Council Passes "Pavement to People: A Downtown Housing Incentive" To Increase Housing On Downtown Surface Parking Lots

Jeff Gunn, Legislative Assistant,

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 7:50 a.m.

The Spokane City Council voted unanimously to approve the “Pavement to People: a Downtown Housing Incentive” ordinance [C36357] to create a program that waives the sales and use tax on new construction to incentivize development on surface parking lots downtown. This program will waive the tax if a developer maintains at least 50 percent of affordable housing units in the development for 10 years.

“Spokane is in a housing crisis, and we need to do everything we can to increase our supply of affordable housing. This program will be a tool to ensure everyone has a place to stay,” said Council Member Zappone. “Parking lots account for one-third of our downtown land and are highly underused, and only 60 percent of all parking spots are used at the highest peak of the day. We need to prioritize people over pavement, which is what this program will do.”

“Housing is a higher and better use for many of the surface parking lots downtown, and developments of those lots would serve to further activate the downtown core,” said Council Member Kinnear. “I am grateful that the legislature gave the City of Spokane the ability to create a sales and use tax deferral program to incentivize developers to build housing on underutilized land in the downtown area.”

Owners interested in this program must apply to the City of Spokane’s Department of Community and Economic Development.

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