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Single-room occupancy hotels accommodated downtown Spokane’s booming early 1900s, including the Albany, Regal and Stanford hotels. Rooms had a bed, sink, wardrobe and little else.
Spokane County will hold two workshops at the end of the week to gather public feedback on its comprehensive plan – the framework that dictates what can be built on land within county borders, and where.
School districts could have an easier time finding sites outside urban areas for new buildings under a bill moving through the Legislature.
Much of the work in the upcoming 2017 legislative session will be focused on changing how the state funds education and addressing the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. This effort will be long, arduous, complicated and fraught with political spin from every special interest group in Olympia. But what if there was a fairly simple, straightforward, cost-effective bipartisan idea to help lower class size throughout the state? The concept of fewer students in the classroom and more teacher attention focused on each child is something everybody wants.
Spokane County agreed it will not expand the area where urban growth can occur for at least nine years without meeting certain benchmarks, while controversial boundaries drawn in 2013 will remain largely in place. The compromise marks the end of nearly a decade of legal wrangling, both sides said.
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 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.”
The future of a neighborhood in north Spokane County has become one of the most debated topics in this year’s race for County Commission. Al French and his fellow Republican Commissioner Todd Mielke say expanding the urban growth boundary to include the area along U.S. Highway 2 is necessary to protect the Little Spokane River from sewage runoff seeping from aging septic tanks. The extension of the growth boundary, a designation that enables governments to extend services such as sewer lines, would solve a problem before it gets out of control, they said.
Spokane County commissioners on Wednesday reaffirmed their rationale for adding about 3,600 acres of land to the county’s urban growth area. The expansion increases the amount of land where urban-style subdivisions, businesses and industry could be located.
The city of Spokane has found a way to block development at its borders, even if that growth takes place within the urban growth boundary. The shift in power from county to city stems from an anti-sprawl measure passed earlier this year by the City Council, then vetoed by Mayor David Condon. With the creation of a six-year water plan, something already required by the state Department of Health, the city will explicitly define where it will extend its water service over the next few years. In effect, the city will no longer react to where the county allows growth to occur, but rather will tell the county where it will allow growth.
Even though a controversial expansion of the urban growth boundary has been put on hold because of legal challenges, the Spokane County Commission on Tuesday voted to move ahead with preliminary planning for a sewer system in the north Mead area. The commissioners accepted a recommendation to negotiate a contract with HDR Inc. to undertake preliminary planning.
County commissioner questions All three candidates for county commissioner were asked the same questions on key issues. Here are their answers.
Spokane County commissioners took steps Wednesday to justify their attempt to expand areas of the county where urban-style growth is allowed. Commissioners last July approved a 4,100-acre expansion of the areas where housing tracts and commercial uses are allowed, but the expansion was remanded back to commissioners on an appeal to the state by opponents.
Spokane County commissioners got a mixed reaction from the public Tuesday in their attempt to expand the county’s urban growth area in the face of a rejection of the plan by a state review board. The commissioners approved a 4,100-acre expansion last July, which was rejected in November by the state’s Growth Management Hearings Board after the review board ruled that commissioners made mistakes in projecting future population.
The public can weigh in Tuesday on Spokane County’s attempt to open 4,100 acres to denser development. County commissioners approved the expansion of the “urban growth area” last year to places such as the West Plains, the area north of Mead, parts of Spokane Valley and Glenrose Prairie.
OK, just to be clear: Two Spokane County planning officials pleaded the Fifth Amendment – you know, the one where you can’t be compelled to give criminal evidence against yourself – when asked in a public hearing if they had falsified planning documents to boost a new gas station over a legal hurdle. But they didn’t, we’re told, do anything wrong.
Two Spokane County building employees invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination this week in a case that accuses the county of improperly back-dating documents to allow construction of a gas station where a state board ruled it was not allowed. The county workers testified Monday during an appeal before the county hearing examiner of a building permit application for a convenience store and gas station at Argonne and Bigelow Gulch roads.
Top elected leaders in Spokane and Spokane County spent two hours Monday morning talking about how to plan for future growth in the community. It was the first in what is expected to be a series of meetings intended to bring collaboration on growth, rather than disagreements that erupted last year when county commissioners expanded the urban growth area by 4,100 acres.
Whew. Uncertainty averted. Maybe. Probably.
Spokane Mayor David Condon said he'll veto an ordinance that would have stopped city water and sewer from being extended to contested development areas outside city limits until legal challenges were resolved.