City Council Approves Amended Interim Zoning Ordinance

Lisa Gardner, City Council Communications Director, 509.625.6226

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at 8:07 a.m.

During Monday’s City Council Legislative Session, council voted 6-0 (Council President Beggs absent) on an emergency interim zoning ordinance concerning the siting of shelter space for vulnerable and homeless individuals through November 7, 2022. This action follows a similar vote on April 18th that did not pass at the time.   Tonight’s ordinance was brought forward by Councilmember Betsy Wilkerson, who voted against the original ordinance.

“I brought back this zoning ordinance because the conversations regarding funding and sustainability of an emergency shelter have seemingly halted since the April 18th vote,” said Wilkerson.  “The administration has promised for weeks to have a package of information to us that includes cost, lease agreements, and wrap-around services, which we Council Members have been waiting to receive. I want to clarify that the delay in getting this shelter set up is not zoning; we are awaiting the pertinent details to make a sound decision.  Council Members and our constituents need to know the anticipated costs as other shelter contracts are up for renewal this June.”

 "The Administration has updated their criteria for the shelter contract, incorporating some of the best practices that Council request via resolution,” says Councilmember Zack Zappone, who was out of the office during the April 18th meeting. “I support the zoning change and look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Administration on a holistic approach to address homelessness."

Councilmember Jonathan Bingle added, “If our goal as a council is to provide shelter to the homeless, this ordinance is a necessary first step. Drug dealers, sexual predators, and human traffickers often prey on those living on the streets. This will give many the option of having a safe place to sleep. With the newly added support of Councilmembers Wilkerson, Stratton, and Zappone, we could get this done.”

The interim zoning ordinance shall be in effect until November 7, 2022, unless extended or canceled at a Council public hearing. It is anticipated that while the interim zoning ordinance is in effect, the city will evaluate whether to make measures within the ordinance permanent according to the public notice and participation process of the Industrial Zones Primary Uses as listed within the Spokane Municipal Code. A public hearing will be held during Council’s regular Legislative Session at 6:00 p.m. on July 11, 2022. Currently, no lease agreement or provider is identified for the proposed Trent Site location.