Jessica Fisher

Updating the Demolition and Historic Preservation Ordinance

Jessica Fisher, Public Information Assistant, 509.625.6749

Monday, September 11, 2017 at 5:04 p.m.

Updating the Demolition and Historic Preservation Ordinance

Council Member Lori Kinnear is proposing an updated demolition and historic preservation ordinance. She believes the current ordinance under the Spokane Municipal Code is inadequate.

The current law allows for the demolition of historic buildings, or buildings eligible to be placed on an historic registry, if the demolished building is replaced. However, it does not provide for any design review by the Spokane Historic Landmarks Commission, or create any design standards to be enforced by that commission for the new construction that replaces the lost building. The current ordinance also allows for demolition of an historic or eligible building so that the property can be used as a surface parking lot for an adjacent historic property that is undergoing rehabilitation. Further, current law has no procedure for the creation of Spokane Register Historic Districts. Finally, the existing ordinance only includes a single major incentive, Special Tax Valuation, to prompt developers and property owners to rehabilitate historic structures, instead of tearing them down.

Council Member Kinnear’s proposed ordinance would address these issues by creating a more thorough and, at times, restrictive process by which the demolition of a historic structure may be deemed appropriate. In addition, the ordinance would provide more quality incentives for developers and property owners when choosing to preserve and revitalize historic structures, instead of tearing them down. Developers will be more likely to renovate and restore historic structures when there is an economic benefit.

Read more about the proposed ordinance online; where you will find an open letter from Councilwoman Kinnear explaining the issue, a legislative timeline outlining key dates and the most recent draft of the proposed ordinance. Please send your feedback by emailing Councilwoman Lori Kinnear’s legislative assistant, Jake Fraley, at

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