Cheney Free Press -

By James Eik
Staff Reporter 

Airway Heights approves JLUS

Council approves its 2013 state legislative agenda


The Airway Heights City Council approved its version of the Joint Land Use Study at its Monday, Dec. 17 meeting.

The land use document intended to provide additional protection to Fairchild Air Force Base passed with a unanimous vote.

“We have JLUS,” Mayor Patrick Rushing said.

Airway Heights has been working on the document with surrounding jurisdictions for several months now, in an attempt to make the document more urban-friendly. City Planner Derrick Braaten frequently iterated that the version passed by the city of Spokane and Spokane County worked for rural zoning, but not for Airway Heights, which operates under an urban setting.

“We have smaller land parcels and the individual land owners have a higher density allowance for subdivisions,” he said.

At this month’s Planning Commission meeting, the Kalispel Tribe said the city’s version of JLUS didn’t provide proper protection of Fairchild, and asked it to revisit some of the provisions. Rushing read a letter from members of the group collaborating with the city on the ordinance.

“While the tribe might disagree that we’re not protecting the base, those who have been working on this for a long time find that we actually are providing the best protections to the base and its mission,” he said.

The JLUS memorandum of understanding group, with whom Airway Heights has worked on the document, gave a verbal agreement to the document Nov. 15.

Braaten said the city typically has unilateral control of its zoning procedures. JLUS, however, took the approach to a regional level, as it’s a regional document between several jurisdictions. Changes to the document can’t be made at the local level without first meeting with representatives from those jurisdictions.

“Should there be a need to amend them, then they’ll go back to that group,” Braaten said.

City Manager Albert Tripp presented the 2013 State Legislative Agenda he would forward to the Legislature after the meeting. The letter contains five items of importance to the city next year, among which included the city’s support for the Spokane Tribe Economic Project, continued support for Fairchild, transportation and utilities in the city. It also mentions the ongoing housing project for residents living in Accident Potential Zone Two, south of Highway 2.

A $53,348.76 change order to the city’s recovery well project was approved by the City Council. The change includes providing a new well pump, column pipe and crane installation of the pump, which provides for a higher capacity than previously estimated. Early test runs of the recovery well showed the city could draw larger amounts of water, with the well remaining stable. The new pump can draw 3,000 gallons per minute, according to public works director Kelly Williquette.

During the meeting, a maintenance agreement with the Department of Transportation to maintain sidewalks was tabled until the Jan. 7 meeting. The agreement is estimated to cost $5,000.

Also at the meeting, the City Council approved an amendment to a contract with SPVV Landscape Architects for the Aspen Grove Park design for phase one. The $5,000 amendment adds electrical consulting for a water pump that was installed earlier this year.

The City Council also approved the appointment of Elaine Sielaff to the Planning Commission, for a term expiring Jan. 31, 2016. Sielaff moved to Airway Heights earlier this year in July, and was looking to be more involved with the city.

This month’s City Council study session is canceled, as it falls on Christmas Eve. The next City Council meeting will be Monday, Jan. 7 at 5:30 p.m.

James Eik can be reached at


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