Marlene Feist

Growing Spokane in a smart way

Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, No Phone Number Available

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 4:55 p.m.

Elected officials from Spokane County and the City of Spokane got together this afternoon to continue their joint discussions on growth. Today's meeting is the third in a series of collaborative meetings to establish parameters for regional growth and development.

Christopher Zimmerman, from Smart Growth America, provided the officials a comprehensive look at smart growth issues and changing trends that will impact growth. Smart Growth America is a national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring better development to communities across the U.S.

Here is some of the information that Zimmerman presented:

  • For the future, communities will need a wider range of housing and transportation choices to meet the evolving needs and desires of their citizens. The traditional single-family home in an area that requires commuting by car is one option, but more are needed.
  • Millennials are driving less, seeking technology connectivity, and looking for social amenities within walking distance of their homes. Baby Boomers, meanwhile, are downsizing their housing and seeking locations that provide options to stay healthy.
  • More compact development can have a positive financial impact on local governments. The cost of delivering services—from utilities to public safety—is lower and tax revenue generated per acre is higher in areas that are more compact.
  • Spokane has "extraordinary potential" to take advantage of the trends that are emerging today. Higher education opportunities, medical facilities, outdoor recreation and parks, legacy buildings on a grid of streets, and more put Spokane in a good place to compete for residents and job creators.

In other business, the City's Utilities Division Director Rick Romero provided an update on the City's Water System Plan, discussing how the City's retail water service area lines up with urban growth boundaries.

Citizens can comment on the information presented at this meeting or on growth issues generally via email at

On May 12, City of Spokane and Spokane County officials kicked off a year-long effort to collaboratively plan for how and where our community should grow.

The topic is complex, requiring our officials to consider how we've grown to date, the financial and service impacts of future growth, and the legal complexities of the state's Growth Management Act, among other things.

The goal is to find mutually beneficial solutions that provide the greatest results for all of our citizens. Officials are going to look at transportation, extension of utilities, development standards, revenue sharing, and needed policy development.

Mayor David Condon believes that the City and County are up to the challenge. In the last two years, the City and County have worked together on other joint issues, committing to regional solutions to animal control needs and managing solid waste disposal. Our local governments also are working together to improve Spokane's criminal justice system.

"We've achieved these successes because together we've been able to focus on the future rather than the past," the Mayor said. "We have a great opportunity before us."

Citizens can provide comments about planning for community growth and the topics being discussed by sending an email to

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