City officials and the developer of a planned car wash in Spokane’s West Central neighborhood say no residents will be evicted from their homes in advance of the project.
“Nobody is going to get thrown out in the cold, period,” said City Councilwoman Karen Stratton, who represents the district where the development is planned - property bounded by Maple and Ash streets, and Boone and Gardner avenues.
Developer Sarff Investments bought the 16 properties in waves earlier this fall. Larry Sarff, owner of the company, said he’d been working with residents since the summer to try to find alternative housing.
“We’re a family business,” Sarff said. “We’re going to bring 12 decent jobs to this neighborhood.”
Sarff intends to construct a car wash on the lots, he said, and move two of the homes on the property that remain in good enough shape for transport.
The parcels are zoned by the city for community business, which allows for limited commercial development, including drive-up businesses, as well as residential construction.
Some residents expressed concern about the project in television news reports and when contacted earlier this week. Carroline Weaver raised six children in her home on Ash Street, where she’s lived since 1996, she said.
“He didn’t give us very much notice,” Weaver said. She said Sarff appeared uncaring when he showed up in person to deliver the legal notice to vacate the premises.
Weaver has found an apartment on the South Hill, but said she was having difficulty locating help for her move.
Sarff said he provided more than double the legally required 20-day notice, sending renters a notice on Oct. 20. He also said he’d work with renters if they weren’t able to find other accommodations by Nov. 30.
Stratton said Friday the city would free up some housing funds to assist low-income renters on the block. She said caseworkers would be meeting with residents in the coming weeks to determine what help was needed.
She also said Sarff needed to come before the City Council to request an alley vacation and file some additional demolition permits before any work could begin on the block. That should give residents extra time to find housing, Stratton said.
Sarff was also invited to next week’s meeting of the West Central Neighborhood Council, Stratton said.
“We’re trying to make sure everyone that needs to be talking at this point is talking,” she said.
Staff reporter Eli Francovich contributed to this report.
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