November 15, 2012 | Vol. 116 -- No. 30

Airway Heights comp plan review refines visions, issues, goals

The Airway Heights Planning Commission continued its work on chapter three of the city’s comprehensive plan, which focuses on community issues, visions and goals.

At its Tuesday, Nov. 13 meeting, the commission reviewed its work from the previous meeting, largely tackling the issues they believe will face Airway Heights over the next several years.

A large part of the chapter focuses on transportation issues. The commission particularly considered Highway 2 and Hayford Road to be important, while also recognizing that better connectivity throughout the city would help alleviate some safety concerns that plague the major roads.

Specifically mentioned in the draft document area was a lack of maintenance and upkeep of the existing sidewalk system, a lack of connected linkages between different parts of the city and a need for passive speed reduction items on Highway 2.

“That gets into the trees, where as you may not actually change the speed limit, the environment causes people to drive slower,” city planner Derrick Braaten said.

Commissioner Laura Brown asked that emphasis be added to Hayford Road, along with Highway 2. The speed limit on Hayford is 45 mph, but a suggested speed of 35 mph is in place alongside the apartment complex north of Highway 2, following a fatal traffic incident last year.

Also a large part of the issues section of the chapter is an emphasis placed on developing parks and recreation. The section again noted a lack of connectedness between different elements of the city and its recreational facilities.

Another important section related to economic development, and its future in the city. Braaten said Airway Heights is in a good spot to attract commercial and industrial companies. The addition of the Walmart helped make the city more attractive to potential large companies.

“Up to that time, no other big box store was going to locate in Airway Heights,” he said. “That doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem anymore.”

The section also had an emphasis on diversifying the tax base in the city, which would attract new businesses to Airway Heights.

Reviewing the comprehensive plan will take place over the next couple of years, with a deadline of Dec. 31, 2015. Braaten will take the commission’s revision and bring them back in January 2013, where it will be placed on the agenda as an action item.

During his report, Braaten said members on the Planning Commission would receive city email addresses, named after their position on the organization. The email addresses will serve as a secondary contact point for communication.

With the repeal of the city’s mixed-use ordinance at the Monday, Nov. 5 City Council meeting, Airway Heights’ movement to approve a form of the Joint Land Use Study is proceeding. Braaten said a replacement ordinance will be coming to the Planning Commission sometime between March and May 2013. A public hearing will take place Monday, Dec. 10 at the next Planning Commission meeting to discuss what the city may implement.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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