City clears way for housing development near Latah Creek

City clears way for housing development near Latah Creek

Nearly 100 new homes could soon be built near Latah Creek south of Spokane. The Spokane hearing examiner’s decision cleared the way for a housing development this week.

The area encompasses 48 acres, which the developer wants to divide into 94 single-family lots. According to city documents, the houses will range from 1,600 square foot townhomes to 3,600 square foot detached homes along Latah Creek.

The documents state the existing bridge over Latah Creek will need to be expanded or replaced to accommodate traffic.

The development backs up to the South Hill bluff. In an interview with KXLY4 in April, a representative of the group Friends of the Bluff said the group favored the development because it would provide more access to the popular walking and biking trails.

The hearing examiner’s report states more than half the property will be kept as open space. “By setting aside the sensitive areas, the project avoids impacts to the banks, water quality and ecological functions of the shoreline,” the report says.

The project will also include internal trails with access to the shorelines of Latah Creek.

At one point, the Spokane Tribe objected to the project, describing the development zone as a “sensitive area.” But the hearing examiner’s report said the tribe failed to share any evidence of that, pointing out that the area had been used for farming for many years and that there is no “undisturbed ground.”

The hearing examiner did acknowledge that the area is considered “highly sensitive” and stated that the developer needs to obtain a floodplain development permit. The developer will also need to put in controls for stormwater and surface drainage.

The hearing examiner’s office cites a traffic engineering report, which anticipates 987 trips out of the development each weekday. The report says the applicant will need to make improvements to the Highway 195 on-ramp in the area.

The hearing examiner’s office set a deadline of June 12th for anyone to appeal the decision. It’s not clear when the developer plans to begin construction.