Thanksgiving is a week away, and we are thankful for all the effort you and others have put into protecting the future of the Latah Valley. A little over a year ago Citizen Action for Latah Valley put out a call to action to adopt a moratorium on major development in the Latah Valley and in September, the Spokane City Council did just that. Thank you for your amazing support and action! We are most definitely thankful for this!
THE NEXT STEP
Now it is to time to make sure the job gets done right.
MAKE THE MORATORIUM COUNT
The moratorium is in effect from September 2022 to March 2023. The focus of the moratorium is on transportation impact fees. The Latah Valley needs those fees, but those fees alone are nowhere near enough to make up for lacking infrastructure or to prepare for future infrastructure. The city council and the mayor's office need to hear from you on keeping the moratorium in place for as long as it will take - Make the Moratorium Count!
The reasoning for the moratorium was three-fold:
· PLANNING - We need better comprehensive planning before any development can proceed
· FUNDING - We need infrastructure improvements first and a better sense of who is paying for it - taxpayers, developers, government?
· PROCESS - We need to improve the development approval process for Latah Valley and the rest of Spokane
The current moratorium addresses FUNDING, but only in part. The focus of the moratorium is to update transportation impact fees. These fees, to be paid by developers, are meant to address such needs as roadways and roadway improvements. These impact fees are also used to help leverage state and federal money to help make up the difference of what is not collected from the developers. An updating of the impact fees and the need to have developers pay more for their impacts is a good thing. We are most definitely thankful for this.
However, the issues of the Latah Valley go beyond just roads. The constant refrain from CALV has been "Infrastructure Before Development". This means fire services, police services, schools, parks, public transportation, and so on. The current and future situations of the Latah Valley will not be solved by transportation impact fees.
At the city council meeting on November 7th, the mayor, the city council, the developers, and the people of Latah Valley, all pointed to the fact that past planning missed the mark to say the least where the Latah Valley is concerned. As we have identified from the beginning there needs to be truly comprehensive planning before development can proceed.
Please contact the city council and mayor's office and tell them to extend the moratorium on major development to undertake deep planning for the Latah Valley. Let's make the moratorium count!
A city committee was appointed to assess transportation impact fees for the city including the Latah Valley. Members of the committee include city staff, city councilors, other community groups/agencies, neighborhood advocates, and developers. CALV is also on that committee. The charge of that committee is to decide what the impact fees should be for the different parts of the city and how to divide the city into impact fee districts. CALV will keep you posted on where things sit along with actions, we will need you to take. The two important pieces for the Latah Valley are:
1. Impact fees that make sense - The impact fees need to match the needs of the Latah Valley - our area is targeted for the most development therefore fees should be equal to the impact they will have. Latah Valley is playing both catch up for the lack of infrastructure in the past as well as preparing for the future.
2. Impact fees where the impact is - The city is currently broken up into impact fee districts. There are a few different proposals on changing impact fee district boundaries including having a Latah Valley specific impact fee district. There is also a proposal to fold the Latah Valley into other districts which makes it questionable that the fees charged will be adequate for the Latah Valley let alone be directed to the road improvement needs of the Latah Valley
We'll keep you posted on what we learn and how you can help in making sure the fees make sense and that they go to where the impacts are.