SPOKANE, Wash.—Construction site neighbors claim the City of Spokane failed more than half of the time when it came to enforcing building codes on the new Target going up on Spokane’s South Hill.
The Target is set to open along S. Regal Street on July 27.
The South Gate Neighborhood chair, Ted Teske, said he wants to make Spokane leaders aware of the code violations so it does not happen again on future developments.
Neighbors said they are not upset with Target. They said they made some concessions in 2009 to allow them to come into the area. Neighbors said what is disappointing to them is that the City allowed Target to skirt around zoning agreements and at times ignored standards all together.
Teske said he knows it can be a pain to the City planning department but it is for the good of neighborhoods.
Teske said the city has not enforced design standards required for center and corridor one zoning as part of a developer agreement signed in 2009.
The agreement required Target to have things like projecting cornice roofs, windows where concrete walls are now and on street parking to help promote a pedestrian friendly area that is similar to the Perry and Garland Districts.
“This is 15 acres...11 of that is parking that is not pedestrian oriented at all. So I think the scaled of it is built for the automobile and it's not conforming the vision of a pedestrian zone,” said Teske. “We are going to have big box development in this area...the question becomes now how do we mitigate that impact on the neighborhood and make an area that people want to come to and spend to.”
It was decided in 2009 that a big box would come in. The issue was how to build in an area where pedestrian, neighborhood and traffic can live together cohesively.
“I can understand if you're going to do design variances for one or two things... but to have half of your zoning ordinances not being followed in a design...that's like throwing them out the window,” said Teske.
Dave Black, who owns the land and is developing the site for Target said he has never violated any rules stipulated in the development agreement. He said with a project of this scale that it is almost impossible to keep everyone happy.
“There’s been nothing that has been skirted or gone around. In fact, the development agreement provides for certain things we’ve had to do like trails through the site, connectivity, saving a certain amount of trees. All those things we’ve compiled with and gladly so. We want to work with the neighborhood,’ said Black.
In regards to all site plans and building applications, Julie Happy with the City of Spokane replied, “PDS staff reviewed the building applications and they were determined to be consistent with the approved Integrated Site Plan, approved by Design Review and the Southgate Neighborhood.”
“The Center and Corridor Design Standards were met with the Development Agreements with the neighborhood. The Development Agreements named Target specifically by name and received neighborhood approval. It is the only big box store that was named by name. The neighborhood was part of the Design Review and had a seat at the table, as well as provided approval for the Development Agreements.”
Teske’s own research presented at a city council meeting on March 31 revealed the city has not enforced the mix design standards as promised in the original developer agreement.
He is worried the city is setting a dangerous precedent for an 88,000 square foot big box store. Teske said according to municipal code, design changes during the project needed to be submitted in writing to the city engineer. He said he has looked over thousands of documents but could never find the documentation.
Target had no comment on this story.