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Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Medical Lake crafts shore plan

It’s not unusual to see dozens of people using the trails and parks around Medical Lake – running, walking dogs or putting boats in the water. But this well-loved lake is showing wear and tear.

Millwood corrects old alley oversight

Millwood City Council voted to correct an oversight dating back to 1980 during Tuesday night’s regular council meeting. In June, the council approved vacating a portion of an alley located between Dalton and Euclid avenues. Millwood Presbyterian Church was to pay $1,000 and the property would be transferred to the church, which requested the property vacated for its planned $1 million expansion project on the south side of its current building.

City will pursue grant for Sullivan bridge

The city of Spokane Valley has an opportunity to get a grant for the $10 million needed to build a replacement for the failing Sullivan Road Bridge that carries southbound traffic. The city had to impose weight restrictions on the bridge earlier this year to slow the deterioration, which has affected local businesses and trucking companies. The city has already obtained $10 million in grants for the projects, but needs double that to cover the anticipated cost of the bridge.

County commission objects to shoreline rules

A state rewrite of Spokane County’s shoreline regulations is a “prime example” of state agencies “out of control,” Commissioner Mark Richard said Tuesday. With Washington’s budget on life support, the Department of Ecology should focus on “core issues” instead of meddling in “local business,” Richard said.

Former official criticizes council on shoreline rules

Spokane’s former chief operating officer suggested Monday that the city and state used “Chicago-style politics” in the creation of shoreline protections that would restrict development along part of his property near Latah Creek. John Pilcher, who served under former Mayor Dennis Hession as the city’s top non-elected official, accused the state Ecology Department and the city of Spokane of delaying some decisions about shoreline rules until the new City Council took office in January.

Zoning review starts

The Spokane Valley City Council took its first step Tuesday in a months-long process to review the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan, a dramatic – and controversial – rezone approved last year. The council was presented with a quick update of the economic analysis done by a consultant in 2006. “You can use the information or not, but we feel a responsibility to at least present it to you,” said Community Development Director Kathy McClung.

Testimony favors undeveloped shorelines

A slide show of waterfowl, a recording of a songbird and a few human cries for the defense of private property rights greeted Spokane County commissioners Tuesday night as they heard testimony about changes to the Shoreline Master Program. Most of the two dozen speakers asked commissioners to do away with any changes that they perceived would allow more development along the Spokane River or the McKenzie Bay area of Liberty Lake.

Verner vetoes shoreline-law exception

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner has nixed part of the city’s extensive new shoreline law over an amendment that would make an exception for a section of land owned by the city’s former CEO. Next week, the Spokane City Council will decide if it will override Verner’s veto of development rules along Latah Creek. The council voted last month to enlarge the zone where no construction is allowed from 100 feet to 200 feet along most of the waterway. But along a 900-foot section owned by former Spokane CEO John Pilcher, council members changed the proposal to keep the 100-foot buffer.

Eroding confidence

Spokane County’s efforts to craft new regulations for 750 miles of shorelines along rivers, lakes and streams are too little, too late, according to the Washington Department of Ecology, where officials are prepared to intervene and may end up rewriting portions of the county’s shoreline master plan. In 2004 the county received $300,000 in state grants to update its 33-year-old plan. The county was supposed to adopt a new shoreline master plan by January 2007.

Shoreline plan goes public

A comprehensive revision of the city’s shoreline master plan – including new regulations on the height and mass of buildings near the Spokane River and Latah Creek – goes before the public in an open house today and then in a public hearing on Wednesday before the city Plan Commission. Under the proposal, developers would no longer be able to erect large high-rise towers, but rather would have to build skinnier towers to allow views around them in coming years. Buildings below 55 feet in height would be allowed to cover larger areas, however.