Airway Heights begins work on comp plan
Planning Commission still seeking a fifth member
By JAMES EIK
The Airway Heights Planning Commission took the first steps in beginning a complete review of the city's comprehensive master plan in an effort to have the document review finished by a December 2013 deadline.
City planner Derrick Braaten is pursuing a grant that would provide some staff assistance in the process, although the deadline for the document would be pushed forward to July 2013.
The process will begin this month, consisting primarily of planning and development work, followed by public workshops at planning commission meetings in September, October and November this year.
Should the city receive the grant, the City Council would conduct a first read of the comprehensive plan at its first meeting in July 2013.
If the city doesn't receive the grant, Braaten said the timeline would change.
“If we do not get the grant, and therefore we're not under that July deadline, this will more likely be stretched out a little bit,” he said.
Most of the information in the first couple of chapters will remain the same. The city, however, has grown since the plan was last updated, especially with two annexations taking place earlier this year.
“We've grown in size. We used to be 4.6 square miles; now we're 6.24,” Braaten said.
Sections on housing will also need some updated information, Braaten said, as the city's current document doesn't include future housing needs.
“Nowhere in this does it talk about cluster housing, row houses, completely different types of housing,” he said. “It's not really fleshed out to all of the potentials out there.”
Other projects in the near future include a full update and review of the city's zoning code and development with the Joint Land Use Study. Airway Heights last updated its zoning code in 2008.
The capital improvement plan, which requires updates every two years, will come into the spotlight as well, having been last reviewed in 2011.
The commission will now receive agendas via email, as passed in the meeting's only action item. Although a minor item, the commission will save some paper throughout the year, as well as postage.
Some items, Braaten said, would need to be sent by traditional mail, as larger documents used by the commission, especially those including graphs and maps, may exceed some email storage capacities.
Most Planning Commission packets are three to six pages, with the exception of comprehensive master plan documents.
Printed versions of the agenda will still be available at meetings.
Braaten said safe routes near Sunset Elementary were progressing, and were recently approved for funding. The project includes speed feedback signs around the school and new signage to help pedestrian safety. It is expected to be completed by mid-October.
An opening still remains on the Planning Commission, following two vacancies that emerged a couple of months ago. One of the vacant positions will likely be filled at the next City Council meeting, Monday, Aug. 20.
The Planning Commission meets once each month on the second Monday at 6 p.m. in the council chambers. Those interested in applying can contact Braaten at 244-2552 for more information.
James Eik can be reached at email@example.com.