by Richard Uhlhorn
A number of issues were given to the City Council to ponder during the Citizen Comment period at its Tuesday, January 14, meeting.
Chelan Short Term Rental owner, Doug Allen addressed the Council on business license charges for STRs at the Grandview as being out of order.
First to the dais was Doug Allen (past councilmember Kelly Allen’s husband). His concern was the new Short Term Rental charges he and his wife were being assessed by the City for owning several rental units at the Grandview. The City is charging $250 per unit for a license to operate as a STR. Allen’s argument is that the units the Allen’s own are managed by a Professional Management Company who he feels should be covering those fees. Secondly, Allen stated that the Grandview should not be considered under the STR rules because it is a Resort Hotel.
“It gets very expensive,” said Allen. He remarked that one unit owner has 14 units at the Grandview, which equates to paying the City $3,500 for a business license to operate those units. John Walcker, on a telephone conversation on Thursday, January 16, said he owns three units and that owners should only have to pay for one business license to operate at the Grandview.
“These units all get rented out at the front office,” said Allen. In the last 10 years there has been negative effects on all of us who own over there. There were a lot of workshops on this. My wife was involved in those discussion, but we were blindsided by this.”
Lisa Garbich requested that the City hire a full time consultant to oversee the Campbell Resort development above Riverwalk.
Lisa Garbich, a resident in the neighborhood where Campbell’s Resort has plans to build a 24-unit Apartment Complex above Riverwalk Park, requested that the Council and City consider hiring a full-time consultant to oversee the development. “It should be somebody with to oversee all aspects of the development.”
Garbich feels that the City’s Planning Department is too busy with all the construction going on to oversee the development. “Someone needs to be able to review and follow it through to correct any major issues.”
She remarked that the development has potential parking issues, traffic issues, erosion issues and will result in the loss of property values for residential owners. “I would like you to take this request seriously,” said Garbich.
Mayor Bob Goedde stated that the City would begin to use a reader board to keep the community updated on various City issues and that documentation would be available and updated on the City’s webpage.
Vicki Carr updated the Council on the Housing Authority
Vicki Carr, who is on the board of the Chelan County Housing Authority congratulated the new council members and Mayor. She told the Council that she serves on the Housing Authority board and said that she knows the Council knows that there isn’t enough low income housing. She lauded the City’s effort in helping the Affordable Housing issue forward, but said, “There is a big difference between affordable housing and low income housing.”
The other major issue before the Council was the Spader Bay Property. The City has not been able to secure access to the property and the deadline for the 90-day due diligence is coming up in early February.
City Attorney Quentin Batjer told the Council that there was no new updates with the landowner (Larry Lehmbecker-Vin du Lac). “one easement is sufficient but we want that secondary easement,” stated Batjer. “Mr. Lehmbecker is not in favor of it. We need to either terminate the agreement or add an extension.”
Councilman Ty Witt asked who may want to champion the effort to secure that easement. “This will come before us at the next meeting,” he said. Quentin replied that having an attorney involved could slow things down. Lehmbecker is an attorney. It was suggested to have the seller approach the issue with Vin du Lac.
Interim City Administrator, Wade Ferris, said he would endeavor to get up to speed on the issues, make contact and hear Lehmbecker out.
Councilman Ty Witt
Witt said he would be happy to stand by. Hollingsworth said he would like to participate also. “I see the benefit of acquiring this property.” Ferris replied that he would get with Batjer to see if there was a clear way forward. Witt replied that it would be a good idea to revisit the property to see it and feel it. Dobbs (who was on conference call) said, “I would love to see John (Olson) involved because of his real estate expertise.”
Councilman Tim Hollingsworth
Mayor Bob Goedde stated that he has heard a lot about this purchase from the community and would like to hear more. Erin McCardle said, “I don’t think we want to go back an revisit something we’ve already voted on. We are past that point.”
Mayor Bob Goedde and Councilman Erin McCardle
During Mayor/Council comments, John Olson stated that his long delay in answering Ray Dobb’s request that he be involved in the Spader Bay Property is that fact that a part of his campaign was to stand out front of the Post Office and listen to the public. “A part of my campaign was access to the lake and there are only two pieces available (Three Fingers and Spader Bay). I was very much in favor of the purchase, so it is hard for me to come out.”
Councilman John Olson
Olson continued by saying that almost no one he talked to at the Post Office was in favor of this project. He agreed to stand in and said, “I will try to set my feelings aside.”
Sgt. Chris Foreman
Sgt. Chris Foreman officially requested that the City approve overtime for two additional reserve deputies for Winterfest’s Saturday night activities. He told the Council that he rearranged schedules for Friday night to reduce costs.
Foreman said that three years ago there was a major incident when a fight broke out and that when you have 1,000 to 2,000 people the chances are good there will be problems. “I asked Mr. Steele if the event could cover those costs and was told No,” said Foreman. “It puts a strain on our guys. We won’t have a problem every time, but need to be prepared.”
Council unanimously approved the overtime request for $1,202.56 which will be taken out of the City’s 2% Lodging Tax Fund which currently stands at $645,000.
The Council also approved the Lower Reach Trail Permit Agreement between the City and Chelan PUD and the Lower Reach Trail Agreement with the Lake Chelan Trails Alliance.
The Council nominated and approved Erin McCardle as the new Mayor Pro Tempore for 2020.
Ray Dobbs via telephone
Remarked that the new Link Transit DART service for $1 was attracting more and more people to use it.
“I feel honored to sit up here,” said Jamtgaard. Chelan is one of the finest places to live.” He stated that he hopes to use some of his skills and looks forward to the next four years of serving.
Servando welcomed the new council members and the Mayor and said he is looking forward to working with them.
Remarked that the Housing Trust bill in the Legislature went well and should bring back sales tax money for infrastructure. He also stated that the Council and City should battle any efforts to divide them. “We need to be careful to not let things divide us.”
“We need to do a better job of communicating with our citizens.”
Public Works Director Jake Youngren
Youngren told the Council that Public Works has two water right applications into the Department of Ecology, but warned the Council that there are more rights requested then there is water rights available.
Interim Administrator Wade Ferris
“I want to thank the Council for their confidence,” said Ferris. “I loved the Chelan area for many years. My goal is to help you make it all better.”