by Richard Uhlhorn
There were a number of issues raised at the Tuesday evening, May 8, City Council meeting of interest to the general public. These issues ranged from the proposed Holiday Hills development to water craft safety to water rights.
The proposed Holiday Hills Development is probably the largest project ever applied for in the City of Chelan. It includes residential, condominiums, apartment houses, hotel, restaurant and retail space on the south side of Chelan and raised the ire of a number of residents in the area who felt that it was being approved by the City Planning Department without consideration of its potential impacts.
Councilman Tim Hollingsworth brought the development up during Council comments. “There is a lot of concern over this development,” said Hollingsworth. “I just hope as a City, we are taking those things seriously.”
Councilman Tim Hollingsworth brought up the Holiday Hills Development at the Tuesday evening Council meeting.
Hollingsworth went on to state that the development has a lot of moving pieces and he thanked the public who have raised serious concerns for looking over the City’s shoulders. “I think that’s what makes this government work best… it’s a lot of people staying involved and keeping our feet to the fire.”
Planning Director Craig Gildroy gave an update on the proposed development. “The Planning Department did request additional information that included an updated traffic study and an updated critical area study,” said Gildroy.
Planning Director Craig Gildroy updated the Council on the Holiday Hills Development application process.
The Planning Department is still reviewing the public comments that have been submitted. “There is missing information on easements and a lot of other things,” Gilroy told the Council. “We are still waiting for that information to be supplied by the applicant, so basically the application is on hold until we get that.”
He also said that the Planning Department would most likely request additional information from the applicant on elements on the environmental check list. “No decisions (on the development) have been made,” said Gildroy. “Once we get all the studies we are going to ask for… I fully anticipate whatever SEPA decision we make we will have another public comment period.”
Water Shed Planning Meeting:
Hollingsworth also brought up the recent Watershed Planning meeting which discussed water rights. “There will be a significant cost to the City to get these water rights developed,” he said. “And, there is a kind of brewing difficulty because there are a lot more people who have taken up the Department of Ecology on this shared cost then there are actual water rights.”
NOTE: One of the ideas that have been developed is to share the cost of processing water right applications by people who have applied. Many of these applications have been sitting in Ecology’s office for years because there hasn’t been the money to process them.
Hollingsworth also said the County is struggling with some of the withdrawals from Lake Chelan that are not permitted. “There are unpermitted withdrawals from the lake that are next to somebody who is paying a significant amount of money for a permitted withdrawal,” he said. “So there are going to be some issues coming down the pike that we are going to have to work through. It’s pretty complicated.”
Burkhart Towing is no longer in business because he purchased the local NAPA store. This has left the City without a towing company to turn to when needed.
City Parks and Recreation Director Karen Sargent updated the Council on the search for a new towing contractor.
Parks Director Karen Sargent has been working on the issue and told Council that she has two towing companies who have provided proposals. “We don’t use towing services very often,” she said. “We discovered that there are only two towing companies within a 50 mile radius and when I looked at the (City’s) towing policies there are some issues with the original language.” Sargent in the process of changing the code for Council to consider at its next meeting on the 22nd.
There is also no Impound Yard within the City’s Urban Growth Area, so Sargent has changed the code language to state within 50 miles of the City. Hollingsworth wondered if the Public Works Yard could be used as an impound area, but Sargent said an impound yard has to be certified. “I don’t think we want the hassle of certifying a yard,” she said.
Councilmen Ty Witt and Ray Dobbs asked about charges. Sargent said that the State gives towing companies a list of what they can charge up to $286 per hour. However, she said both towing companies are willing to negotiate with the City. “I don’t want to gouge anybody.”
Witt asked how many vehicles had been towed by the City. Sargent replied that they had a boat trailer towed and then had difficulty finding the owner.
Gildroy remarked that the Sheriff’s Department does more towing than the City and that they are also having a hard time finding a tow company to tow for them.
City Administrator Mike Jackson told the Council that he would bring the boater safety issue back to the Council on May 22.
Boater safety was also brought up by Councilperson Kelly Allen who moved to require all operators of rental watercraft to display a rental decal where the Marine Patrol can see it. She also wanted to make sure that everyone operating a boat on the lake carries a Boater Education Card.
Councilperson Erin McCardle said, “I need a lot more information and discussion about that motion.” Hollingsworth weighed in and replied that the City has a Code that requires boaters to carry a Boater Education Card. He suggested looking at the existing code and have the staff come back to address some of the concerns. “We need to do this as a public process.” He also stated it would be nice to have the irresponsible boaters under control.
City Administrator said that it’s not the Code that’s the problem, it’s the enforcement side. McCardle stated that boat rental business owners need to be a part of the discussion.
The City is also looking at moving the No Wake Buoys and putting up signage.
Hollingsworth said that the City needs to come up with additional funding, but the Mayor stated that there are two Marine Patrol units on the lake spending one-half of their time in Chelan water and the other half in County waters, and “we are paying for all of it.”
Councilman Ray Dobbs remarked that the area had a great marine patrol volunteer program in the past and that it might be good to look into that as a solution.
Jackson said he would contact the Sheriff and come back to Council on the 22nd’ “We will come back with a discussion and open this up to a public study.”
Mayor Cooney remarks:
Mayor Mike Cooney
Mayor Cooney reported that the City will accept brush for free the next two weeks in hopes that residents will make the areas around their homes fire safe.
“Glass has dominated my mind recently,” Cooney said. The Recycle Center has 30 to 40 tons of glass the City is trying to get rid of.
Cooney also met with members of the Lake Chelan Wine Alliance. “If you serve beverages from glass, you are a part of the problem. I would contribute from my company and I would hope others would contribute,” he said.
“They need to come up with something and be a part of the solution. We are going to continue to work on it.”
The next City Council meeting is on May 22, beginning at 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.