Sep 16, 2022 4 min read

City Council to vote on pausing Comprehensive Plan changes to focus on land use

City Council to vote on pausing Comprehensive Plan changes to focus on land use

Plus: A “special roving meeting” of the Bicycle Advisory Board is set for this Tuesday and the public is invited to join.

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Welcome to week two of our still not quite named weekly digest on public meetings and agenda items worthy of your attention in the next week. This is part of our mission to empower normal folks like you with the tools and information to speak up in our community on the issues that you care about.

Next week’s public meeting rundown seems relatively tame compared to last week’s — which would honestly be hard to top, so tame is probably good for our souls and for democracy — with its contentious school board meeting and all, but it’s important to pay attention even in the lulls. Sometimes it’s in the lulls that sketchy stuff gets slipped in.

We’ve gotten a lot of encouraging feedback from our readers on this series and we’re thrilled to be able to serve you in this way.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for this series, please email me at valerie@rangemedia.co!

City council:

Final reading: The city council is expected to have its final reading on the camping and drug forfeiture fund spending ordinances that were discussed last week. On camping, the council is considering a change to the city’s camping ordinance to align with the 2019 Martin v. Boise decision. On drug forfeiture, the council is considering an amendment to a 2017 ordinance that would require police drug forfeiture money be spent equally on anti-drug education as on enforcement activities. The police want to use that money mostly for enforcement, while members of the city council want it used on education.

Read Daniel Walters’ reporting in the Inlander on the camping ordinance.

A comprehensive pause: The city council is set to vote on an ordinance that would suspend the 2022/23 Comprehensive Plan Amendment application cycle to allow the city and public to focus on the Land Use chapter of the plan, as outlined in the interim zoning ordinance Council passed on July 18. That ordinance authorized a near total restructuring of residential zoning in the city to allow for what is popularly known as missing middle housing — duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes and townhouse rows — anywhere a single-family home can currently go.

The Comprehensive Plan is basically all of the policies, goals and implementation strategies that make up Spokane’s long-term plan for growth.

Details:
Full agenda here.
Monday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m.
Council Chambers in the Lower Level of City Hall.
808 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA 99201
The meeting is also live streamed.

Also, ICYMI (because it was introduced an hour before the city council meeting) last week, the city council passed a six-month building moratorium for residential building permits in the Latah/Hangman and Grandview/Thorpe neighborhoods. City officials say this was necessary to give the city time to update the fees it collects for infrastructure updates in the area so that developers pay the correct costs in adding that infrastructure.  

Just beyond city limits, the rural spaces surrounding and beyond these neighborhoods, there’s a growing and contentious fight about continuing development at all. A big concern neighbors have is the additional traffic on roads that were designed for rural density, but are now effectively becoming highways to an emerging southwestern suburb. It’s been a big issue in the County Commission race between Al French and Maggie Yates.

Generally speaking, cities like Spokane are responsible for delivering utilities and other infrastructure from their borders to immediately adjacent developments, and the cost of those utilities are shared by every rate payer in the city. (This is true all over America, and is one of the reasons that smart growth advocates like Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns have said that cities are bankrupted by their suburbs.)

The council will hold a public hearing on the moratorium at their meeting on November 7.

Bicycle Advisory Board

I’m not a regular board, I’m a cool board: Basically, two things are on the agenda for this public meeting: go on a bike ride and discuss the bike ride.

That’s right, a “special roving meeting” of the Bicycle Advisory Board is set for this Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. and the public is invited to join. It’s BYOB (B is for bicycle!) and starts at the front entrance of the Shadle Park Library at 2111 W. Wellesley Ave. You can also join at the midpoint — the intersection of N. Indian Trail Road and Kathleen Avenue — at 6:30 p.m. There’s a map in the agenda too.

See more agendas for this board here.

Details:
Full agenda here.
Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 5:30 p.m.
Shadle Park Library main entrance

County Commissioners:

Consent item time: There’s no public hearing items on the agenda for the County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, but there’s an interesting item on the consent agenda. The consent agenda is usually a chunk of fairly mundane items, like renewing contracts or accepting grant money, that a board votes on in bulk without discussion. Sometimes, though, cool and/or bad things are slipped in.

This week it’s a cool thing: The NATIVE Project, which provides medical, dental, behavioral health and a whole slew of other services to both natives and non-natives in Spokane, has requested funds for the construction of a Children and Youth Services Center in the West Central Neighborhood. The center would treat teens and children with mental health and substance use disorder issues with a focus on serving children and youth of color.

The county looks ready to appropriate $300,000 from the County’s Mental Health 1/10th of 1% sales tax, while the city of Spokane has provided $100,000, the State Department of Commerce has committed $1,394,860 and Indian Health Service has committed $5,724,610. According to the resolution, the NATIVE Project believes the facility will serve 500 to 900 youth each year.

Details:
Full agenda here.
Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 2 p.m.
Public Works Building, 1026 West Broadway Ave.
Lower level, Commissioners’ Hearing Room
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Hey again! Before you go, a quick reminder that we’re trying to get 50 new paying members for our fall membership drive. Join RANGE in our mission to empower our community starting at $10/month here.

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