Gov. Inslee Authorizes Attack on Spokane County Growth Plan

In a press release issued yesterday, the Department of Commerce announced that Director Brian Bonlender, along with Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson, have received authorization to challenge the Spokane County Urban Growth Area expansion approved earlier this year. The press release accuses the Spokane County Commissioners of undermining the work to protect Fairchild Air Force Base from encroachment, in addition to what they claim will be “significant costs to taxpayers for infrastructure and property acquisitions, and unmitigated impacts on the state highway system.”

On a side note, back in April, Sen. Michael Baumgartner asked his constituents to watch the confirmation hearing of Commerce Director Brian Bonlender and respond with their feedback. Well, the Senator described the response as the “most dramatic [he’s] ever received.” To see the numbers scroll down to the end.

In a Spokesman Review Article published this morning, Commissioner French explains that “We have done everything we have the statutory ability to do to protect Fairchild,” and that, “he was told by base officials that the new county zoning standards meet Air Force concerns.”

The County Commissioners already went back in and reduced the proposed number of acres in the expansion from about 6,000 to 4,100 largely out of concerns from the Department of Commerce.

So what is this all really about? Bringing development to a halt!

Just last week, a Spokane Superior Court judge rejected a motion for a stay, filed by several progressive organizations in Spokane County, who were seeking “to prevent landowners in the new urban areas from gaining ‘vesting rights’ for development projects prior to completion of [their] appeal.”

Then stated in yesterday’s press release (and repeated in the Spokesman Review today), “Gov. Inslee request[s] that the county stop accepting applications for new development.”

According to Commissioner Mielke last week, “The commissioners are not going to hold up applications…The commissioners could face lawsuits from property owners for not allowing them to exercise development rights.”

Here is the contact information for the County Commissioners if you would like to thank them for their work on the UGA expansion and to encourage them to continue on the right path!

Phone: (509) 477-2265

Commissioner Todd Mielke – tmielke@spokanecounty.org

Commissioner Al French – afrench@spokanecounty.org

Commissioner Shelly O’Quinn – soquinn@spokanecounty.org

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