WSDOT Doubles Down: City Ducks Responsibility On April 10th the Washington Department of Transportation sent a letter to the city about the Latah Valley. In that letter they made mention of the recent moratorium and actions taken regarding the development fee increases, but the majority of it centered on the reality of the situation in the Latah Valley whereas the city has not followed through on the necessary road improvements. The most clear passage was this one:
Regardless of the solutions enacted by the City I must underscore the vital importance of constructing the identified improvements before or at least along with the construction of the developments.
These words echo the words relayed to the city back in 2020 and with that reminder that left hand turns from Hatch, Meadowlane, 16th onto SR-195 will be closed for safety reasons if the city doesn't step up.
The City responded on April 17th. In that response they said this:
Implicit in your letter (and Mr. Gribner’s 2020 letter) is a continued request for a formal halt to development along the Hwy 195 corridor. We understand this, but at the same time are constrained by state law in our efforts to limit or suspend development in the area indefinitely, and by the broader demands to address the critical housing shortage.
There are two very big problems with this statement. The fact that people's safety is in question (including the real possibility of fatalities) because of inadequate roads is a legally justifiable reason to enact a new moratorium. In addition there are also the reasons related to insufficient planning and a litany of substandard to no infrastructure as other reasons to enact a new moratorium. The second problem is the claim that houses being built in the Latah Valley will address the housing shortage. This is a very disingenuous statement because the houses slated to be built will not be affordable to the average Spokane resident let alone low income. The development in the Latah Valley will not address housing for those who need it most: those not housed or those who could use truly affordable housing.
You can read both letters here and formulate your own view: CALV suggests you send notice to the city and the media that the city keeps ducking its responsibility in addressing the realities of the Latah Valley. And with that, WSDOT has provided, yet again even though it has ZERO say on development in the city, a common sense option which is to stop development until the problems are solved. Demand that the city enact a moratorium on major development.
No development before infrastructure. Latah Valley needs a moratorium!