Community Meeting Scheduled for Proposed Assisted Living Facility on Freya Street

Last week a Notice of Community Meeting was posted on the property of the formerly proposed Extendicare Assisted Living property on the east side of Freya at 44th Avenue. The meeting will be held at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, May 3rd at the Southside Senior Center (3151 E. 27th Avenue).

The developers are applying for a Conditional Use Permit to build a complex of 5 assisted living residential homes called Seasons on the South Hill. According to discussions with the City Planning Department, each “house” will have 16 beds for a total of 80 residents plus staff.  The applicants already operate a similar facility in Idaho called The Renaissance at Coeur d’Alene.

Assisted Living site plan April 2016

This site is zoned Single-family Residential and was subject to an approved Conditional Use Permit back in 2008 that has since expired. The plan at that time was to build a large multi-story assisted living facility on the property. This new proposal seeks to get the same use approved, but the scale has been shrunk (80 residents vs. 120). According to the Planning Staff there will be no new SEPA application or traffic study since they were done for the previous Conditional Use Permit and the proposed use is the same, but at a reduced scale (hence less environment/traffic impact).

The proposed site plan from 2008.
The proposed site plan from 2008.

If you look at the site plan you can see that they have retained a buffer between the new 44th Avenue Trail and the nearest proposed building. They are also going to make frontage improvements along Freya Street that will include sidewalks and planting strips. These details will likely be shown in more detail at the Community Meeting and after a scheduled Pre-Development Meeting between the developer and the City scheduled for April 28th.

We will keep you posted on more information as we get it. For now, you can make comments about the project to the applicant Valerie Glauser via email or at 208-964-1664. You can also contact the City and speak to Donna deBit.

City Shares Draft Master Plan for Southeast Sports Complex

Updated plan retains more sports fields and parking, includes new trail and streetscape amenities.

The City of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department presented the draft Master Plan for the Southeast Sports Complex at our April neighborhood council meeting. This plan is the result of the vision process and meetings that took place last year with Southgate residents and sports user-groups.

This plan incorporates the latest information available from the KXLY developers for the proposed access to their Southgate District Center property using the west leg of the new stoplight at Palouse and Regal. The Parks Board has approved a Letter of Intent providing for an “easement in perpetuity” and “shared parking agreement” that will allow KXLY to develop a road through the existing Complex parking lot and replace it with shared parking on their private property. These two conditions are still being reviewed by City legal for their conformance with Spokane Municipal Code.

The presentation at our meeting focused on the increased overall parking which was the highest priority issue identified by sports users and Southgate residents during the visioning meetings last year. The initial plan for angle parking along 46th Avenue has been replaced with basic parallel parking, though there is still angle parking and a new trailhead proposed for the west side of the park along Altamont Street. The new Master Plan also retains more of the softball facilities than originally proposed last year after that user group made additional comments to the Parks Department. Another new feature is a 4th full-size soccer field to be located on KXLY property to the south of the existing park. So the sports users are going to continue to have the highest priority use of the facility.

General recreation and neighborhood users will be happy to see the development of an expanded playground area with a proposed splash pad, improved and expanded picnic/multi-use shelters and amphitheaters throughout the Complex. Another major feature will be the addition of a multi-use trail around the Complex that ties into and extends the trail running along the Target site on Palouse Hwy.

Lastly, the Parks Department envisions developing a gateway/enhanced streetscape along Regal Street to buffer the park uses from the road and encourage integration and connection with the District Center commercial development. They also mentioned that there is an opportunity to rename the park to better reflect the history and character of the Southgate Neighborhood.

So take a look at the proposal, please feel free to make comments on the plan (and the name) and send them to both the neighborhood council and parks department. For example, the draft plan shows a sand volleyball court near the new playground, however the consensus of the attendees at the neighborhood council meeting was to change that to a basketball court instead. We will be having more meetings with the Parks Department and KXLY developers as the year moves forward and your comments can help guide the direction of the final project.

Gas Station Being Planned for 44th and Regal

Earlier this month the City of Spokane held a pre-development meeting with representatives of Maverik gas stations to discuss the construction of a station at the corner of 44th and Regal Street where Harlan Douglass had proposed a WalMart back in 2007 and where Cool Beans Coffee stand now sits.

A preliminary site plan for a gas station at 44th Ave. and Regal Street.
A preliminary site plan for a gas station at 44th Ave. and Regal Street.

As word got out some immediate questions were raised by neighbors about the ability too place a gas station so close to existing wetlands and a Department of Natural Resources (DNS) designated stream, Hazel’s Creek. In speaking with City planning staff, they are aware of those issues and have notified the applicant through their pre-development meeting notes of the restrictions related to these issues in Spokane Municipal Code.

The applicant will be submitting a revised site plan and there should be some neighborhood notification when the developer actually applies for building permits. If there is a public comment period open on this we will make sure to let you know.

 

Outcome: Spokane Housing Ventures Annexation

On Monday, April 11th, the City Council voted to approve the Spokane Housing ventures Annexation that has been under consideration for almost a year now. The action brings about 37 acres of new land between Regal and Freya Street into the Southgate Neighborhood. The Council further voted to bring the land into the neighborhood under the Center and Corridor land use category, which was the position of the neighborhood council since this time last year.

As we mentioned at our March Neighborhood Council meeting, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the land use and zoning related to the former South Regal Lumber site. SNC had made the point that the City Comprehensive Plan and our Southgate Neighborhood Connectivity Plan supported the designation of this land as Center and Corridor rather then General Commercial land use and zoning. We are very happy to have the City Council support our viewpoint by a 6-1 margin, but more importantly we are happy to have the City Council support the City Comprehensive Plan and its goals and policies.

The Spokesman-Review is reporting that the City is facing a threatened lawsuit from the developer for taking this action. I want to thank everyone that contacted the City Council regarding this issue. We were told that public input was a big part in the consideration of this issue over the past few months. I would also encourage you to contact your City Council members one last time to thank them for standing with the Comp Plan and the neighborhood to enact the vision so many people worked to create through our neighborhood planning process.

We will keep everyone updated on any further action or outcomes from the annexation. This is one case where it paid to get informed and stay involved. I look forward to seeing everyone at our future Neighborhood Council meetings where we will continue to discuss issues related to the safety and quality of life for Southgate residents.

 

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: bstuckart@spokanecity.org

Lori Kinnear: lkinnear@spokanecity.org

Breean Beggs: bbeggs@spokanecity.org

Amber Waldref: awaldref@spokanecity.org

Candace Mumm: cmumm@spokanecity.org

Karen Stratton: kstratton@spokanecity.org

Mike Fagan: mfagan@spokanecity.org

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.