Slide Show Of Jon Snyder

Tuesday AM Recap 8/26/14: Karen Stratton appointed new Councilmember

By a 5-1 vote (Councilmember Fagan voting against) Karen Stratton was appointed to the vacant 3rd District City Council seat last night. With only 15 months of the Council term remaining we needed someone who could get up to speed on City issues immediately and has deep community ties. Karen comes from a political family. Both her mother and father were successful elected officials, so she grew up learning the importance of representing citizens. She has worked for the City for over 10 years having been appointed by a Republican Mayor and also served under a Democratic one. People hoping for a Councilmember beholden to a specific ideology will be disappointed, as they likely were with the entire slate of five finalists — who were all excellent. Karen is the first Councilmember from the 3rd District to live south of Northwest Boulevard. I believe she will work hard to represent the best interests of her district and the City as a whole. You can read her resume here and read her Spokesman Review interview here. Thanks again to everyone who applied to this important position.

Also last night the Council approved funding priorities for Community Development Block Grant, Human Services Grant and Emergency Solutions Grant programs, and an ordinance that put an end to 11 years of litigation over an adult retail business which will guarantee the closure of a non-conforming adult retail business. Both passed unanimously.

Upcoming events 8/23/14 through 8/29/14

gathering at the falls powwow

There’s never a shortage of things to do or see in Spokane, especially over the summer, and this weekend is no exception. Starting today and going through Sunday is the annual Gathering at the Falls Powwow. This decades old tradition brings Native American tribes from all across the region who showcase their heritage and culture with dancers, food and musicians. There will also be games, a fun run and contests. The fun starts today at 7PM. Read more here.

Monday, August 25 at 9:30AM – Marijuana Policy Subcommittee – Council Briefing Center in the lower level of City Hall (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd)
Monday, August 25 at 1:30PM – Public Works Committee – Council Briefing Center.
Monday, August 25 at 5PM – Building Stronger Neighborhoods – Fire Station #4 (1515 W. Riverside)
Monday, August 25 at 6PM – Council Legislative Session – Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall.
Tuesday, August 26 at 5:30PM – Human Rights Commission – Council Briefing Center.
Wednesday, August 27 at 1:30PM – City/County Joint Development Meeting – Council Chambers.
Thursday, August 28 at 3:30PM – Council Study Session – Council Briefing Center.

The STA Plaza’ importance to our city, and why its future is not “dim”

sta plaza

Recently, there has been a lot of commentary on the Spokane Transit Authority Plaza, in part due to the Boards’ decision to delay the renovations of the plaza at the behest of Downtown Spokane Partnership and Greater Spokane Incorporated, but there are two pieces worth reading if you haven’t already had a look at them.

First up, Heather Svandize wrote a great editorial column in the Spokesman-Review on why the transit renovations are key to a vibrant city. Second, after the article in the Spokesman on Monday by Dave Wasson quoted Chuck Hafner as saying the “only resolution to it will be to move the plaza,” Board Chair of the STA Councilwoman Amber Waldref set out to set the record straight that there are no plans to move the plaza. Read her email to STA Board members in the Inlander article here.

Tuesday AM Recap: Transportation Benefit District & Unit Lot Subdivision

At yesterday’ council meeting, the council voted 4-1, with Councilman Fagan voting against, in support of a resolution I asked for which would dissolve the Transportation Benefit District if the administration does not present a Pedestrian Master Plan within the next two years. Past efforts to bring forward such a plan have resulted in unfinished work, and no final product. My hope is that this will provide an incentive for the finalizing of a Pedestrian Master Plan. Our Comprehensive Plan, which is the guiding document for planning in the City of Spokane, calls for pedestrian planning to be a priority for the city. It is my belief that we have not done enough to reach this goal.

The other major agenda item for the night was an update to our unit lot subdivision standards to provide a new form of ownership with cottage housing projects, townhouses and other similar developments. We are beginning to see an increase in cottage and townhouse developments in this city, especially in Kendall Yards, and the benefits they can provide. The changes are in line with the goals of our comprehensive plan, which calls for efficient land use and a diversity of housing types to meet the needs of our city. The item was passed unanimously. Other items that came before council last night included an ordinance to update our municipal code to allow high density polyethylene pipe for water service and changing the allowable location of a water meter box and the approval a local improvement district for street improvements on 12th Avenue from Spruce to Inland Empire Way. Both of these items passed unanimously.

Upcoming events 8/16/14 through 8/22/14

unity in the community

On Saturday, August 16 in Riverfront Park, Unity in the Community, the region’s largest multiculture celebration will be celebrating its 20th year. The event will feature live entertainment, a cultural village, art displays, fun activities for kids and teens and education, career and health fairs and more. It starts at 10AM and goes until 4PM and is free and open to the public. So come down to Riverfront Park to have some fun and learn about the diverse cultures and people who live in our area.

Monday, August 18 at 10:30AM – Planning, Community and Economic Development Committee – Council Briefing Center in the lower level of City Hall (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd).
Monday, August 18 at 1:30PM – Public Safety Committee – Council Briefing Center.
Monday, August 18 at 6PM – Council Legislative Session – Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall.
Tuesday, August 19 at 6PM – Bicycle Advisory Board – Council Briefing Center.
Tuesday, August 19 at 6:30PM – East Central Neighborhood Council – East Central Community Center (500 S. Stone).
Wednesday, August 20 at 5:30PM – Joint Community Assembly/City Council – Northeast Community Center (4001 N Cook St).
Thursday, August 21 at 3:30PM – Council Study Session – Council Briefing Center.
Thursday, August 21 at 5PM – Land Use Committee – West Central Community Center (1603 N. Belt Street).

Tuesday AM Recap 8/12/14: Spokane Transit Support Resolutions

Last night the Council approved two resolutions supporting the Spokane Transit Authority. The first resolution pertained to the downtown STA Plaza and supported the location and its integral part of STA’s past and future operations including STA’s moving forward plan. The resolution supports the current planned investment in the plaza that will improve operations and make the crucial transit hub more friendly for users and surrounding businesses. I was dismayed to see that both the Downtown Spokane Partnership and Greater Spokane Incorporated strayed very far from their missions in presenting resolutions last month to the STA board in an attempt to derail plaza improvements and move the plaza. These organizations, both of which receive public funding, need to show that they can act in the public interest and support transit in downtown Spokane. The Plaza is used by 21,000 people every day. They deserve efficient service. The Council voted approve this resolution. (Renowned public transit planner and author Jarrett Walker was in Spokane last Friday for a discussion on transit in Spokane and praised the quality and efficiency of the STA Plaza) Read the rest of this entry »

Transit Zine Launch Party at the MAC this evening

transit zine

Today at 6PM at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, Futurewise and Spokane Transit Authority are holding a launch party for the Complete Streets Transit Zine. There will be beer and wine at the MAC’s outdoor plaza, as well as appetizers in the Auditorium Lobby where there will be a display of Spokane’s historic transit system. In the Auditorium, author of the book “Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking About Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives” Jarrett Walker will discuss the future of transit in Spokane. Hope to see you there!

Upcoming Events 8/814 through 8/15/14

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If you aren’t sure what all the new Riverfront Park Master Plan entails, you have a great opportunity to learn more about the plan on August 13. Parks Director Learoy Eadie and Master Plan Manager Juliet Sinisterra will give a free tour of the proposed future developments starting at 4:30pm at the Fountain Cafe. To read the plan itself, click here.

Monday, August 11 at 10:30AM – Planning, Community and Economic Development Committee – Council Briefing Center in the lower level of City Hall (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.).
Monday, August 11 at 1:30PM – Public Works Committee – Council Briefing Center.
Monday, August 11 at 6PM – Council Legislative Session – Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall.
Tuesday, August 12 at 6PM – Pedestrian, Transportation and Traffic Committee – West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt.
Wednesday, August 13 at 12:30PM – Council District 3 Vacancy Interviews – Council Briefing Center
Wednesday, August 13 at 7PM – Peaceful Valley Neighborhood Council – PVCC, 214 N. Cedar.
Wednesday, August 13 at 7PM – Southgate Neighborhood Council – ESD 101, Conference Center, 4202 S. Regal.
Thursday, August 14 at 3:30PM – Council Study Session – Council Briefing Center.

No Council Meeting Tonight

This is a reminder that there is no council meeting tonight. The next council meeting will be held on August 11 at 6PM.

Also, tomorrow is the primary election. If you have no turned in your ballot yet, you have until 8PM tomorrow (for drop boxes). Drop box locations can be found here. Other information about the primary can be found here.

Tuesday AM Recap 7/29/14: Street Levy, Park Bond & Emerson Garfield Plan

It was hot outside, but inside Council Chambers heads were cool. All votes were unanimous last night and almost all testimony was supportive of Council actions (don’t worry, it won’t last.) Council took the final vote to place the Streets Levy and the Park Bond on the November ballot. These are two important measures that I strongly support. Great cities double-down and and make smart investments when emerging from a recession–which is exactly what these measures will do. I commend the Mayor, his staff, and all the citizen volunteers at Parks and Streets who have worked so hard to craft these measures. In my mind these votes are two out of three important projects that are needed to spur job growth and make out city more competitive. The third item is Spokane Transit’s Moving Forward ballot measure which should happen next year. Improving bus service and building the Central City Line will be a key economic driver for our City. If we can pass this two measures first then folks will have been streets to travel on and a major revamped Riverfront Park to go to.

Council also passed the Emerson Garfield Neighborhood Plan. This has been almost 2 years in the making and includes a great vision for increased pedestrian safety and a revitalized Monroe Street business corridor. Congratulations to all the citizens who followed the process and the many meetings to come up with this document.

In addition we passed two emergency budget ordinances; one to accept a FEMA grant and another to improve our permitting system. We also passed to item that will greatly improve the long-term financial health of our City pension system. I have been asking for these changes for two years along with fellow members of the Spokane Employee Retirement Systems board so it’s great to finally see them getting done. Lastly, we approved the removal of one aging skywalk staircase that will help the redevelopment of the Bennet Block. The removal will be paid by the property owner and the staircase functionality will be replaced by new, internal staircases.