Action Needed: Comment on Southgate Annexation

Tomorrow night the City Council will be considering the land use and zoning of the Spokane Housing Ventures annexation that includes the former South Regal Lumber site. If you’ll recall from last month, at issue with whether the former lumber site will be given a General Commercial land use designation with Community Business zoning that is the request of the developer or will the City Council decide to make its land use and zoning Center and Corridor as is more in line with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Southgate Neighborhood Connectivity Plan.

I encourage all of you to please send an email to our City Council members encouraging them to follow the Comprehensive and neighborhood plans and supports the Center and Corridor zoning. Here are the Council members email addresses:

Ben Stuckart:

Lori Kinnear:

Breean Beggs:

Amber Waldref:

Candace Mumm:

Karen Stratton:

Mike Fagan:

Here are some points to consider again while shaping your comments:

  1. Voting for Center and Corridor land use and zoning 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, and multiple city maps and plans indicate that this property is destined to be part of that Center. The City’s Official Land Use Map shows these properties as part of the future District Center.
  7. The City’s Pedestrian Master Plan adopted in November of 2015 has a map titled Centers and Corridors and Downtown Zoningwhich includes all County Neighborhood Center and Mixed Use zones. This indicates that as late as November last year the City Planning Department considered Mixed Use zones in the County to be comparable to the City’s Center and Corridor Zoning. 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.
  8. 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.

Center and Corridor zoning provides elevated standards for design and function that encourage pedestrian and non-motorized use of the area and forwards our goal of creating a safe, vibrant neighborhood streetscape. Without this zoning, the development can move ahead in an auto-oriented manner that will increase traffic along Regal Street while discouraging non-motorized use of the area by residents of the 12 apartment communities within a quarter mile of the site.

Please send in your comments to the City Council, they told us at the last hearing that the amount of input from the community is what made them reconsider the zoning and extend the hearing for a month. If any of you can also come in person to lend your support for the Center and Corridor zoning of this area it will have a major impact on the Council’s actions. The Council meeting is at 6pm, Monday night at Spokane City Hall.

Thank you for making your voice heard to build a better neighborhood. If you have any questions please let us know.