This is a brief recap of the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Council meeting that took place on October 14, 2015.
There were several guest speakers. Greg Johnson from Cliff-Cannon Neighborhood spoke first to address the cell tower ordinance. He noted that there has been a clash between those who desire more cellular data coverage and those residents who are concerned with their proximity to a cell phone tower for health or aesthetic reasons. There are substitutes, he said, such as a larger number of smaller, shorter-range antennas that would not be as visible. AT&T has opposed using the smaller antennas, whereas Verizon has been supportive of them.
Greg said there is no protection for a historical property in this ordinance, and there is a very short (20 foot) setback from a residence. The tower can also be as tall as 60 feet with the current ordinance. The City cannot dictate technology, but it does have the power to regulate aesthetic guidelines.
He added that AT&T has had lawyers working on this issue who have significant financial leverage on their side. There are lawyers available to oppose AT&T, but Cliff-Cannon Neighborhood has exhausted its funding. Donations can be made to fund additional work by the neighborhood’s lawyers. Also, the City Council will be allowing people to speak on record regarding this issue. Councilwoman Candace Mumm confirmed some of that information, and clarified that e-mails can be sent to Plan Commission members in advance of a public meeting.
Officer Doug Strosahl from the Spokane Police Department reported on crime in our neighborhood. As was the case last month, crime is down overall, but there are reasons for concern. Out of other neighborhoods in SPD’s “P2” area, which includes portions of West Central and North Hill, Emerson-Garfield has had the highest reporting of crimes in the past month. You can research crime prevention through environmental design (aka CPTED) to get some ideas regarding how to reduce crime around your property.
A question was raised about cars on the street with expired tags. Officer Strosahl said that you can report the car to 755-CITY. The compliance time between report and towing is as little as 2 to 3 weeks. If you do call the report in, your name will be on the report, but if you mail in a report requesting non-disclosure, your name will not be visible to the vehicle owner. Cars are not supposed to be rebuilt or repaired on public streets, so this can be reported as well. Parking enforcement can ticket a reported car that has half of its tires on the street and half on the sidewalk.
Councilwoman Candace Mumm spoke next and gave a quick City Council update. The City’s expenses and revenue are both going up. A new police chief will need to be hired, although she said the acting chief is doing a good job. The City has been without a planning director for over a year now, and that slows down improvements around the city. There are openings on the Plan Commission for residents to advise the City regarding various matters, and residents with interest and skill are encouraged to fill out the two-page application.
Max Benson from the non-profit Community Frameworks reported that their old office is being torn down to build 32 low-income housing units with one unit for a property manager. This property will be called West 315. Demolition will begin after October 26, and the project should be completed roughly one year from now. Spokane Housing Ventures will be managing the property. There will also be a bus shelter on the corner of Washington and Mission. The sidewalks surrounding the building will be wider than before. Over $100,000 of solar panels will be on the roof. Community Frameworks has also applied for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds for the North Calispel Improvement Project to pave a portion of Calispel between Sinto and Mission.
It was noted that Community Frameworks has been very proactive in its dealings with the EGNC and has requested the neighborhood council’s input during many of the phases of their development to make sure that the result will be in accordance with our neighborhood’s plan.
Director of Neighborhood Services Jonathan Mallahan spoke last regarding Mayor Condon’s 2016 proposed budget. He said there has already been a great deal of collaboration between the City Council and the Mayor prior to publication of the proposed budget, which will total $810 million. He pointed out some of the anomalies, such as the wastewater management initiative that accounts for over 45% of the total budget. It is a one-time investment because of federal requirements. Jonathan encouraged citizens to contact him directly with questions at (509) 625-6734.
Next came voting issues. The neighborhood council members voted unanimously to assign $11,290.96 from the CDBG street tree account toward tree plantings within the neighborhood, as the funds can no longer be held in that account. A portion of the money could be used to fund irrigation on the NW Boulevard traffic islands that are being planted as part of the 2015 Greening Grant cycle. That community planting, incidentally, will be held on Saturday, October 31. Volunteers are encouraged to help. Anyone on Facebook is welcome to RSVP to the event.
The neighborhood gateway project in partnership with North Hill Neighborhood near Cora and Monroe has made significant progress. It will have trees and irrigation, along with signs welcoming travelers to both neighborhoods. A total of $128,000 in CDBG funds—$64,000 from each neighborhood over two years—will be allocated to the project. Construction will take place in 2018 along with North Monroe Street revitalization. The measure was passed unanimously by voting members, each of whom signed a CDBG conflict of interest statement.
On Saturday, November 7, Faith Bible Church (600 W Cora) will be holding a free Fall Cleanup event. They will have two dumpsters onsite for green yard waste (residents are encouraged to bring their leaves), and they will also be going out into Emerson-Garfield to do some roving cleanup. The church is looking for volunteers from the neighborhood to spread the word and assist on the day. Contact Nathan for more info.
Laura Schlangen reported on the Corbin Senior Activity Center. Their Munch and Mingle Auction sold out and netted almost $18,000.
Community Assembly (CA) meetings will be changing to the first Thursday of each month, starting at 5:30, in the new year. The importance of having a representative who can consistently attend both EGNC and CA meetings was stressed. Four neighborhood council members expressed interest in being a CA or co-CA representative.
Before closing, the season finale (October 16) of the Emerson-Garfield Farmers’ Market was announced, as was the fact that Spokane First Assembly Church (828 W Indiana) is hosting a Halloween Trunk or Treat on October 31 starting at 5:30pm.