City News Release on Joint Agreement Withdrawal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT Albert Tripp
Airway Heights to release Spokane County from Spokane’s project agreement
AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. (January 25, 2013) – Airway Heights has agreed to release Spokane County from a three-year-old contract between the jurisdictions that outlines how the entities discuss a project proposed by the Spokane Tribe, the City announced today.
Spokane County Commissioners asked to be released from a contract, which required them to take no position with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) or the governor’s office on the Spokane Tribe’s proposal to build a casino and other retail uses on land it owns on the West Plains. A separate agreement, which establishes a formula specifying payments from the Spokane Tribe to both Airway Heights and Spokane County in place of property taxes to cover public services such as fire, public safety, sewer and water, remains in effect.
"The City of Airway Heights believes in open government and we encourage Spokane County to voice its concerns about the project proposed by the Spokane Tribe so that we as a community can gain a better understanding of their position" said Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing.
Two new county commissioners have been elected to the three-person board since the two-party agreement was signed in 2010 by Airway Heights and Spokane County. The Spokane Tribe proposal is currently before the BIA for review. It would also require the approval of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee for the Spokane Tribe to move forward.
Among the issues the governor is expected to consider is the proximity of the proposed development to Fairchild Air Force Base. The base is a finalist to be the home for the new Air Force tanker, and Fairchild command staff has endorsed the city’s land use regulations to protect current and future base operations.
Airway Heights has long been a leader in protecting present and future missions at Fairchild Air Force Base. The city adopted Joint Land Use Standards (JLUS) last month, as a proactive means to define regulations for compatible uses and long-term growth on the West Plains to protect base operations.
“Protecting and supporting Fairchild Air Force Base as a regional asset while creating a friendly and safe community for businesses and citizens has always been a top priority for Airway Heights,” Rushing said. “The ongoing discussion between Airway Heights and Spokane County helps to foster an environment that promotes healthy, compatible growth.”
Airway Heights is a strong advocate for economic development on the West Plains. The Spokane Tribe project would be an economic driver for the region, creating new jobs and additional traffic to existing retail uses, Rushing said.
“The city supports projects that further the economic diversity and vitality of Airway Heights and generate much-needed jobs for our residents,” Rushing said.
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Copy of Release (pdf)