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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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City of Spokane Valley to hold public hearing for one-year moratorium on planned residential developments

Spokane Valley City Hall.  (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Valley City Hall. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The public will have a chance to weigh in on the city of Spokane Valley’s moratorium on planned residential developments on Tuesday.

The measure was put into place after city leaders say some developers were trying to use a loophole to build apartments and other multifamily housing in residential neighborhoods.

The Spokane Valley City Council adopted the emergency one-year moratorium in November. Tuesday’s 6 p.m. public hearing will be the public’s first opportunity to weigh in on the ban on these types of developments.

Planned Residential Developments is a category the city adopted into its code in 2016. It allows multiple types of housing, including apartments, single family houses and commercial stores, to be built in one project; such developments are technically allowed in any part of the city.

Spokane Valley Mayor Ben Wick said the original intent behind that category was to allow developers to create functional communities and offer flexibility. He said the City Council adopted several other changes in 2020 including creating a new zone, but did not include any changes to Planned Residential Developments that limited where they could go, or what was included.

He said the moratorium will give the city and the planning commission an opportunity to review these types of developments to see if the lack of restrictions should be changed, or if more guidance is needed to limit these types of developments to more appropriate areas.

He said the council’s emergency moratorium also prevented a flood of these types of developments being approved during the brief window the City Council considered limiting them.

“The one thing the council didn’t want to allow to happen is have a whole bunch of planned residential applications come in and be grandfathered in before we can plan,” he said.

Tuesday’s public hearing will be during the City Council’s regular meeting, which is being held virtually due to the pandemic. Those wishing to comment can sign up to comment online by email and must alert the city clerk by 4 p.m. the day of the meeting to participate. Links to attend the meeting or comment can be found on the meeting section of the city’s website.

The Spokane Valley Planning Commission has already met once to look over issues and will continue to meet after Tuesday’s meeting to discuss potential changes. Once the commission puts together a recommendation, the City Council will look over it and eventually have a chance to vote.

Wick advised those who have concerns about these types of developments to also tune into planning commission meetings. Information about the Spokane Valley Planning Commission can be found on the agenda and meeting section of the city’s website.

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