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Great research. The problem in our community is that we have lost the bar to be raised. Just drive down sprague or I-90 and feast your eyes on abandoned box stores, replaced by newer versions and don't forget the wondrous wrecking yard near the freeway for all of our guests to admire and form their opinion of our region. As I have repeated in previous posts and agee with this column,we have to have standards in place, create newer more stringent ones and provide ENFORCEMENT, otherwise we are stuck with we we've had here forever, uncitely development and property owners with urban blight, waitng for the price of their dirt to increase so that they finally sell out to a developer. Good work Bozeman, shame on us!


I don't really like the Bozeman style buildings. They look like a cheesy attempt at "small town charm". Like Home Depot is a Mom and Pop shop or something.

East Sprague is nasty but it wouldn't have mattered if that old vacant Home Base looked like the Bozeman stores - it would still be empty.

There are many reasons that stretch of Sprague looks so bad and it's one of the main issues being dealt with by the Spokane Valley City council (who by the way loves to talk to any "new urban" planners they can get their hands on).

We'll see how it turns out but they've got all the buzz words right so far.

Roger Grimes, PE

While Bozeman may appear to be an example of the ideal of "raising the bar" it may also be an example of how to discourage developers, especially franchise operators who rely on a recognized appearance. Bozeman has a Design Review Board made up of local architects. While there are planning regulations for materials and appearance the DRB has the mandate to recommend planning approval or disapproval based simply on their opinion of the design's asthetics. They do not offer an action item list of acceptable corrections to the design, only "bring it back when you get it right". While sitting through this process for a hotel project I witnessed an architect present his sixth iteration, having had to go back and forth for six months, just for a franchise restaurant. The final accepted design looked nothing like the brand, and looked nothing like what the owner wanted. In "raising the bar" there needs to be consideration that the bar may be raised higher than the business owners are willing to jump!

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