CEZ Plan

Community Empowerment Zone Plan Update 2017-2018

Update Working Committee Background

Vision (September 2017)

Spokane, as a safe, compassionate, resilient, sustainable, and growing city, strives to provide opportunity and resources for all residents to live a quality life.

Mission (September 2017)

The CEZ collaborative city-wide team of stakeholders will:

  • implement the City's Comprehensive Plan, local and regional economic development plans and growth strategies; and
  • align public investments in neighborhood planning, community development and infrastructure development with private sector investments for "highest best use" planning and implementation.
Success Criteria (September 2017)

The CEZ measures of success, illustrated via the evaluation of the efficacy of the CEZ plan and Boundary, will result in a predictable, transparent, accountable incentive that meets State requirements and achieves outcomes important to the community, inclusive of:

  • increased livable wage jobs within the City of Spokane
  • increased property values
  • a better utilization of existing public infrastructure
  • a better utilization of existing public infrastructure
  • implementation of the community goals defined in the City's Strategic Plan and Comprehensive Plan's growth strategies
  • recommendations for legislative changes (at the state level)

Plan and Application Requirements Background

Threshold Requirements
  • To amend a designated Community Empowerment Zone census tract, the local legislative authority must designate and define the change or amendment to the area to receive federal, state, and local assistance to increase economic, physical, or social activity in the area.
  • At least 51 percent of the households in the changed or amended area must have incomes at or below 80 percent of the county's median income—adjusted for household size.
  • The average unemployment rate for the changed or amended area for the most recent 12 months for which data is available must be at least 120 percent of the average unemployment rate of the county.
  • A five-year community empowerment plan for the amended area that meets the requirements of RCW 3.31C.040 http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=43.31C.040 must be adopted.
Community Empowerment Zone Plan

The Washington State Legislature has strongly encouraged local governments to develop reinvestment plans through a grass roots, community based planning process, which achieves broad participation from area residents, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and property owners. Neighborhood reinvestment plans that demonstrate community participation in both the planning and on-going implementation of area strategies, will be viewed as having higher potential for success. The change or amended applications shall document their community involvement efforts including meeting notices, at least two public hearings and meeting minutes, and meeting participation records.

Plan Requirements

Each proposed change or amendment to a Community Empowerment Zone must have a five-year neighborhood reinvestment plan that identifies the area's community development needs and presents a comprehensive strategy for meeting those needs. The plan must include the following information:

  1. Housing needs, including emergency housing.
  2. Public infrastructure needs, such as:
    • Transportation
    • Water
    • Sanitation
    • Energy
    • Drainage/flood control
  3. Public Facilities needs, such as:
    • Neighborhood facilities
    • Facilities for the provision of health, education, recreation, or public safety.
  4. Community economic development needs, such as:
    • Commercial/industrial revitalization
    • Job creation and retention with special attention to the unemployment and underemployment of the area residents
    • Accessibility to financial resources by residents and businesses within the area
    • Investment in the area
    • Rezones/changes in land use
  5. Social service needs.
  6. Existing and new plans to specifically address the identified needs, and the financial and other resources, which have been committed to implement the plan.
  7. Funding sources that are expected to become available in the future to carry out the reinvestment area strategy and the actions that will be taken to acquire these funds.

2017-2018 CEZ Plan Update Work Plan, Timeline and Notes

June 2017
Meeting Work/Agenda
  • Staff Review of CEZ 2001 (five year plan)
Objectives/Outcomes and/or Deliverable
  • Not much of the plan can be updated. However, there are numerous existing and current plans that can be draw upon in developing a new CEZ plan.
July 25, 2017
Meeting Work/Agenda
  • Establish a working committee (Council, PC, Admin, GSI, CHHS, and ED Team Staff)
  • Document review:
    • City's Sustainable Community Development & Economic Vitality Strategic Plan
    • 2017 updated Comprehensive Plan Chapter 8 and Chapter 2 implementation
    • 2015 Economic Development Strategy
    • CHHS Consolidated Plan
    • Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)
    • RCW 43.31C
Objectives/Outcomes and/or Deliverable
  • What plans & who else needs to be involved: see the growing list of plans in the right-hand column of this webpage.
  • Reoccurring mtgs set for the 4th Tuesday of the month at 2:30 (keep to one hour)
  • Everyone is committed to making this the right process and plan, encompassing and implementing all the great work from plans completed recently. Creating a plan that better positions the use of the incentive for the creation of higher paying jobs within the City of Spokane.
  • Tasks in preparation for next meeting: George will layer a map that includes CD neighborhoods, CEZ, industrial areas, and Target Areas. (looking to include the biz locations as well as the workforce)
  • Everyone will begin reviewing the CEZ plan criteria in light of plans they are familiar with and extracting portions that can be incorporated into the CEZ plan.
  • Everyone will reach out to those who they know should be at the table.
Aug 22, 2017
Meeting Work/Agenda
  • Around the table introductions for new attendees
  • Review the map of the CD neighborhoods, CEZ, industrial zones, and Target Areas
  • Report on what portions and highlights of the different plans can be incorporated into the CEZ Plan
  • Review the draft project vision, mission, set success criteria & timelines
Objectives/Outcomes and/or Deliverable
  • Create a map of the West Central Industrial property with a list of property owners: George
  • Tour the West Central Industrial property and report back: CM Stratton and Stan
  • Draft Charter – (topic moved to Sept discussion: Teri)
  • Begin to build a boundary Pros & Cons document for ongoing discussion: Teri and Debra
  • Review the CEZ Plan criteria outline in light of plans you are familiar with and begin to list portions that can be incorporated into an updated CEZ Plan: All
  • Expand the map to include Centers & Corridors: George
Sept 26, 2017
Meeting Work/Agenda
  • Draft Charter review, discussion and edits
  • Draft Plan outline additions – topic moved to October meeting
  • Data & Maps Review: West Central Industrial area – what was learned during the tour?
    PPT and Map of a Proposed CEZ boundary with Centers and Corridors added
  • Begin to fill in the CEZ Planning Pros vs Cons regarding boundary discussion – this will be a format we also use when evaluating, which portions of other plans to incorporate in our the CEZ plan.
Objectives/Outcomes and/or Deliverable
Oct 24, 2017
Meeting Work/Agenda
  • Review Draft Map
  • Review the growing list of plans – Shauna will send out a link to all neighborhood plans
  • Discuss the details gathered thus far in the CEZ Plan Update Outline & Plans to Inform Worksheet. Received at the meeting or before:
    • One Vision. One Plan. One Voice (CoS Joint Strategic Plan)
    • Capital Facilities Plan
    • Comprehensive Plan
    • 2014 Sprague TIP Advisory Board’s Implementation Plan
    • The Yard Redevelopment Master Plan 2017
    • Central City Line Strategic Overlay Plan 2016
    • STA Moving Forward 2016
    • Connect Spokane Comprehensive Plan 2017
    • Transit Development Plan 2017
    • North Hill Neighborhood Action Plan June 2014
    • West Central Neighborhood Action Plan 2012
    • Emerson Garfield Neighborhood Action Plan 2014
  • Public Open House Planning – are we ready/can we be ready?
    • Discussed timeline changes:
      • November and December: Committee members will continue to review plans and submit worksheet citations summarizing what portions of those plan need to be integrated into the CEZ. Staff will continue to collect those worksheets and begin to blend them into a master document.
      • January: Committee meets to review the draft master document and identify gaps in information.
      • February: One final look at the master document before the March Public Open House. Also prepare for what we need to convey to the public as well as gather from the Public.
      • March Open House
      • April/May: consider and incorporate relevant feedback and have the plan and boundary adopted by council
      • May/June: Seek Dept of Commerce and Dept of Revenue approval
Objectives/Outcomes and/or Deliverable
  • Adopted an adjusted timeline (see below) /li>
  • Final Draft Map - no changes (PDF 482 KB)
  • Final Draft Charter - no changes (PDF 104 KB)
  • Better understanding of what information will be incorporated from existing plan
November and December 2017 – No Meeting

Committee members continued to review plans and submit worksheet citations summarizing what portions of those plan need to be integrated into the CEZ. Staff will continue to collect those worksheets and begin to blend them into a master document.

January 2018 – No Meeting

Committee continued to review the draft master document and identify gaps in information.

February 2018 – No Meeting

Reviewed and submitted suggested edits in preparation for the March Public Open House.

March 27 Public Open House

Share with the public the work conducted this far, why it is important, and what the plan hopes to achieve – gather community feedback.

Unfortunately only committee members were in attendance. As such, the Committee began to focus on providing staff with recommendation on aligning the new request for Federal Opportunity Zone designation with the CEZ boundary. Committee members each committed to visit with the stakeholder groups they represented about the draft plan and how it was not a new plan but rather an implementation of many plans within the amended boundary.

April/May – No Meeting

Staff worked to apply to the WA state Department of Commerce for the Governor’s recommendation of the Federal Opportunity Zone.

May/June – No Meeting

Eleven of the fourteen applied for Spokane census tracts were nominated by the Governor and selected by Treasury as Qualified Opportunity Zone. Each of the Census tracts are within the amended CEZ boundary.

July 11, 2018 – Opportunity Zone and Incentives (CEZ included) Training

Over 100 community members registered and over 90 attended to learn about the OZs, CEZ and other incentives available for redevelopment.

July – October – No Meetings

Staff continued to edit and educate the public about the OZ.

November 28, 2018 – OZ & Incentives Public Meeting

Following Treasury’s Adoption of the First Round of OZ fund rules the City hosted another community Stakeholder education

December 2018 – March 2019 – No Meetings

Staff worked to complete the Draft Plan, Application and schedule briefings of City Council and adoption of the plan.

January – March 2019

Staff worked to complete the Draft Plan, Application and schedule briefings of City Council and adoption of the plan.

April 8, 2019 Urban Experience Committee – Council Public Briefing

Staff Briefed the Council and Public on the Draft Plan, Application and next step in preparation for Council Notice, Hearing, and Adoption of the Plan an Boundary Recommendation for Commerce and Dept of Revenue.


Staff would like to bring forward Spokane’s Community Empowerment Zone Strategic Plan and new Boundary for Council adoption, as soon as possible. Or, staff can brief the final plan at a later date … Please advise.


In the summer of 2017, the PED committee appointed Council Members Fagan and Stratton to participate on the review committee and to assist in updating the existing CEZ plan and boundary.

Prior History:

In 2001, the City of Spokane’s Community Development Department embarked upon an application to State to recognize its five-year Community Empowerment Zone Plan and allow the city to offer the State’s Community Empowerment Zone incentives allowed by 43.31C RCW.

The City is responsible to the State for the plan and reports annually to the State on the use of the incentive (GSI offers and tracks the incentive to the new private sector industrial development employer). Both the City and GSI promote the incentive to eligible employers.

In late 2015, after the establishment of the Planning Economic Development Strategy and the Planning Economic Development (ED) Team implementing the strategy, it became evident that the responsibility of the Plan and reporting to the State should reside with the ED team lead.

In 2016, Teri Stripes worked with CHHS to meet the State’s 2015 reporting requirement and in 2017, the ED Team solely met the State’s 2016 reporting requirements. Note that in 2016 there were no companies that took advantage of the incentive, which remained true in 2017.

Executive Summary:

Over the course of two months, the review committee got familiar with the required components of the application and plan, and came to agreement on the update charter.

During the next two months, the team became familiar with the eligible areas of town that also supported manufacturing job creation. They made recommendations for investigation. The boundary changes they have landed on a includes all our eligible industrial properties, many general commercial properties, where some small/light manufacturing can locate in, and also includes the census tracts of income eligible workforce population.

The review committee then diligently worked throughout most of the remaining 2017 and early 2018 identifying portions of plans they represented, or reviewed that should be incorporated in to the updated CEZ. Those plans had to identify needs and financial solutions for the community within the CEZ.

In 2018, staff began pulling all those portions of existing community plans together into the current draft CEZ plan and adding in the new Federally designated and qualified Opportunity Zones.

A draft (final editing needs to occur) is attached as well as the boundary map. We hope you will be comfortable having us bring a final plan forward for adoptions in April rather than waiting until May or June.

Next Steps:

Convert Draft to Final Plan and Boundary

Council Adoption of Plan and Boundary

Complete application and apply to Departments of Commerce and Revenue for Adoption

April 2019 – Resolution Approval