KXLY Development Concept Plan

At our last Southgate Neighborhood Council meeting the developers of the KXLY property presented a concept site plan highlighting their project’s connection to the Southeast Sports Complex and its enactment of the intent of the Center and Corridor zoning and Integrated Site Plan.

We’ve uploaded the full presentation here for people to look and review. Keep in mind a couple things: 1)These are just draft concepts and there have been no building permits applied for at this time. 2) The developer has not mentioned or listed any tenants of the buildings at this time. So any mention of a company or store is just illustrative.

You can catch a news story about this on KXLY News tonight at 5pm and 6pm.

Lastly, please make sure to comment on the proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment for the small city-owned parcel between the park and KXLY’s property. Comments are due July 11th and you can see more information about the proposal on the City’s Planning Department website. The comments period is just about the zoning change and purchase of the small city-owned parcel, not the development as a whole. The full development will get its own design review and comment period when the developers submit building permits. This proposal is the first domino that as to fall before any major development actions take place.


Last Day to Comment on Regal Drive Thru SEPA Application

Today is the last day for the public to comment on the SEPA Application for the drive thru restaurants Mr. Vaughn wants to put on Regal. Comments need to be in by 4pm today!

I know many residents around Southgate and Moran Prairie are concerned about the increase in traffic around the area and that this was a concern about the proposed development in the newly annexed area at 55th and Regal. SNC conducted a review of the traffic impacts included in the application and it seems the developer has vastly underestimated the amount of traffic that will be generated based on the proposed use. We want to share this with the neighbors right away so they can comment on the impacts of this development given the new numbers. Please bear with me as we run through the math…

The developer states that Phase 1 of the proposed development (2 drive-thru restaurants and 2 retail buildings) will create 1,175 new vehicle trips a day (known as Average Daily Traffic or ADT). He further states that full build out of the entire 8 acres would create a total of 3,097 ADT when it is completed. These estimates are based on Land Use Codes (LUC) from a book called the ITE Trip Generation Manual. In this case, the developer uses LUC #820 (Shopping Center) to determine the amount of traffic generated. They take the value of the LUC and multiply it by the thousands of square feet (ksf) in the development and get the ADT number.

So in this case, the developer is proposing to build 27,510 square feet of buildings and LUC #820 has a value of 42.7 ADT per 1,000 sqft of building. Thus 42.7 ADT * 27.5 ksf = 1,175 ADT. The trip numbers are rounded up to the nearest whole number.

However, two of the proposed buildings in his plan are actually Fast Food Restaurants, with Drive Thru Windows, a separate classification in the manual with a completely different ADT rate. They are considered under LUC #934 and the rate is 496 ADT per 1,000 square feet. Look closely at that: 42.7 ADT vs. 496 ADT. Over 10 times as much traffic per restaurant. The combined square footage of the proposed restaurants is 10,200 square feet.

Thus, the drive thru restaurants create the following traffic: 496 ADT * 10.2 ksf = 5,060 ADT. Add that to the remaining traffic of the retail buildings (42.7 ADT * 17.3 ksf = 739 ADT) and you get the new Phase 1 total ADT: 5,060 ADT + 739 ADT = 5,799 ADT! Adding in the projected traffic for Phase 2 (1,960 ADT) brings the final total new daily trips to 7,759 ADT.

Regal Street is classified as a Minor Arterial in the City of Spokane, that means it is designed to carry between 9,500 and 19,500 ADT. The last traffic count from 2015 showed this section of Regal had 15,900 ADT. If you add just the Phase 1 traffic to this you bring the ADT of Regal up to 21, 699. A full buildout of this property would completely overwhelm the Level of Service on Regal Street.

It is clear that South Regal Street is exceeding the capacity of a Minor Arterial with this project and will likely fall below its planned Level of Service. Several other large projects are on the horizon that will undoubtedly add to the capacity shortage and are not accounted for here: KXLY’s new development, the Palouse Trails Apartments, the gas station at 44th and Regal to name a few.

Southgate has submitted comments to the County outlining this shortcoming and asking that this project be given a Determination of Significance that will result in a full Environmental Impact Study of the the proposal that will result in substantive mitigation of the full impacts of the development. I encourage our neighbors to contact the County as well and voice their concerns for the underestimated impact that this project will have on traffic in and around Southgate and Moran Prairie. You can send you comments to Julie Shatto at the County: jshatto@spokanecounty.org. Comments need to be in by 4pm today.

Developer Submits Building Application Prior to Annexation

Many of you saw the article in Sunday’s Spokesman Review proclaiming that Mr. Vaughn had “vested” plans for his property just prior to the City’s annexation taking effect. We wanted to post some additional information to supplement and clarify what was covered in the story.

As stated in the story, Mr. Vaughn submitted an application to the County on May 26th and it was deemed “complete” by the County Planning Department. Under Washington state law, this “vests” Mr. Vaughn’s proposal under the zoning and development rules in place at the time of the application, regardless of any changes that may be made through zoning changes, or in this case an annexation. This is the same rule that allows developers to put subdivisions in rural areas whenever the County Commissioners illegally expand the Urban Growth Area. Developers submit permit applications while the expansion is being appealed and when the expansion is overturned they are allowed to still develop their subdivisions even though the land is now back in a rural designation.

The Spokesman story leads you to believe he vested development on the entire 9-acre site, in reality he submitted four building permits for buildings on the west side of the property: two drive-thru restaurants and two retail commercial shells. The drive-thru businesses specifically would not be allowed in the City’s Center and Corridor zoning that took effect on Saturday with the annexation.

The application to the County includes the buildings in red and the orange area called Phase 1.

Additionally, the developer is seeking a waiver requesting more parking than is allowed under the current County Mixed Use zoning. The County Code caps the parking ration at 4 parking spots per 1000 square feet of building space (the same as in Center and Corridor). The developer is asking for a ratio of 5/1000 which would shift the focus of the development further form the intent of the County zoning and create a fully auto-oriented development. This would raise the number of parking spots on the site from 263 to 348.

There are a couple of areas that Southgate Neighborhood Council is following up on now as to whether or not the proper processes were followed by the County Planning Department in accepting the application as “complete.” One area of question is the design review required for projects in the County Mixed Use Zone. According to Spokane County Zoning Code (Chapter 14.900) and comments from County Planning staff, design review is needed for all commercial development of this size in the Mixed Use Zone and was a requirement for an application to be considered complete. No design review was ever conducted on this application’s plans prior to being certified complete. This review should ensure that the proposed development meets the full requirements of the Mixed Use Zone Urban Design Standards. Not doing it in this case and adhering to the requirements of Chapter 14.900, the County lowered the bar for the application to be considered complete.

Another area we are seeking clarification about is the further processing of this application and subsequent applications moving forward. This property is now part of the City of Spokane, a portion of it may have vested under the County Mixed Use Zone, but the rest of the property is now under the jurisdiction and zoning of the City. How the current application is finally issued and future applications reviewed is something we are trying to get answered by the City and County. We hope to have an answer on that soon. The Spokesman article mentions that, “Spokane County commissioners earlier this month authorized legal staff to draft an agreement with the city that would allow county engineers and planners to continue overseeing the regulatory process for development, as long as all materials were turned in by the annexation date.” The terms of this agreement are unknown at this time and we will be asking to see a copy of that draft agreement immediately.

We were very encouraged by the City’s decision to enact the Spokane Comprehensive Plan as they considered this development in our neighborhood. We knew that a tactic like this might be something that the developer would pursue, which is his right under state law. We are disappointed, but not particularly surprised, that the County decided to work so aggressively to lower the bar on their standards and processes to accommodate the subversion of the City of Spokane’s decision. Our hope that at minimum the vested portion of this property will be reviewed and held to the highest standards and intent of the County Zoning Code and Comprehensive Plan and that the City of Spokane Planning Department and City Council will be vocal and proactive in taking steps to ensure that the City’s ordinances and policies are applied to further development in and around this property from this day forward.

We will be discussing this issue at our next neighborhood council meeting on June 8th and updating neighbors here and on our social media accounts as we receive new information. If you feel strongly about this, please contact your City Council members and let them know they need to support their annexation and integrate it into our neighborhood per the code and Comprehensive Plan.