March 28, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 49

Project would affect Airway Heights noise ordinance

State Department of Transportation requests variance for summer work

A variance to the city’s nuisance ordinance came forward at the monthly study session for the Airway Heights City Council Monday, March 26.

The Washington state Department of Transportation applied for the variance, in advance of its upcoming work on Highway 2 later this year. Public Works Director Kelly Williquette said most of the work would be done at night, and would affect some of the city’s noise ordinances, in effect from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Adjusting the ordinance would allow the work to take place during night hours. Williquette said the goal is to keep traffic open during the day for travel and businesses.

Mayor Patrick Rushing said the area of Russell Street to Craig Road would be the only areas really affected by the noise. A good portion of the residential zones for the city are in that area, some within a couple of blocks from Highway 2.

Williquette said the paving work would take place over the course of 30 days.

“They can only do so many feet per day,” he said.

A notice was sent by the DOT to residents and businesses in the affected area a while ago, with no comments received. Another notice will be sent in the near future, Williquette said.

Part of the work on Highway 2 will take place in Spokane. Included in the work is, at the least, installation of infrastructure for a light at Flint Road, which leads to the Spokane International Airport.

Court Administrator Suzanne Wohl said trends are showing an increasing number of cases going to public defenders, as many can’t afford to pay an attorney.

Wohl said public defender Ronnie Rae would be going to a weighted case load as a result. Rae will be speaking at the next City Council meeting to discuss the potential changes.

Public defenders can have up to 400 cases per year, according to Wohl.

In an upcoming meeting, the City Council will also take up a request from Village Centre Cinema to become exempt from the city’s admission tax. The theater sent a letter to the city a couple of months ago, asking to be exempt from the tax, which they believe would affect ticket sales.

The City Council’s finance committee met last week to discuss the matter, and will propose that the company pay the full amount from 2012 as well as the first quarter’s payment this year. An option is in place to create a payment plan, in order to lessen the burden on the business.

Also at the study session, Williquette said the 2013 solid waste collection rate would see an upcoming decrease in tipping fees for the city. The rate would drop from $107 to $98 in tipping fees per ton for the city, but when applied to city residents, would only amount to around 25 or 50 cents for each home for weekly disposal.

Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director J.C. Kennedy said one upcoming item from his department is the proposed bid award for the development of Aspen Grove Park. Going out for bid earlier this year, the city received 10 proposals compared to the sole bid it received last year when the process initially began. A 60-day construction window comes with the bid, which will be presented to the City Council at its next meeting, Monday, April 1.

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

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