he said. “People loved it out there.”