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

Split council endorses Logan planning goals

The Logan neighborhood’s vision of fostering a walkable, South Perry-style commercial district in the future got a nonbinding endorsement from city leaders this week despite concern among some that it could be unrealistic given the heavy traffic loads on Hamilton Street.

“These are long-term vision documents,” said Councilwoman Amber Waldref, whose district includes the Logan neighborhood. “Some elements may or may not be implemented.”

A resolution supporting the neighborhood’s efforts to establish planning and development goals won 4-3 council support Monday night.

Among those opposing it was Councilman Mike Fagan, who said that even though he represents the Logan neighborhood and supports citizen involvement in developing community goals, he worried that it could give residents false hope that their desire to narrow Hamilton Street through a portion of the neighborhood would be backed by the full council. Hamilton is the city’s second-busiest north-south arterial.

“This is a tough one,” Fagan said, noting he was active in his Hillyard neighborhood council and dealt with a similar issue. “We had a chance to (narrow) Market Street but we decided not to because it’s a high-traffic corridor.”

The plan is part of a city effort to embrace what’s known as form-based codes, which are designed to insure that new development complements the existing neighborhood appearance and fits with residents’ long-term goals. A separate zoning ordinance that would regulate development along the Hamilton corridor is expected to be introduced soon.

Several people testified against the resolution, many taking aim at the plan’s goal of eventually narrowing Hamilton from five lanes to three.

Some noted that Spokane was forced to widen arterials in the past to help get traffic moving and cut down on air pollution from idling vehicles stuck on congested roads. But others pointed out that the North Spokane Corridor is expected to ease traffic on Hamilton once it connects to Interstate 90 and that no changes would be proposed to an arterial without fully studying the potential impacts.