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PF annexation and zoning request put on hold

by ELLI GOLDMAN HILBERT
Staff Writer | May 21, 2022 1:00 AM

POST FALLS - An annexation and zoning request that would allow construction of multi-family housing on land connected to development of a new technology park was tabled Tuesday by the Post Falls City Council.

The request made by Dobler Engineering involves 12 acres owned by Spokane developer Harlan Douglass at the northwest corner of Highway 41 and Prairie Avenue.

“The intent is to fold it into a larger development,” Gordon Dobler told City Council members. “It does need to be folded into that piece to the west in order to develop. That was the intent all along.”

The annexation is part of a larger plan for a 350-acre technology park, said City Administrator Shelly Enderud on Wednesday.

The tech park project coincides with development of the Post Falls Technology Urban Renewal district, which was created in 2018. Plans for the tech park include industrial, retail and office spaces, housing, open space, trails, landscaping and a regional retail center.

Douglass purchased the property from a prior developer and plans to move forward with the tech park plan, though the timeline is undetermined and the plans may change, Enderud said.

For the 12 acres now under consideration, Dobler petitioned the city for the annexation with a zoning designation of Community Commercial Services. The Post Falls Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval in April of the land use designation. CCS zoning allows for multi-family housing on up to 100% of the property, though a special use permit would be required to build any high-density housing.

Dobler didn’t confirm that the developer intends to build high-density housing, but doesn’t deny it either.

“It’s early enough in the game that we haven’t planned all the land uses,” Dobler said. “To restrict it, I think we’d be a little hesitant.”

Citizen testimony at Tuesday’s council meeting was in opposition to the zone designation.

Post Falls resident Samantha Steigleder said that though she supports the annexation of the 12 acres, she does not support a CCS zoning.

“We don’t want more high-density housing,” Steigleder said.

Howard Burns submitted a long letter in opposition to the annexation, and also addressed the council Tuesday night. Burns was concerned about the lack of discussion concerning how the 12-acre annexation will be incorporated into the tech park plan.

“Questions I asked have never been answered,” Burns said. “You should not annex this property without seeing something about what they’re going to do.”

After lengthy discussion, City Council members voted unanimously to table the request until they have more information about the long-term impact of approving it.

In other news, council members approved a request to zone 9 acres at the southeast corner of West Prairie Avenue and Greensferry Road. Owner of the land, Fivefold Foundation Ministries, plans to construct a new church and training facility on 3 acres zoned for limited commercial use. The remainder of the property will be zoned R-2, which is medium density residential, and developed into 19-single family homes and four duplexes.

Council members unanimously voted to approve the request.

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