Airway Heights comp plan receives final touches
Stresses ‘walkable’ community, complete streets while changing essential public facilities from fair share to placing in non-disruptive manner
The final stages of work in chapter three of Airway Heights’ comprehensive plan are in motion after the Monday, March 11 meeting of the city’s Planning Commission.
The document has been under review for the last several months as the commission works on wording for issues facing the city, vision statements and goals for the next couple of decades. At Monday’s meeting, the latter two portions of the chapter were advanced to a final review that will come in the next couple of months.
“This entire chapter will come back in a month or two for formal approval from the Planning Commission,” city planner Derrick Braaten said. “You will have another chance to look at this once we’ve gone through this tonight.”
Most of the vision statements were intact from their previous visitation, with the exception of the statement about essential public facilities. That sentence changed slightly from stating the city had already placed its “appropriated fair share” of facilities in the city limits, evolving to noting the city wanted to place facilities so they were non-disruptive to the community.
Land use goals stressed the development of a “walkable” community in Airway Heights while preserving, protecting and promoting the small-town character it currently has. In addition, the city included working with Fairchild Air Force Base and Spokane International Airport operations and future growth.
Included in the goals was the focus of complete streets under the transportation section. Complete streets, Braaten said, vary from community to community in order to meet its needs. The analysis system wasn’t around the last time the comprehensive plan was updated, and is a new approach for the city.
Airway Heights must balance regular resident vehicles, public transit, and other forms of transportation including commercial and industrial traffic along Highway 2 while providing efficient mobility and access for the public. Funding, however, is the basis for any future development.
Chapter three is just one of many in the city’s comprehensive plan and was tackled first by the Planning Commission. Chapters one and two largely contain demographics information and opening statements that will require up-to-date information.
Chapter four speaks to land use, and, according to Braaten, will include some important discussions particularly after the city approved the Joint Land Use Study document a few months ago.
During his staff report, Braaten said the Planning Department is no longer located at the community center, and has instead merged with the Building Department’s offices along Highway 2 across from the police station. As a result, Parks and Recreation now have the entire first floor of the community center to itself, with the exception of a space for the fire marshall.
Braaten also noted that 2013 was turning out to be a year of positive growth for the city, with potential for up to 700 multi-family apartments being built in the city.
He also said the city of Spokane was in the beginning stages of constructing a traffic light on Highway 2 at Flint Road, one of the access points for the Spokane International Airport. Spokane, he said, obtained a safety grant to fund construction of the light.
James Eik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.