October 3, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 24

Multi-family rezone request hits Medical Lake planning

In its first meeting since March, the Medical Lake Planning Commission heard a proposal to rezone nine acres within the city from Multifamily Residential to Single Family Residential.

Planner Glenn Scholten said if kept at the multifamily zoning, the project would have 109 units as opposed to 54 single-family units.

“We do have enough water,” he said. “Water is always an issue.”

The developer argues changing the zoning to support single-family homes will cut down on water usage. Currently, the city budgets 1,000 gallons of potable water per day for each residential unit.

“If we didn’t have the number of EURs, we’d have to refuse his application,” Scholten said.

Some commissioners asked if approving the zoning change would require changing another nine acres elsewhere in the city to make up for the difference. Scholten said there were still vacant multifamily lots open for development.

Other concerns included the developer turning around and selling the land at a higher price, and why the city originally zoned the property as multifamily.

Since the request is part of the change to the city’s comprehensive plan, it requires a public hearing, which will take place at the October planning commission meeting. The commission voted to move the item forward to a public hearing next month, to get a better take on what residents may say.

Last year, the city submitted its shoreline management plan to the Washington state Department of Ecology. Since then, some delays from the ecology office have postponed its approval

“Our plan is a great plan,” Scholten said, suggesting that it could be used by other small cities throughout the state when forming their shoreline management plans.

Scholten said the new Subway restaurant had its soft opening, and some morning crowds were plentiful during the opening few days.

Another item that’s been delayed a bit was a survey intended to go out to residents asking their opinion on the city’s comprehensive plan, tying in to discussions the planning commission had earlier this year. Scholten said City Hall hoped to add a few of its own items to the survey and send it out as one package item, rather than two separate surveys.

Regarding the city’s progress involving the Joint Lane Use Study zoning restrictions, Scholten said things were on hold after the decision to house the new fleet of KC-46A tankers was awarded to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. Spokane County, he said, still needs to approve some changes Medical Lake made earlier this year before things can move forward.

The next meeting is Thursday, Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. in the council chambers.

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

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