Updating the Historic Preservation Code

SMC 17D.100.230

Adding Centers & Corridors for Historic Preservation Review when Demolition is Proposed

The Historic Preservation Office understands that Centers and Corridors are important places to focus new development within the City of Spokane. Centers and Corridors have a distinct sense of place and historic buildings are certainly a contributing factor to the attractiveness and appeal of these areas. Centers and Corridors is a zoning designation. If you’d like to check the zoning on a property, the City Map is available. The addition of Centers and Corridors to SMC 17D.100.230 may help focus development to avoid demolition of historic buildings.

The Historic Preservation Office, alongside the Spokane Historic Landmarks Commission, already reviews demolitions of properties within the Downtown Boundary Zone as well as within the 15 National Register Historic Districts in the city. This proposal would add Centers and Corridors to the existing demolition review.

Additionally, the City of Spokane Centers & Corridors Study (June 2024) states this about Historic Preservation in our Centers and Corridors (page 36):

There are currently few protections against the demolition of historic buildings within the urban fabric of some historic Centers. Placing appropriate controls on demolition of historic structures in Centers and Corridors and standards that support adaptive re-use can help ensure historic structures support the development of a sense of place in centers, linking these areas past and its future.

The proposed changes to the current ordinance (SMC 17D.100.230) are a first step toward protecting important historic buildings in our Centers and Corridors.



The Process for Property Owners Proposing Demolition in a Center and Corridor Zone

When a building within a Center & Corridor is proposed for demolition:

1.  Eligibility – the building would have to be at least 50 years old and meet one of our criteria for listing:

  • (Category A) Those structures that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our local history; or
  • (Category B) That are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
  • (Category C) Property embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components lack individual distinction; or
  • (Category D) That have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important to prehistory or history; and
  • (Category E) A property that represents the culture and heritage of the city of Spokane in ways not adequately addressed in the other criteria, as in its visual prominence, reference to intangible heritage, or any range of cultural practices.

In addition to age and meeting the SMC criteria to be eligible, a property must also have “integrity.” Integrity meaning that there is enough original material or form to convey the property’s historic significance.


2. Determining Eligibility:

  • Owner may choose to hire a consultant to write a report on eligibility.
  • Staff will review any document provided by owner/consultant and make their own recommendation to the SHLC:
    • A public hearing will be scheduled on the next SHLC agenda
    • Decision of SHLC on eligibility is final (can be appealed to the Hearings Examiner)

3. If the property to be demolished is found NOT ELIGIBLE for listing on the Spokane Register of Historic Places, that is the end of the review and a demolition permit may be obtained and demolition may proceed.



If a property is found to be ELIGIBLE for listing on the Spokane Register of Historic Places

  1. SHLC would review the replacement structure to make sure that it is “context compatible.”
  2. Once the replacement structure is approved by the Landmarks Commission, full building permits and financial commitment from the property owner would be required prior to the demolition permit being issued to avoid speculative demolition and loss of historic buildings without concrete plans for redevelopment.




Additional Changes to SMC 17D.100.230

  • Replacement structure footprint should be equal to or greater than the square footage of the building to be demolished.
  • Replacement structure should be at least 75% of the square footage of the existing building.
  • Also removing the language that allowed for a building smaller than at least 60% of the floor area ratio* of the demolished, historically eligible building if:
    • Current code allows smaller buildings if there is a public benefit (green space or public art)
    • Current code allows the owner to “submit plans in lieu for design and approval by the city’s design review board subject to applicable zoning and design guidelines”


*The City of Spokane Planning Department is moving away from using FAR (floor area ratios) in their code sections, so Historic Preservation is following their lead and using square footage as a measurement term for building size.



Upcoming Dates to Know:

Online Open House Workshop: TBD

Spokane Historic Landmarks Commission Workshop: Wednesday, August 21st, 3:30 pm

Plan Commission Workshop: Wednesday, August 28th, 2:30 pm

Plan Commission Hearing: Wednesday, September



Municipal Code Amendments to SMC Chapter 17D.100.230

SEPA DETERMINATION: A Notice of SEPA Determination and Checklist for the non-project action known as the “Adding Centers & Corridors for Historic Preservation Review when Demolition is Proposed” is being created. The proposal adds review of demolition requests of properties that are eligible for listing on the Spokane Register of Historic Places within the Centers and Corridors zones by amending the citywide development regulations in the Unified Development Code of the Spokane Municipal Code 17D.100.230.

This code change is currently under review by the Spokane Historic Landmarks Commission. It will also go to the City Plan Commission. The Plan Commission will hold a workshop and a public hearing on this item. Then City Council will vote on this proposal. If you’d like to provide comments or add your name to the interested persons for this project, please contact Logan Camporeale, lcamporeale@spokanecity.org.


  • Hold for Determination of Nonsignificance
  • Hold for SEPA Checklist




Documents for Review

Redlined Ordinance


Proposed Ordinance


PowerPoint Centers & Corridors Demo Review