Action Alert: Stop Illegal Development of Open Space

Author(s): 
Chrys Ostrander

Satellite Photo of Former Sundance Golf CourseSundance Meadows, LLC of Otis Orchards seeks to develop a former 18-hole golf course into a large, 475-unit single-family-residence development in the Seven Mile Urban Growth Joint Planning Area adjacent to the City of Spokane's northeast extent. "Joint Planning Area" means an area where both the City of Spokane and Spokane County have equal jurisdiction over planning issues.

It is the position of the Spokane Farmland Preservation Working Group that Spokane County is in violation of the Growth Management Act (GMA) by continuing to process the preliminary plat application and related permit applications submitted by Sundance Meadows, LLC in furtherance of the developer's project because the property is designated in the Comprehensive Plan of the City of Spokane as "Open Space" and as such it is not eligible for conversion to a housing development. 

The Growth Management Act specifically states, "the comprehensive plan of each county or city that is adopted pursuant to RCW 36.70A.040 [the GMA] shall be coordinated
with, and consistent with, the comprehensive plans adopted pursuant to RCW 36.70A.040 of other counties or cities with which the county or city has, in part, common borders or related regional issues."

At this time, the comprehensive plans of the City of Spokane and Spokane County are not consistent with each other because the County's comprehensive plan designates the property as "Low-density Residential" while the City designates it as "Open Space."

The Spokane Farmland Preservation Working Group also is of the opinion that the City of Spokane has been derelict in its duty to defend the interests of its residents by not strenuously objecting to the preliminary plat application on the grounds that the proposed development is not appropriate for a property in the Joint Planning Area that the City has designated as "Open Space" and which was so designated as the result of a legally binding process that included public participation.

Please contact the Spokane County Commissioners, your Spokane City Council members and Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs and demand that all proceedings related to applications and permits pertaining to the proposed Sundance Meadows development be suspended until the required public process for bringing the respective comprehensive plans into compliance with each other has been initiated and completed.

The Spokane Farmland Preservation Working Group would favor an outcome of such a process that would designate the property as "Open Space" in both City and County comprehensive plans. Furthermore, the Working Group would also favor the property, which is completely comprised of "Prime" agricultural soils as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, be utilized for an urban farm and any water rights that had been in place that allowed the former golf course to be irrigated and are currently in trust, be reinstated to facilitate the irrigation of crops.

Spokane County Commissioners:

Josh Kerns
County Commissioner, District 1
Jkerns@spokanecounty.org

Mary Kuney
County Commissioner, District 2
mkuney@spokanecounty.org

Al French
County Commissioner, District 3
afrench@spokanecounty.org

Spokane City Council:

Breean Beggs
City Council President
bbeggs@spokanecity.org

District 1

Kate Burke
kateburke@spokanecity.org

Michael Cathcart
mcathcart@spokanecity.org

District 2

Betsy Wilkerson
bwilkerson@spokanecity.org

Lori Kinnear
lkinnear@spokanecity.org

District 3

Candace Mumm
cmumm@spokanecity.org

Karen Stratton
kstratton@spokanecity.org

Note: All the golf course trees in the picture have already been cut down as a result of very questionable permitting on the part of the County. It's a tragedy that has neighbors heartbroken. A recent video of the devastation is available here:
https://www.facebook.com/1342187095/videos/10224449985980834

Edition: 
February, 2021