FoodWise Action Alert: Spokane's Only Zoned-Agricultural Farmland Under Development Threat AGAIN!

Author(s): 
Chrys Ostrander

Picture showing housing development destroying farmland


Spokane! We had a strong turnout for the public hearing with many voices opposing the proposed development just South of this proposed development. Now you have an opportunity to submit written letters, email messages as well as phoned-in comments on this Conditional Use Permit to construct 23 houses on 2.20 acres of productive farmland.

This proposed development is in the Vinegar Flats agriculture zone (RA zone). A developer wants to build 23 homes here. Spokane designated this for growing food, not housing units.

Address your comments to
Donna deBit, Assistant Planner
808 West Spokane Falls Boulevard
Spokane, WA 99201

Email: ddebit@spokanecity.org
Phoned-in Comments: (509) 625-6637

Please refer to the Vinegar Flats Cottages application when commenting.

Details? Contact Chrys Ostrander: farmrchrys@gmail.com  |  www.inlandfoodwise.online

Official information about the Vinegar Flats Cottages proposal is on the City's website at https://my.spokanecity.org/projects/vinegar-flats-cottages-conditional-use-permit/.

This proposal is inappropriate for this location for many of the same reasons the proposed 48-acre Deep Pine Overlook development is inappropriate. 

It's very close to Hangman Creek. The creek and its shorelines are sensitive ecosystems that are already severely impacted by urban development. Putting more houses on farmland here will add to the creek's pollution burden.

There are now less than 200 acres of productive farmland zoned agricultural in the city limits of Spokane. This proposed development would forever destroy over 10% of Spokane's remaining farmland. 

Viable agricultural enterprises could be supported by this rich land resource that would enhance Spokane's food security, increase the amount of fresh, local foods available to residents in the City, preserve the open space that is becoming rare inside the city limits and be a source of pride that Spokane values its agricultural resources.

In April 2011 the governor signed a law to allow counties to opt-in to the Voluntary Stewardship Program as an alternative means to comply with a state supreme court decision that agriculture could not be exempt from the critical area requirements of the Growth Management Act. The lead agency for VSP in Spokane is the Conservation District. In December 2018, the District published its Spokane County Voluntary Stewardship Program Work Plan as required by law. "The essence of the VSP legislation is two-fold. First, to utilize a watershed-scale, voluntary and incentive-based approach to protect and enhance critical areas that intersect with agricultural lands. And second, to do this in a manner that also supports agricultural viability," reads the District's plan. One of the policy objectives of Spokane County's plan is to "support programs and funding that preserve agricultural lands."

In her testimony before the Spokane City Hearing Examiner on May 2nd that was associated with the Deep Pine Overlook proposal, Vickie Clark, Director of the Spokane County Conservation District said the Voluntary Stewardship Program "is also designed to prevent the loss of farmland in the county. This [Deep Pine Overlook] development project would be in direct conflict with that which we are trying to achieve through VSP but it also appears to be in conflict with the City's own Comprehensive Plan policies regarding agricultural land of local importance." This is equally true in regards to the Vinegar Flats Cottages proposal.

Edition: 
May 2019