Pin It
Favorite

Model Program 

by KITTY KLITZKE & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & he City of Spokane is moving forward with new policies for our shorelines that will preserve the special places that make Spokane unique. The policies will also increase public access and encourage restoration projects. Last month, the City Council unanimously adopted phase one of the revised Shoreline Master Program (SMP), which will guide new regulations on the Spokane River. These regulations could also allow new developments to use more innovative techniques in their landscaping, such as native plants, and new approaches that will have the added bonus of water conservation, pesticide and fertilizer reduction and help locate projects where they will be most attractive to new residents and agreeable to the locals.





Dealing with land use issues is often controversial and contentious, so why is such a diverse group of Spokanites hailing the process a success? This is largely due to the whole-hearted implementation of the city planning staff's public participation plan. They involved a wide range of citizens in the early development of the project and formed a policy committee that represented the varying concerns of the city. There is no accounting for how many otherwise unforeseen problems this inclusiveness has avoided.





Our shorelines are fragile areas of immense economic, aesthetic, ecological, cultural and historical significance. It was evident that people in Spokane recognized this from the start. The first public workshop held on the SMP last winter attracted a large, diverse and engaged group of Spokanites. Participants interacted with planning staff at several stations featuring elements of the plan, or maps, and wrote their comments on sheets of paper hung throughout the room or on the maps themselves. The staff then used this for guidance in first drafts. When we were recalling this workshop, my colleague and fellow committee member Brian Walker of the Lands Council said, "They really engaged people; you could see there was a lot of public support for the project. All interests in Spokane were at the table."





Since that time, the committee has been meeting frequently to update the Shoreline Master Program. While everyone had different priorities, we all had one common goal: protecting the shorelines of the Spokane River and ensuring that future shoreline development reflects the goals and vision of the City of Spokane. Having a diverse committee ensured that all angles of the issue could be seen. When differing priorities arose, both sides had to evaluate what was appropriate for the situation and find a mutually respectful solution. The group worked hard to ensure the downtown corridor remains vibrant and natural areas remain natural.





The result of this work is a document we can all be proud of. The SMP policy document provides vision and directives for the development regulations inside the 200-foot buffer along the Spokane River and Hangman Creek within the city limits, the revision of which will commence when the committee reconvenes this fall.





Surely if some of the city's other projects had included this kind of transparent, diverse and early public participation we could have avoided some big problems, like the River Park Square debacle and the late consideration of residents of the Otis Hotel which precipitated from the downtown revitalization plan. The City should commend the planning staff that carried out the SMP public participation plan and endeavor to use this kind of inclusiveness and transparency in its other projects.





Kitty Klitzke works for Futurewise, a non-profit organization that works to make cities great places to live while protecting open space, working farms and forests for this and future generations. Check out www.futurewise.org/spokane.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Game Changer
  • Game Changer

    Since Condon became mayor, Jan Quintrall has been responsible for some of the biggest changes in the city of Spokane — and some of its biggest controversies
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • In Contempt
  • In Contempt

    A Spokane judge rules that the mental health system has willfully failed to follow evaluation deadlines
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Never Again
  • Never Again

    Washington state lawmakers push reforms after last July's murder-suicide; plus, Spokane's police ombudsman is leaving
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
A T. Rex Named Sue

A T. Rex Named Sue @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 4

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Game Changer

    Since Condon became mayor, Jan Quintrall has been responsible for some of the biggest changes in the city of Spokane — and some of its biggest controversies
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Let Us Breathe

    Spokane joins national protests over the failure to indict white officers for killing black civilians
    • Dec 10, 2014
  • More »

© 2014 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation