SPOKANE -- On Monday, the Spokane City Council finally passed the controversial comprehensive plan, which will chart the city's growth for the next 20 years.
The council approved the "Centers and Corridors plan," voting 6-1 with only Councilman Steve Eugster opposing.
The city's planning department is relieved, but much work still awaits.
"The next phase includes the adoption of a new set of development regulations, zoning designations and shoreline regulations," says City Planner Ken Pelton. "We want to involve all the stakeholders and try to find out what the neighborhoods really want to do." The goal is to have this part completed within a year-and-a-half.
Many developers have objected to the plan and some still draw the process behind it into question, saying no one listened to them.
"We may take a closer look at the process to make sure it complies with the Growth Management Act," says Mark Richard, government affairs director with the Spokane Home Builders Association and Spokane Association of Realtors. "But for now, we have no plans in terms of appealing or protesting the plan."
He says many of the builders are relived that there finally is a plan, so they can begin working on projects that have been put on hold. However, he still believes the plan's focus on centralized growth is in opposition with what people really want.
"There is an inherent flaw; [the plan] mandates something human nature rejects: a complex high-density living environment," says Richard.
The county's comprehensive plan is still open for public comment until the end of May.
"We have gotten hundreds of comments," says County Planner Paul Jensen. "The County Board of Commissioners has set aside workshops in July to deal with the comments. They've set a tentative date for a vote on August 7."
It's a jungle in there
COEUR D'ALENE -- If the guy greeting you behind the counter at the brand new Adventures 'N Fun here looks familiar, it's because he's also the mayor.
Steve Judy and his wife Michelle have just opened the doors to this family fun center, that so far has been a huge success.
"This weekend, we had several thousand people in here," says Judy.
Adventures 'N Fun is a bit of a jungle, but in a good way. Tigers and elephants lurk among the lush vegetation and among the many attractions: There's a fast and fun combination of bumper cars and laser tag, Jeeps to be ridden and a labyrinth to be found out, just to highlight a few.
"There is also a huge carrousel, and we have 75 arcade machines -- that's the largest arcade in the area," says Judy. "We have four party rooms, which can hold up to 125 people, and we have a Round Table pizza franchise inside the facility.
"People are welcome to come in and just enjoy the spectacle."