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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Wandermere apartments get OK, with caveats

Spokane County Commissioners on Tuesday night ended what had become a lengthy negotiation targeting a proposed apartment complex near Wanderme Golf Course. Here's what they agreed to.

Planners outline ideas for Lincoln Heights

Experts in community planning from the Seattle-based Urban Land Institute Northwest said the Lincoln Heights district in southeast Spokane is at a crossroads. Good land-use planning, focusing on people and pedestrians instead of automobiles, could help revitalize the commercial area and create a vibrant urban space for more residents, panel members from the organization said recently.

Spokane County commissioners lose growth boundary challenge

Spokane County commissioners lost another round in the ongoing dispute over how and where the county’s population will grow. Three appellate judges ruled last week commissioners didn’t provide enough public notice before revising urban growth boundaries in July 2013. The decision leaves in place a mediation process between Spokane County officials and members of neighborhood groups around the county, as well as the Washington departments of Commerce and Transportation, over where denser, urban development will be allowed.

Criminal justice panel, others have openings

The Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council is looking for two community members interested in aiding efforts to reform the county’s criminal justice system. The group, responsible for evaluating and suggesting changes to the criminal justice system at all levels, is accepting applications through July 10. Applicants should have experience with the system in Spokane County, whether that be in the jails, the courts or with law enforcement, must have no pending criminal cases against them and must be a county resident. Those selected will work alongside county commissioners, judges, attorneys and law enforcement.

Basalt mining permit sought

A property owner will try again to establish a controversial basalt mining operation on his 78 acres in western Spokane County. But Don Howell, a retired real estate agent who’s helping Ron Calhoon navigate the bureaucratic process, said the project is very different from the pit mining operations that have sparked controversy in Spokane Valley and does not broach the population density concerns that have seen several housing developments stall in the same procedure.

Recommended votes

A comprehensive plan amendment request needs four votes in favor to move forward to the Spokane Valley City Council with a recommendation from the planning commission; a tied vote means the CAR moves forward to the council without a recommendation and a vote to defer means the CAR is deferred to be part of the regular annual comprehensive plan update. Here are the planning commission’s recommendations:

Spokane Valley planning process confuses

A second meeting about citizen-led updates to Spokane Valley’s comprehensive plan quickly got confusing. The meeting of the Spokane Valley Planning Commission Monday followed a standing-room-only session Thursday, where public testimony ran for nearly three hours.

Spokane County considers 354-unity complex at Wandermere

While Spokane County commissioners weigh arguments over a proposed 354-unit apartment complex at Wandermere on the North Side, they’re also looking over three other proposed land-use changes that are being sought for commercial and residential development in unincorporated parts of the county. All three of the proposals won the endorsement of the Spokane County Planning Commission and are awaiting action by the commissioners, said Planning Director John Pederson.

County’s hiring of land-use attorney concerns urban growth expansion opponents

Opponents of Spokane County’s plans to expand areas where urban growth can occur say they’re concerned about the hiring of an attorney with strong ties to developers. In January, county commissioners approved the hiring of Stacy Bjordahl to consult with them on growth planning matters. The private practice land-use attorney is paid $200 an hour for services including mediation, negotiation and settlements.

Spokane County could restrict Wandermere apartment complex

Spokane County commissioners may be able to set restrictions on a proposed controversial apartment complex near Wandermere Golf Course. The developer, Rudeen Development, proposed to county officials this week capping the number of residences built on an 18-acre plot wedged between Wandermere Road and U.S. Highway 395. Residents of Gleneden Heights, a neighborhood to the east of the proposed development, have lobbied commissioners to axe the project because of increased traffic, stress on the Mead School District and an apartment complex’s effect on the environment and scenery.

Mielke touts county’s proactive approach in address

Spokane County government is reinventing itself in the same way the county’s signature courthouse has modernized, Commissioner Todd Mielke said in his State of the County address Friday morning. “We’ve not always been at the forefront,” Mielke said. “I think that, if you look at our history, there are times when we have been very satisfied with just having a seat at the table.”

County government invests in change

Spokane County government is reinventing itself in the same way the county’s signature courthouse has modernized, Commissioner Todd Mielke said in his state of the county address Friday morning.

Spokane County, Valley at odds over traffic roundabout

A spat between Spokane County and Spokane Valley over a controversial traffic roundabout has the two governments at legal odds. It is the second time this year the county has been sued by a municipal government; the first was when the city of Spokane took the county to court last month over a campaign promise that property tax rates would not increase for some residents following the passage of a street levy.

Kootenai County comprehensive plan to get another look

A long-running tug-of-war over how Kootenai County controls growth and development is swinging back toward private property interests. The last attempt to update the county’s land use code sparked a backlash from builders and rural landowners, and ended up in the trash can.

Judge sends Canterbury Bluff plat back to Spokane County planning

A Spokane County Superior Court judge said the county planning department and its hearing examiner failed to provide adequate protection for a wetland located in the heart of a proposed 25-home subdivision on North Hatch Road. Judge James M. Triplet ruled last month that the proposed Canterbury Bluff plat at 17714 N. Hatch Road inadequately addresses wetland protections as required under state law and the county’s critical areas ordinance.

Freddy Park in legal limbo over construction of a road

A forested park in the Wandermere neighborhood gifted to the county by retail company Fred Meyer will stay undeveloped for now. Earlier this week appellate judges kept in place an order prohibiting the construction of a road through Freddy Park to a proposed housing development approved by Spokane County commissioners in 2012. The case will return to Spokane County Superior Court for further proceedings.

Clash of cultures

On a tight budget but needing a place where he and his daughter’s family could live, Danny Smith and his son-in-law found a five-bedroom, five-bath home on nearly an acre in Spokane Valley two years ago and snatched it up right away. They’ve got chickens, 17 fruit trees, a small vineyard that produced about 400 pounds of grapes last year and a peaceful, tree-shaded backyard where three generations of the growing family enjoy visiting, relaxing and playing.