For those who have something to say about a proposed low-income senior housing project near St. John Vianney Parish, Tuesday is the day to get it off your chest.
At 6 p.m. July 12, the Spokane Valley City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed developer’s agreement that has been mapped out between city staff and Catholic Charities, which is looking to for a zone change from low-density to medium-density residential to accommodate the complex to be located south of the church on Walnut Road between Broadway and Sprague avenues.
Many of the residents in that neighborhood have adorned their yards with green signs protesting the action, which had been a part of a slate of amendments to the city’s comprehensive plan earlier in the year. The church land-use change had been put on hold so city staff could work out the agreement with the developer and property owners.
The neighborhood representation, however, left the table during the process and has more or less kept silent as the city worked out a deal with Catholic Charities. Early on, however, many residents testified before the city Planning Commission (which voted 4-3 to deny the zone amendment) and City Council, fearing increased traffic, increased crime and generally a poor fit for the largely single-family housing community.
“I would have really liked to have seen them stay on and discuss the options,” Mayor Tom Towey said last week. “It’s disappointing.”
After Tuesday’s public hearing, the zone change is scheduled for a first reading July 26 and final approval Aug. 9.
No one spoke on the issue during the open public-comment session at the July 28 council meeting as city staff members gave an overview of the developer’s agreement. Karen Kendall, assistant planner, said that Catholic Charities has agreed to keep the project to a maximum of 40 units and not change the use to anything other than senior housing for 75 years.
Also, the building cannot be any higher than 40 feet, and the structure must remain a single story on the south and east sides. Roof slopes and other architectural features will be required to match those in the surrounding neighborhood.
Finally, existing trees will be protected under the plan. Five that were found to be diseased, Kendall said, had to be removed.
The council has the option of accepting or rejecting the agreement before deciding on the zone change.