Staff Reporter 

Land use resolution is near

Airway Heights City Council also approves new emergency management contract


Airway Heights is nearing the culmination of discussions relating to Spokane County’s Joint Land Use Study, with a draft proposal being revealed in the coming weeks.

Mayor Patrick Rushing said at the Monday, Oct. 1 Airway Heights City Council meeting that talks had taken a move toward resolution in their last meeting with area agencies. Included in the talks with the city are Spokane County, the city of Spokane, Spokane International Airport and others. Rushing said proposals were moving toward the 2009 version of JLUS, which was presented in 2010 to local jurisdictions affected by the proposed land use ordinance.

“We made some significant ground this morning,” he said.

Airway Heights is in the middle of the discussion as an urban city, working with the JLUS proposal, which is largely built to suit rural zoning. The city, in trying to plan for its future growth, found the document too constrictive following edits and additional restrictions placed beyond the 2009 suggestions from the Department of Defense study.

The discussions, which began in earnest as the summer began, also include Airway Heights’ desire to increase the opportunity for mixed-use buildings in some spots along Highway 2.

“We’re just about there,” Rushing said.

Spokane County and the city of Spokane, which annexed industrial property on the West Plains, approved the document earlier this year. Medical Lake is the only jurisdiction to formally say no to JLUS, although the city is seeking a similar compromise, in order to have a suitable location for future residential growth.

The City Council approved a new contract with Spokane Emergency Management, an organization which provides an emergency situation plan for the city.

Tom Mattern, director of Spokane Emergency Management, said the department, when called upon, would pool resources from participating towns and cities should an emergency situation occur.

“Once Airway Heights personnel are overwhelmed, then we would call on the Department of Emergency Management,” Fire Chief Mitch Metzger said.

A change order amounting to $5,516.53 was approved in the city’s project to bring reclaimed water to Sunset Park. Construction workers found spots where reclaimed water pipes would cross existing potable water lines. Concrete casings were installed over the reclaim line. This is the first change order for the project.

Also at the City Council meeting, language was amended in the city’s reduced rates for low income senior and low income disabled residents. Age requirements were lowered from 62 to 18, and the program is now open to low income adults. Two separate resolutions also amended the city’s water and sewer fees relating to low income, disabled residents, formally noting the aforementioned change.

Councilman Dave Malet was nominated to the five-member Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. Council members Tonya Dashiell, Kevin Richey and Barron Williamson were nominated to the Ad Hoc Building Committee, which will review submitted proposals for a multi-use building in Airway Heights. Metzger said he received 12 proposals, which will be narrowed down to four. The city has received help on the project from various representatives in the community including Sunset Elementary and the local Kiwanis group.

Included in the four resolutions passed at the meeting was a declaration making Saturday, Oct. 6, a Worldwide Day of Play, encouraging younger children to enjoy a nearby park.

Oct. 7 – 13 is Fire Prevention Week in the city, where members of the city’s Fire Department will provide education for students. Metzger said at the meeting 41 days had passed without rain, leading to conditions similar to Fire Storm in 1991.

James Eik can be reached at


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