It’s taken a few years, many a meeting and as many twists and turns as the Spokane River, but the Spokane Valley Shoreline Master Program got its final City Council approval Tuesday night.
The state-mandated plan was OK’d by the Department of Ecology earlier this year, and – with little discussion and a few procedural maneuvers – was passed by the council unanimously.
Council Member Chuck Hafner reminded anyone who might be witnessing the event that the council wasn’t merely “rubber stamping” the plan, which will set the benchmark how the city’s shorelines will be managed in the future.
Part of Tuesday’s actions was to replace the existing shoreline program with the new one, which will affect the river, Shelley Lake and even local gravel pits that dip down into the aquifer.
By and large, few property owners are affected by the new plan. However, it will provide rules for docks, which will not be allowed in areas classified as “urban conservancy-high quality.” A conditional use permit will be required in beachfront zones designated as “urban conservancy.”
Under the plan, the Centennial Trail is also recognized as an economic asset to the city.
In other news, the council directed city staffers to gather further information in developing a historic-preservation program for Spokane Valley. While most council members agreed it could be a boon for economic development and a potential tool to save historic structures from demolition, others said it was largely a burden for property owner, an extra cost to the city and another level of bureaucracy in setting up a municipal Historic Preservation Commission.
“I don’t think that it’s worth it,” said Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard.