Staff Reporter 

Zoning policies sent to Airway Heights City Council for final OK


After many delays and much deliberation, the Airway Heights Planning Commission gave its recommendation to the City Council regarding amendments to the city’s general commercial and mixed-use overlay policies.

Development Services Director Derrick Braaten said the process, which started back in the late months of 2011, has seen numerous delays along the way due to various factors. Among them included Spokane County’s implementation of its Joint Land Use Study and receiving comments from various jurisdictions involved in the discussion of mixed-use properties in Airway Heights.

Braaten said at the city’s last coordination meeting with Spokane International Airport, the Department of Transportation and Fairchild Air Force Base, jurisdictions were comfortable with having mixed-use properties in the city with the exception of three properties. Those locations are listed as “under study” by the airport in regards to its plans of adding a third runway in the future.

“The aviation community has stated they’d prefer the city not allow any residential there,” Braaten said of study areas near Hayford Road and Highway 2.

There were stipulations, however, that could permit multi-family and mixed-use zones to become reality. Buildings that reduce the sound impact from the outside by 30 decibels and maintaining other development standards during construction.

Proponents of the issue noted that Spokane County allowed multi-family developments with the Deer Heights Apartments and the Bentley Apartments complex. They asked why they might not be allowed to do the same in the area. One property owner, Kitty Archer, wrote in to the commission to say she has attempted to find a use for her 18 acres, which is sandwiched between the two apartment complexes.

Braaten said other jurisdictions at the meetings were concerned about noise levels that the properties would see if a new runway was put in place.

On the mixed-use overlay front, Braaten noted that the city initially placed an emergency moratorium on mixed-use development applications last year. The moratorium expired and the city repealed its ordinance until a new one could be passed, as extension time had already run its course.

The City Council will take up the proposals at its next meeting, Monday, July 15 at 5:30 p.m., where a third public hearing will take place.

Voting for a new commission vice-chair was tabled until the next meeting, when all four current members could be in attendance.

James Eik can be reached at


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