Dalton residents, pick a path for the future

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DALTON GARDENS — Committee members want the public’s guidance in directing how Dalton Gardens grows for the next decade.

The Dalton Gardens Planning Commission will hear public comments on the 2019-2030 Comprehensive Plan draft at 6 p.m. today at Dalton Gardens City Hall, 6360 N. Fourth St.

Plans formed by a nine-member committee of town residents, along with a Spokane consultant, were merged to form the city’s latest draft comprehensive plan. Vern Church was among committee members to craft the city’s latest comp plan, beginning in 2015.

The 40-year Dalton Gardens resident has seen about 30 percent growth in the city since the 1980s when the population hovered below 1,800. The current population is around 2,500.

Most of the city’s growth has been along the Government Way corridor, but residential growth, as once vacant street-front lots are developed, has resulted in more traffic in neighborhoods.

“We’re trying to discourage motorists from treading through neighborhoods and to use Government Way or Highway 95,” he said.

A 25 mph speed zone on Fourth and 15th streets has worked so far, but an increase of traffic on narrow residential streets is inevitable, he said.

Mount Carrol Street, where he lives, is an example of a once-quiet street that has turned into a shortcut for a lot of traffic heading to Prairie Avenue, he said.

“It’s fairly narrow and people walk, jog, walk their dogs and ride horses on that street,” Church said. “We have all these people using the street and we want to make sure we keep those streets safe.”

One of the marked changes in the draft comprehensive plan is for mixed-use residential and commercial zones along the Government Way corridor.

Consultants opted for the mixed-use zoning, which allows residential properties such as apartments to mix with businesses, something Church doesn’t like.

“I didn’t like the idea of merging the two together, allowing residences above business, or allowing multi-family housing there,” he said. “Ours is a more market-oriented approach.”

If others disagree with him, he encourages them to take part in today’s hearing, he said.

“Some residents may think that’s a good idea, but I’m not one of them,” he said. “So that’s why getting this out to the public, to let them look at it and voice their own opinions, that’s what’s best for city.”

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