Historic home threatened by rezoning




Posted on December 26, 2013 at 11:38 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 27 at 8:39 AM

SPOKANE, Wash.--A zoning change in Spokane County is threatening a historic home and the retirement plans for the family who lives there.

Residents Robin and Gary Congdon moved into the farmhouse that sits at 5220 W Thorpe Road more than 30 years ago.  The house itself has been undisturbed for 105 years.

The Congdons were shocked in 2004 when the county rezoned the neighborhood as “light industrial”. Since then, WEMCO began building a 68,000 square foot manufacturing plant to the east and Odom Corporation began building a 200,000 square foot distribution center to the west.

The WEMCO plant will support large mining equipment projects, hydroelectric power plants and nuclear facility manufacturing according to the company’s website.

The beverage distribution center is part of a regional conversion project according to Odom Corporation.

The Congdons do not think either project meets the definition of “light industrial”. 

The Landsmark Commission recommended the county deny permits for any construction that might disturb the family’s home. The county said the land fits within the comprehensive plan.

“Because it’s close to the freeway and it has a freeway on-ramp,” Robin said. “They brought sewers and water out here from the city and it’s their grand design to have this all industrial.”

WEMCO Vice President John Rouse did not return phone calls from KREM.  Rouse previously said he believes the project is a good thing for Spokane County and he has been more than sensitive to the needs of the family and the farmhouse.   

Odom Corporation could not be reached for comment.

The Condon’s were planning to retire in the home, but said they will have to decide whether to accept the construction or sell the home they love.

“This was our home. This is where we lived,” Robin said. “People like to feel safe and secure in their home, but this is unbelievable.”

A representative with the Spokane County Planning and Building Department said both companies went through the proper channels.  The Congdons want the County’s ruling investigated.