Gov. Inslee Halts Urban Growth Near Fairchild

By Tom Bacon

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is putting pressure on Spokane County commissioners to dismantle their expansion of the Urban Growth Area they authorized this summer.

The governor has told heads of two big state agencies - Commerce and Transportation - to appeal the expansion of Spokane County's urban growth areas; to do it by filing appeals with the state's Growth Management Hearings Board.

Inslee is worried specifically about development in flight paths for Fairchild Air Force Base. He also told county commissioners that their go-ahead for urban growth will saddle taxpayers with infrastructure costs, and will impact the state highway system. 

The governor wrote to commissioners, reminding them that the legislature appropriated $2.7 million to buy another parcel of land near Fairchild that had been identified as encroaching on the air field's approach path. But he said the county's growth plan will negate that mitigation and will encourage more development near the base. He said the county's plan contradicts its own effort to limit such development.

Inslee asked the county to stop accepting applications for new developments pending rulings by the Hearings Board and courts. So far, county commissioners have not responded to his plea.
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