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Spokane Valley OKs $630,000 land purchase intended for affordable housing

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(The Center Square) – The Spokane Valley City Council on Tuesday approved a $630,000 allocation to purchase property that may be used for future low-income housing.

“There’s a need for affordable housing in Spokane Valley, and the acquisition of land is one of the biggest barriers that providers are facing right now,” city services administrator Gloria Mantz told the council in a presentation with City Attorney Kelly Konkright.

Mantz said the 1.3-acre tract is located near the intersection of Carnahan Road and East Second and Third Avenues. The property, consisting of two lots, is mostly vacant now, but is approved for “a variety of uses” including residential and multi-family dwellings, said Mantz.

The property is currently owned by Wheeler Investments and Development LLC of Spokane Valley. There is one residence on the northeast section of the tract that is currently occupied by two tenants paying $600 a month in rent. They have agreed to relocate, said Mantz.

An appraisal set fair market value of the tract at $630,000 and money for the purchase will come from the city’s $2 million in reserve pandemic-related federal funds, said Mantz.

Under state law, when local jurisdictions use state or federal funds to acquire property that requires relocation of tenants who have been on site for at least 90 days, they are entitled to payment for relocation expenses such as moving costs, application fees, taxes and rent differential.

Based on state guidelines, staff recommended a payment amount not to exceed $9,040, said Mantz and Konkright.

Mantz said the tenants have indicated they will move next month, and the city expects to close the property purchase a couple weeks after the site is vacated but a specific date has not yet been set.

Once the sale is completed, the city will issue a request for proposals for development of affordable housing on the site, said Mantz.

“The land will be either deeded or leased to the successful applicant,” she said Thursday in an email to The Center Square.

City officials have talked to potential providers and found there is “a lot of interest for those purposes,” Mantz told the council on Tuesday. “They also confirmed that the site and the zoning … will provide them with a wide range of uses for the development of the property.”