January 17, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 39

After JLUS: Airway Heights comp plan review continues

Following its approval of the Joint Land Use Study, the Airway Heights Planning Commission was back to its regularly scheduled agenda for its Monday, Jan. 14 meeting.

This year will largely consist of updating the city’s comprehensive plan, which will take place from 2013 to 2016, depending on other issues that may arise throughout that time. This month, commissioners looked at some final changes to chapter three, which focuses on issues facing Airway Heights and the city’s vision statement for many of its larger departments.

Chapter three has been in review for a few months already. The only changes brought to the commission were to issues facing parks and recreation in the city.

Among the items listed includes a need to develop property to facilitate field space for expanding youth and adult sports programs. It ties into another issue that stated the need for a multi-generational recreation facility that doubles as a community gathering location.

Planner Derrick Braaten said surveys sent out to city residents point to a community center as one of the top desires in Airway Heights.

“They always come back that we need a rec center,” he said.

The city’s current community center, located in the same building as its council chambers and municipal court, is unable to offer any field activities like basketball. Braaten said it’s barely large enough for some exercise classes.

Sunset Elementary has sometimes doubled as the location for some parks and recreation events, however the school has its own events throughout the year, causing some scheduling conflicts.

“Sunset kind of compensates for that,” Commissioner Laura Brown said.

One of the ongoing goals in 2013, Braaten said, is for the city to instill a level of interest across the community in city government. The item is specifically listed in the parks and recreation section of the comprehensive plan, extending it into the next several years. It’s a large item, and one with which every city struggles.

Braaten pointed out programs in Spokane that help instill a sense of community in different areas of the city.

“It’s going to take some leadership from the public,” he said.

Chapter three will be revised once again, and brought to the commission next month. A public hearing, Braaten said, will take place in either March or April. The commission will then take action on it, forwarding it to the City Council.

During his staff report, Braaten said Fairchild Air Force Base has made it to the top 10 list of sites for the new KC-46A plane, which will replace the Air Force’s KC-135 fleet, the plane currently used at the base. Only three of those 10 on the list will receive the new aircraft.

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

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