July 18, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 13

Airway Heights revokes award for Aspen Grove

An award to R&L Landscape Construction for Airway Heights’ tree planting in Aspen Grove Park was revoked at the Monday, July 15 City Council meeting.

Parks, recreation and community services director J.C. Kennedy said the company failed to produce a performance and payment bond to the city within 10 calendar days from their initial award notice June 4. Since the company didn’t follow policy, the award was revoked, as was a non-refundable bid deposit of $800.

Moments later, the bid award was presented to Environment West Inc., which was runner-up in the process a few months ago. The award was for $41,726.60. While their bid was slightly higher initially, adding up secondary tree costs actually lowered it by around $1,800, Kennedy said, making it the new frontrunner.

The City Council voted to move two ordinances, an amendment to the general commercial code and a new mixed-use overlay, to a third reading.

A third public hearing took place on the ordinances, which have been in the works for well over a year. Spokane County planner John Peterson spoke at the meeting, noting that the county had previously commented on the documents and supported concerns addressed by the city of Spokane and Fairchild Air Force Base. Those concerns dealt with the compatibility of having mixed-use and multifamily housing zones in conjunction with the county’s Joint Land Use Study document. Airway Heights adopted an amended version of the document last year.

“The county still has concerns that the text amendments as proposed is inconsistent with the JLUS recommendations that allow for additional residential densities in MIA Three,” he said.

Peterson said the city made a commitment to hold off on those properties in question, which are near Hayford Road and Highway 2, until the Spokane International Airport master plan was approved. He asked the city to keep that original plan until the airport was finished.

There are two multifamily properties in the area that Spokane County allowed, and have been used by both sides to support their argument. One claims that since the county allowed apartment buildings in the area, they should be allowed to do the same. Peterson said while the county did make zoning changes, future expansion requests weren’t approved.

When asked on specifics regarding a timeline for the airport’s master plan finalization, Peterson couldn’t offer a date. He said the airport hoped to have the plan completed earlier this year, but was still putting things together.

Property owners seeking to change their zoning to multi-family said that the amount of land in question was small and wouldn’t impact the airport’s plans, and that any other zoning category would create spot zones. They also argued that the airport’s runway was a good 20 years away from construction, and that they were far out of the flight pattern.

Toward the conclusion of the meeting, Kennedy invited the community to the second-annual parks and recreation celebration Saturday, July 27 at Sunset Park. Events start at 2 p.m. and conclude in the evening with a moonlight movie.

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

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