Jeff Humphrey

New Lease on Life for Vacant Lots

Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308

Friday, May 4, 2018 at 10:08 a.m.

Take a ride with Ben Stuckart and he’ll show you Spokane’s plan to boost our quality of life without stretching the city’s budget.

“If we think our roads haven’t been taken care enough and we think we don’t have enough police officers and there’s too much property crime, one of the ways to solve that, without increasing taxes, is to increase density,” the Council President said as he drove around East Central Spokane.

Stuckart says right now, there are more than 700 vacant lots that are zoned for construction of multi-family housing but not attracting development.

As Stuckart stood on a vacant lot at the corner of Hartson Street and Regal Avenue he explained, “I think this lot is excellent because it’s right across from a park. I think we could fit a duplex on here because it’s zoned for a duplex. That would be potentially, eight to ten more people living in this neighborhood.”

So now Spokane wants to make it easier for someone to turn some dirt and put vacant properties to work.

The City Council is considering code changes that would allow developers to go three stories high on some projects and allow new building closer to property lines.

“So what we should be doing is looking at that regulatory framework; whether that’s setback rules or lot widths or heights of our multi-family buildings, so vacant lots like this one can get built on,” Stuckart said.

Stuckart feels changing building code regulations is not intended to leave people living like sardines but rather, take advantage of vacant properties already served by existing roads, water and sewer lines.

Stuckart says by not having to install new infrastructure, building on vacant infill properties could make new housing more affordable for new residents.

“The more people you have living in this neighborhood, the better off these new businesses like Fresh Soul are going to do because people can walk to them. So there are so many reasons why we want density and the way to get there is look at why are those vacant lots not being built on now?” wondered Stuckart.

Stuckart worries without easing infill regulations, developers will take their projects outside the city limits and divert property taxes away from Spokane.

If you’d like to learn more about these proposed changes, visit the Infill Development Project Page.

City of Spokane planners will be monitoring Facebook on Monday, May 7, from 10-11a.m. to answer all of your infill development questions.

You can also join planners at an upcoming Infill Open House Wednesday, May 9, from 12-2 p.m. in the Chase Gallery at Spokane City hall.

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