Last night our City Council held the first of two hearings on the proposed Spokane Housing Ventures Annexation. We’ve already written about it a number of times, we’ve discussed the annexation overall and the plans to build a retail center on the former South Regal Lumber Site.
Southgate Neighborhood Council and some neighbors provided written comments and testimony in support of the annexation, but with the condition that the retail and apartment portions be brought into the city as Center and Corridor zones that better meet the current land use designations out in the County and will help implement the City Comprehensive Plan and Southgate Neighborhood Connectivity Plan.
You can watch the hearing as broadcast on City Channel 5 on Vimeo (the annexation hearing starts at about an hour and 8 minutes): https://vimeo.com/154777568
The Council decided not to vote on the land use designations, but rather opted to leave the record open for the next 30 days so citizens can submit more written comments. On Monday, March 14th, the Council will hold a second hearing on the annexation and vote on both the land use and the overall annexation on that day.
I want to thank everyone that submitted comments prior to this hearing, the Council said they had a large number of comments from all over the South Hill and beyond which is why they decided to defer their vote and keep the record open to hear even more feedback. So please, keep talking to your neighbors and encourage them to send comments in to the City Council. You can find all of their email addresses here.
We will keep you aware of any new developments over the next 30 days, I hope we will see even more neighbors down at City Hall on March 14th to tell the Council what they think about this topic.
Check our Minutes and Agendas page for the minutes of the January meeting for your review and the agenda for our February meeting. See you Wednesday at ESD 101!
Comment now on the Council’s upcoming zoning decision for the former Regal Lumber site.
On Monday, February 8th, the Spokane City Council will take a vote to determine the Land Use and Zoning of the properties that are part of the proposed Spokane Housing Ventures Annexation. Most of the parcels already have buildings on them, so their use and design is moot (ex: apartments, radio station, mini-storage), however the 8-acres along Regal Street (the former Regal Lumber site) can either be zoned as auto-oriented General Commercial development, or pedestrian-oriented (auto-accommodating) Center and Corridor. I encourage all of our neighbors to submit comments to the City Council members either via email or phone; or by giving testimony in person at the City Council meeting (6pm, Monday, February 8th at City Hall).
Here are some points to consider while shaping your comments:
1. Voting for the “Alternate” proposal suggested by Planning Department Staff will result in zoning that better supports the vision of the city’s Comprehensive Plan and the Southgate Neighborhood Connectivity Plan for vibrant, walkable neighborhoods.
2. The current zoning in the County is “Mixed-Use” which is the County’s most pedestrian-oriented zoning. In fact, the County Comprehensive Plan explicitly states that it is designed to, “discourage auto-dependent uses and encourage pedestrian orientation with an emphasis on aesthetics and design.”
3. The most pedestrian-oriented zoning in the City is “Center and Corridor” which focuses on creating commercial zones that have a mix of uses and encourages pedestrian-oriented, auto-accommodating designs to provide options for residents of the surrounding neighborhood.
4. Comprehensive Plan Land Use Goal 10.3 says that the City must, “honor the intent of adopted county plans and ordinances for areas proposed to be annexed.” As you can see above, the intent of the Mixed-use zoning is to provide pedestrian-oriented development that makes it easier for people to get to and use the site without a car.
5. The area is surrounded by 12 apartment communities within a quarter mile, including 360 apartments that are part of the proposed annexation. This high-density housing concentration makes this area a prime candidate for pedestrian-oriented development.
6. There is a Comp Plan-designated District Center at 57th and Regal Street, 500 feet from this proposed annexation area. That area just south of the proposed annexation is part of the UGA and will someday be part of the City and Southgate Neighborhood. It makes sense to plan in a coordinated manner and not create an island of General Commercial zoning between two District Centers on Regal Street.
7. Neighbors are concerned about the increased traffic that such high-density, auto-oriented development will bring to Regal Street. A way to mitigate that increased traffic is to design projects that encourage people to use the site without their car. Every person that can walk or bike to the site is one less car on the road contributing to congestion. It’s not about limiting cars, but providing easier alternatives to them.
Thank you in advance for your comments and input. Please get your comments in by Monday afternoon (but the earlier the better). Your involvement will help us continue advancing the mission of the Southgate Neighborhood Council: to improve and preserve the quality of life in the Southgate Neighborhood. If you have any questions, please contact Southgate Neighborhood Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.