Driveway ordinance sparks debate - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Driveway ordinance sparks debate

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An ordinance about driveways sparked a heated debate at last night's City Council meeting. An ordinance about driveways sparked a heated debate at last night's City Council meeting.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

At Monday night's City Council meeting, council members voted 6-1 in favor of an ordinance that prohibits the obstruction of driveways that interfere with the public right of way.

Like the week before, the meeting was a bit more animated than usual with many people upset about the ordinance, claiming that it is about more than driveways.

Council member Mumm who is behind the ordinance describes it as an "inclusive ordinance" that is about protecting the public's right of way when using a driveway, but opposing Council member Mike Fagan, the lone naysayer, says that it was introduced with a specific agenda.

He says the wording Mumm used when speaking to council about the ordinance was "local business access is being obstructed by those philosophically opposed to some of the businesses services."

In a conversation with CEO and President of Planned Parenthood, Karl Eastlund on Monday, he confirmed that they were in favor of this ordinance because of the problem they've had with protestors blocking the driveway for patients.

Councilman Fagan says that he believes the ordinance favors one group's interests over another's and calls it unconstitutional.

Mumm said all types of people were in support of the ordinance including "those who like to express their first amendment rights." She was particularly speaking about Life Services of Spokane, a pro life organization that sent out a press release stating their support of the ordinance. That press release also talked about the organization's support for free speech of those who "may be philosophically opposed to some of the business services."

Shawn Stevens, Executive Director of Life Services says the statement was used out of context. In Mumm's closing remarks at Monday's meeting she used an excerpt from the press release saying "Life Services supports the preservation of access to local businesses and homes through driveways within the public right of way."

"Councilwoman Mumm did read an excerpt of our press release that created an illusion that we were in 100% support of her agenda," says Stevens.

He said the statement continued with "at the same time, Life Services supports the preservation of the right to free speech for those who are considered 'philosophically opposed to some business services.'"

Stevens says the statement was crafted in response to whether or not the ordinance would affect Life Services.

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