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Jeff Humphrey

New Opportunities for North Bank

Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308

Friday, February 1, 2019 at 11:40 a.m.

Updated 3/1/2019

As the leading edge of downtown Spokane comes alive with new projects in Kendall yards and Riverfront Park, it’s apparent our growth is surging to the north.

That’s why city planners want to know, how should the North Bank be developed or, in some cases, redeveloped.

“So this planning process is going to be looking at the existing regulations that have been in place for decades, and how those could be improved with input from the community to continue to allow, and maybe even accelerate the growth and development over here,” said Melissa Wittstruck of the Neighborhood and Planning Services Department.

Policies that protect the health of the Spokane River are already in place and will be updating them in the future.

Now, the planners are asking for feedback on what’s the best way to use and improve the land beyond the shoreline.

“As I drive through this area, and I’m sure a lot of people have, there are a lot of vacant parcels and properties that could be redeveloped. But, they’ve been sitting there a long time and part of that is because of the regulations that are currently in place,” Wittstruck explained.

For example, if someone wanted to bring the old “Y” property above Anthony’s back to life, both the current North Bank regulations and shoreline protections come into play.

What are the design questions the developer would need answered as their new project moved forward?

“How do we deal with the height? How do we deal with the width of the property and still make that a porous environment for pedestrians to enjoy,” asked Wittstruck.

Planners also want to know if building regulations be changed to make it easier to redevelop the North Bank’s former industrial properties, like the Wonder Bread Bakery.

“New opportunities. New places for people to live. Opportunities for entertainment and places to go eat and shop. But we need to look at those regulations in the context of today and not 1982,” Wittstruck said of the older building codes.

Wittstruck and her planning staff wonder what should 336 acres inside the North Bank overlay look like in the future and are concerned there too many barriers to these properties realizing their full potential.

“How can we make it so that these regulations are reasonable and that they accomplish our public objectives and still make it possible for a property owner or developer to use their property,” Wittstruck said.

These proposed changes in building regulations could affect real estate north of the river, from Maple to just east of Ruby Street.

The northern boundary of the District is irregular but doesn’t extend north beyond Maxwell Avenue.

For more information and have a chance to make your thoughts heard, go to the City of Spokane, North Bank Plan project page.

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