The city of Spokane Valley has reached a bit of a milestone: It’s conducting its first eight-year review and update of its state-mandated comprehensive plan.
But instead of celebrating with noisemakers and balloons Tuesday, the City Council mostly fielded concerns from folks who are critical of several citizen-led requests for zoning changes – largely from lower-density single-family designations to ones that would allow higher populations and/or apartment complexes.
Council members were quick to point out, however, that they plan on taking their time and they planned on getting more information. The community, as at previous Planning Commission public hearings, would have ample opportunity to weigh in.
“Before anybody gets too fired up about this, we have to go through this process,” Mayor Dean Grafos said after the council agreed to advance all of the citizen-led requests for further study. “We are mandated by state law to follow through with this procedure.”
Citizen Amendment Requests – or CARS – during the eight-year revision cycle are allowed to be brought forward without afee that accompanies the annual updates to the comp plan. So, not surprisingly, there is generally more public participation. A May 18 Planning Commission meeting generated nearly three hours of testimony.
Council Member Ed Pace said he doesn’t believe the council should be considering any requests that would encompass property that would be affected without that owner’s knowledge or consent. However, an amendment to exclude those CARS was not supported by the rest of the council.
Grafos said the process the council is following actually makes it clearer to those who could be affected by changes in the comprehensive plan.
“We just want to make sure people to know nothing is in stone here,” added Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard. “We’re just trying to get enough information so that our decisions are correct.”