Spokane Valley officials approved a change to city code that allows developers to build hotels in industrial zones.
The zone change – approved in a 5-2 City Council vote – will allow hotels up to 25,000 square feet to be built in a heavy industrial zone if they face a main arterial road.
Hotels spanning more than the limit could be built on a case-by-case basis depending on environmental and neighborhood impacts.
The zone change was privately initiated by Steve Schmautz of SDS Realty Inc., who is the applicant for a proposed project at 2818 N. Sullivan Road, the site of Itron Inc.’s former headquarters.
Schmautz is planning to develop 12 acres into 150,000 square feet of office space, 110,000 square feet of warehouse space and an extended stay hotel, according to Spokane Valley planning commission documents.
E-commerce and marketing company Etailz announced in March it would be relocating its headquarters from Spokane’s University District to the site, which is near its existing warehouse at the Spokane Industrial Park.
The planning commission voted 4-3 last month to allow hotels in industrial zones and concluded hotel use in close proximity to industrial zones would add convenience for workers as well as provide economic incentives to the city.
The changes would apply to a small portion of Broadway Avenue west of Interstate 90, along Sullivan Road and on Barker Road north of the Spokane River – once the city classifies Barker as a principal arterial road.
Spokane Valley Councilman Ben Wick said he thought about the zone change, and although the northeast industrial area near Barker Road is under development, the amount of available industrial land is limited in the city.
“And hearing some comments from neighboring jurisdictions about the struggles and dilution of their industrial land and wishing that they hadn’t opened up as much other things to go into their industrial properties, I guess I’m a little hesitant on this one,” he said at a council meeting Tuesday evening. “I don’t know that I’m wanting to let nonindustrial uses in the industrial property.”
The city of Spokane allows hotels up to 20,000 square feet in industrial zones with certain permits, while Spokane County allows hotels only in light industrial areas.
Councilman Arne Woodard said he favored the zone change because it would be an industrial enhancement.
Woodard said it wouldn’t be much different than the Spokane Industrial Park and hotels could provide corporate travelers lodging they might have trouble finding, especially during high tourism seasons.
The Spokane Industrial Park has one hotel nearby – the La Quinta Inn and Suites – which was built in 1997 at the intersection of Sullivan Road and Kiernan Avenue, prior to Spokane Valley’s incorporation.
“The reason I think this is important is because the industrial park has people coming in to visit, whether they be corporate owners, corporate supply owners, supply representatives and so on,” Woodard said. “It makes it easy for putting those people up in a hotel.”
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