City Council will consider approval of Community Centers in residential areas on August 13

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan City Council held a public hearing on a Zoning Code Text Amendment for Community Centers within residential areas.

Planning Director Craig Gildroy told the Council that he had received written comments on community centers in the multi-family zones. “The definition allows churches, “said Gildroy. “It could be allowed.” He also said the amendment has a set of minimum conditions. “We do have codes for dark skies and noise.”

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Chelan Planning Director Craig Gildroy

The text amendment would allow community centers to be built on 2.5 acres to a 40 foot height with setbacks of 25 feet on the front and back of the structure and 15 feet on the sides.

“The City Council can accept this or remand it back to the Planning Commission for more works,” said Gildroy.

Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart asked if a community center could be built in the downtown residential area. Gildroy replied that the amendment does not apply there.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said the amendment seemed to allow enough of a buffer in the Urban Growth Area. Councilman Ty Witt remarked that the amendment is about getting community centers on the list.

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Peter Fraley

Pete Fraley told the Council that he started his process for a community center and has met with the Planning Department in preparation for the October 31 deadline. “We are fine with the outcome and the Conditional Use Permit.” He did say there was a significant increase in setbacks.

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Evie Hirschberger

Resident Evie Hirschberger said her concerns were impacts to residential privacy, the 40 foot height of buildings that could result in lost view corridors for home owners and the long term impacts. “Single family residential areas should not be impacted by 40 foot high buildings,”

Resident and candidate for City Council in the upcoming election, John Olson stated that community centers should be site specific with a five acre minimum area and that community centers should be in the residential area, not on the outside. “Everyone knows that housing, especially affordable housing, is on everybody’s mind. We haven’t talked about capacity… 10 people, 100 people.”

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Ben Williams

Ben Williams, Chairman of the Seven Acres Foundation talked about the foundation’s efforts to construct a community center adjacent to Anderson Road. “One donor has pledged to build a pool,” Williams told the Council. “We hope to do a 27,000 square feet community center. It’s very challenging to raise the capital.”

Williams said the property on Anderson Road (west of and behind the warehouses off Hwy 150) is a perfect area for a community center. “It’s a huge benefit to make this happen.” He has one donor for $100,000. “Capital attracts capital. It’s going to cost a half million to run a sewer line to the site.”

Councilwoman Kelly Allen said, “I wish I had a crystal ball. I hate the idea of non intended consequences.” Hollingsworth said he’d rather see a community center like Seven Acres Foundation is promoting closer to town.

Chelan City Council will vote at its Tuesday, August 13 meeting to approve the Text Amendment that will allow Community Centers to be constructed in the City.

The Council also authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the agreements with FreeDoc for the Records Management Program much to the delight of City Clerk Peri Gallucci. The project will take two years to complete, but is intended to scan and store all the City records on line for easy dispersal for public records requests.

Hollingsworth said, “People don’t know how important this is. We must have buy-in from all the departments.” Council voted unanimously to approve.

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Tim Hollingsworth

In 2006, the City Council adopted the SR150/No-See-Um Road Intersection Study and recommended establishment of a cost reimbursement benefit area for new development in the area. “This benefit area is for the City’s actual costs of building the roundabout,” said Gildroy. “There are a number of property owners affected like Campbell’s, the Lookout and Vin du Lac.”

With the construction of the No-See-Um Roundabout by the WSDOT, the actual cost borne by the City is much less than what was assumed in the original study and cost reimbursement methodology. This resolution, if approved, will establish a new reimbursement amount based on actual cost incurred by the City. Without the No-See-Um roundabout improvements, the identified benefited properties would not be able to develop because of traffic impacts to the intersection.

The Council approved the resolution unanimously.

Mayor/Council comments:

 Councilwoman Wendy Isenhart said she attended a meeting at the Vogue about making the community better. She would like to see the City ban plastic bags and plastic straws. “They are a nuisance. Costco has no bags.”

Councilman Ty Witt stated that Quentin Batjer, city attorney, did some “amazing work researching liability” on reimbursement of charges on abandoned properties. This issue was driven by the City Council’s effort to relieve John Jr. Fragnito of $16,000 in fines for not paying for water he has not used since the building on Sanders Street was demolished.

This issue is on the agenda of the August 13 City Council meeting.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said it was nice to see the new fire and rescue boat on the water. “I’m happy to see these things happening.”

City Administrator Mike Jackson remarked that a draft ordinance would be made to take care of the issues surrounding inactive properties. “We don’t have to rush. You can come back with an ordinance essentially addressing inactive properties,” said Jackson.

One idea is to add a forfeiture clause after 36 months wherein the property owner would lose his ERUs and have to reapply when ready to construct something new.

Mayor Cooney remarked that he didn’t appreciate a council member being attacked for inappropriate actions. “I will stand by Tim on this,” said Cooney. At the beginning of the meeting during Citizen Comments, Stan Morse said he had a huge problem with the Fragnito matter. He had requested information on the issue and came up with 177 real estate transactions by the Fragnito’s and in those transactions, Councilman Tim Hollingsworth was named three times.

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Stan Morse

Morse encouraged Hollingsworth to reverse his remarks regarding forgiveness of Fragnito’s fines. At some point Hollingsworth’s Pinacle Surveying did work for the Fragnitos.

City Council reconvenes on Tuesday evening, August 13 at 6 p.m. The community is invited to attend.

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