Making it Count - Transportation Impact Fees + Extending the Moratorium
Bottom line up front – Contact/email your city representatives and officials (see address links below) to advocate for appropriate impact fees and express the need to fix the current issues in Latah Valley prior to reauthorizing additional development. The current six-month building moratorium is expiring unless extended in mid-March
Background: Thanks to you, Citizen Action for Latah Valley was able to activate a development moratorium for the Latah Valley to confront the onslaught of development coming long before the needed infrastructure. This practice of allowing development before infrastructure is a reality, we live with everyday whether it be about traffic, the lack of sufficient fire protection, the efforts to get our kids to school, or being cut off from the rest of the city because of the absence of public transportation or safe pedestrian and bike paths. We love where we live but we don't love the level of daily challenge nor the reality of more pressures and real-life possibilities of tragedy coming to the Latah Valley because of poor planning and neglect to deal with infrastructure before development.
We have our work cut out for us in 2023 to do all we can to protect the Latah Valley with our allies in the city, county and WSDOT. We were successful before; we can do it again!
TRANSPORTATION IMPACT FEES The directive with the development moratorium enacted in September 2022 required the city to reassess the transportation impact fees and fee districts for developers in Spokane. In fact, the moratorium was worded almost solely about transportation impact fees, which of course ignores the multitude of other needs and realities in the Latah Valley (more to come here in the section labeled Keep the Moratorium). In the area of transportation impact fees alone developers have never paid their fair share. It's high time that they do.
Over three months the city convened an advisory panel of different stakeholders which included city staff, developers, city council people, and citizen advocates (CALV was on the committee). The result of those meetings were recommendations on impact fee districts and impact fees for the downtown core and south side of Spokane.
The planning commission and the city council need to hear from you! CALV is recommending that you relay the following: • Apply the highest impact fees allowable for the West Plains and Latah Valley districts • Make the Latah Valley its own impact fee district (Option 2) https://static.spokanecity.org/documents/bcc/committees/transportation-impact-fee-advisory-committee/materials/2023/01/impact-fee-option-2-20-year-projects-layout-2023-01-10.pdf • Do not allow impact fees to be phased in Get this: CALV knows for a fact that west side developers (Seattle area) interested in doing business in Spokane/Latah Valley have said that charging the maximum transportation impact fee is not an issue. The Spokane development community - developers, Spokane Home Builders, Spokane Realtors, and others - are crying chicken little that no development will happen if the fees are too high. It's time all developers - regardless of where they are from - pay for their impacts and not you and I as taxpayers in Spokane.
Please take the time to contact the planning commission and city council relaying the three points above. Below are links to the emails you will need along with those of city staff who need to be kept in the loop: • Plan Commission firstname.lastname@example.org • City Council https://my.spokanecity.org/citycouncil/members/ When you email the plan commission and city council be sure to cc these city staff members: • Inga Note - email@example.com • Marlene Feist - firstname.lastname@example.org • Spencer Gardner - email@example.com KEEP THE MORATORIUM The development moratorium for the Latah Valley is set to expire mid-March. CALV finds that unacceptable. Though work has been done in the area of transportation impact fees the following items have not be addressed and in most cases not even discussed: • Impact fees for schools, parks, and fire • Construction of an adequate fire station • Coordinated planning for schools, parks, and public transportation • Coordinated comprehensive planning for the future of Latah Valley • Fixing existing transportation issues • Addressing the future of water for the Latah Valley • Considerations for a community center, library, preserving farmland & wild spaces It is feeling like the Latah Valley, once again, will be swept under the rug with the powers that be saying they "fixed" things by charging more transportation impact fees. From the beginning, CALV called for the moratorium it was for infrastructure before development that required these three things: • Comprehensive planning for the Latah Valley • Acquiring and/or identifying the necessary funding for infrastructure needs • Reassessing the approval process for development Besides one area around funding all the other items have yet to be addressed at all or not adequately enough. Keeping the moratorium will keep development from happening before its time.
Feel free to let the city council and mayor's office know your mind but stay tuned for more on how we need to build the pressure to keep the moratorium.
NEIGHBORHOOD RALLY TO PROTECT THE LATAH VALLEY - Thursday, February 23rd at 6pm St John’s Lutheran Church. 5810 E Meadowlane Please block out Feb. 23rd at 6pm for a neighborhood rally. We'll have plenty to go over and plan for with transportation impact fees in the mix along with continuing our effort to keep the moratorium in place.
TALKING POINTS FOR MORATORIUM EXTENSION
1. I am asking you to extend the current moratorium on major development in the Latah Valley until comprehensive planning can be undertaken and funding sources identified for needed infrastructure.
2. Road infrastructure in Latah Valley is unable to safely handle the current traffic loads; increasing car and truck traffic that will come with increased housing and commercial development will only increase congestion, accidents, and the potential for serious injury or death. 3. The Latah Valley currently has inadequate to zero community services needed to be a functional and intact region of the city. Deficiencies range from public transportation, fire response, police response, library services, schools, and a community center. Adding more commercial and housing development will only amplify those inadequacies and disparity in this part of the city. I am asking you to extend the current moratorium on major development in the Latah Valley until comprehensive planning can be undertaken and funding sources identified for needed infrastructure. 4. Agricultural land and wildlife corridors in Latah Valley will be directly affected and undermined by adding more development. Citizens of the Latah Valley have a strong interest in wanting to protect farmland and wildlife habitat from unwarranted development. I am asking you to extend the moratorium on major development in the Latah Valley until comprehensive planning can be undertaken and funding sources identified for needed infrastructure.
TEMPLATE LETTER FOR MORATORIUM EXTENSION Dear [city council member; mayor]
I am contacting you today to call to extend the current moratorium on major development in the Latah Valley (Grandview/Thorpe, Latah/Hangman, Eagle Ridge). Due to an acknowledged lack of planning and monitoring by the city the last 20+ years, any level of major development cannot be adequately, responsibly, or safely absorbed by this part of the city until comprehensive planning is complete. Increasing traffic impact fees are important but still insufficient. Latah Valley requires dedicated city funding and action now for needed infrastructure.
There is a pathway to balance the integrity of the Latah Valley, protect the agricultural and wildlife corridors, manage traffic movements, and allow for smart development adequately, safely, and mindfully. That can only happen by pausing more major development in an area that lacks community resources and appropriate infrastructure and is in jeopardy of losing key community-wide attributes such as the inventory of viable agricultural land and critical wildlife habitat.
The pressure to grow Spokane should never come at the expense of preserving what makes Spokane a wonderful place to live. Please do the right thing – extend the current moratorium on major development in the Latah Valley until comprehensive planning can be undertaken and funding sources identified for needed infrastructure.
Mailing address - 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane, WA 99201
* Emails are best sent individually addressed, but if not possible include the following addresses