Mayor vetoes urban growth ordinance

Would introduce too much uncertainty

Brian Coddington, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Monday, March 31, 2014 at 12:16 p.m.

Spokane Mayor David Condon announced today a signed joint development agreement with the Spokane County Commissioners to work together with the City Council to improve the process of bringing new jobs and opportunity to Spokane while maintaining our quality of life.

Condon also vetoed the ordinance relating to the extension of utility services outside the City limits that was passed by the City Council on March 17. It is the first time he has used the veto.

“I'm vetoing this measure because it would introduce too much uncertainty into our area's economic growth and planning,” Condon said. “But, I do so reluctantly because the city and county of Spokane must find a way to coordinate growth in a better manner.”

The joint development agreement, signed this morning by the mayor and all three Spokane County Commissioners, is a plan to “work cooperatively to develop and implement a model for smart growth that delivers mutually beneficial outcomes for each jurisdiction and the citizens they serve.”

The City and County have successfully taken on several tough issues over the past couple years. Representatives of both entities meet weekly and have recently reached regional agreements that improve how we deliver solid waste, animal control and stormwater services. Both also recently completed an assessment of the regional criminal justice system and are currently working together on an implementation plan and timeline.

The joint development agreement looks at smart growth that delivers mutually beneficial outcomes to individual jurisdictions. Doing this well requires a citizen engagement process and thoughtful discussion that leads to a comprehensive solution, Condon said. The agreement with Spokane County includes the following topics:

  • Community outreach and education on Growth Management
  • Developable land inventory
  • Joint planning, land use and zoning
  • Regulations, incentives, policies, TIFTs and LIFTs
  • Utility Service
  • Transportation Infrastructure
  • Revenue Sharing
  • Joint Service Areas
  • And, any related federal, state and local policy considerations

“This ordinance, as well-intended as it might be, falls short of delivering the smart growth outcome our community needs,” Condon said. “It uses a utilities ordinance to address land use and planning, which should be accomplished in a more collaborative and reasoned manner. This veto gives us the opportunity to pause, think comprehensively, and have a dialogue about what is best for us as a community.”