The Spokane Valley City Council silently gave its assent to allow the city manager to have more legal options to acquire property for a much-needed right-turn lane on northbound Argonne Road at Montgomery Avenue.
Council members didn’t comment on the motion but approved a first-reading unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting. A second and final reading is scheduled for next Tuesday night.
For the past few years, the city has been attempting to negotiate with GVD Commercial Properties, a California firm that owns the land that Caruso’s sandwich shop sits on at 2314 N. Argonne Road. The city needs a small strip of land that, at its narrowest, is 2 and a half feet at the southern end at 4 feet at the northern tip for a right-turn lane onto Montgomery.
City Attorney Cary Driskell reiterated Tuesday night that this section of Argonne is the busiest traffic corridor in the city, which has about 1,800 cars at peak times. When that occurs, it’s not uncommon for 475 of those cars to be turning right onto Montgomery.
“The more traffic you have the greater the need for a right-turn lane,” Driskell said.
Currently, traffic grinds to a halt if the lead vehicle at the stop light is continuing straight on Argonne, preventing the cars behind it from making a right-on-red. Also, large trucks have difficulty negotiating the turn onto industrial-heavy Montgomery without travelling over the curb – where it’s not unusual for a pedestrian to be.
“It’s the best example of why this project needs to get done,” Driskell said.
Once the ordinance passes, City Manager Mike Jackson will have authorizations to “proceed with any means authorized under state law” to acquire the property, including eminent domain – otherwise known as condemnation.
In other news, the council unanimously approved the 2014 roster of lodging-tax recipients. The money is given to organizations that generate the tax at area hotels and motels.
In the past there has been some give-and-take among council members as to which organizations receive how much based on a recommendation by the Appointed Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. This year, however, the state Legislature has ruled that the council can only approve or deny the committee’s decree – not alter it.
Groups receiving a total of $547,000 are:
- Visit Spokane, $247,000
- Evergreen Regional Volleyball Court Expansion, $7,300
- Spokane County Fair and Expo Center (marketing), $28,000
- Spokane County Fair and Expo Center (conference facility, $4,000
- Spokane County Fair and Expo Center (interim marketing), $7,800
- Valleyfest, $20,000
- Spokane Sports Commission, $183,800
- Spokane Valley Heritage Museum, $13,100
- HUB Sports Center, $36,000.