by Richard Uhlhorn
Manson Community Council had a number of issues on its agenda at its Tuesday night, April 19 meeting including the Manson Chamber of Commerce’s on-going issues; a disucssion of whether or not the council should request a moratorium on development until a secondary route out of Manson could be developed by Chelan County; and a Bluewater Terrace update.
Prior to opening the discussion portion of the meeting, Chairwoman Kari Sorenson swore in Kathy Blum as its newest board member who has served before for 12 years. Blum offered the position to anyone willing to take it and also said, “It’s time for people to get involved and give back. I would love to see a seven member council again.”
Jeff Conwell and his wife, Debbie, addressed the Chamber’s issues as a total lack of help from Chelan County.
Apparently, the community has complained about the decorative trees that drop fruit and make a total mess downtown, and Conwell has requested that the County remove them or at the very least, prune them. “The County gives us every objection (as to why they can’t help) and have refused to help,” said Conwell. “Maybe we need a midnight massacre.’
The other issue facing the Chamber and community is garbage pickup. “They don’t want to pick up the garbage,” said Conwell. “We’ve got problems and they are not giving back what they are getting. They have all kinds of arguments.”
It was suggested that the Community just cut them down and deal with the county afterwards, however one person in attendance said, “They are the owners… give them an ultimatum. They are putting the community at risk.”
Board member John Frolker asked how one gets the County to allocate more money. “I’m in agreement that they should be responsible for what they own.”
Manson Community Council has had issues with Chelan County for years because the council, while being elected officially, are unofficial according to Sorenson. Frolker said, “People bring issues to us and we send it on.”
It was suggested and agreed that the Council will request that County Commissioner Tiffany Gearing attend the next meeting and answer questions and/or take the council’s questions back to Wenatchee for answers, and then return with the County’s responses.
Mike O’Neal, pastor at Manson’s Methodist Church, spoke to the issue of Bluewater Terrace telling the Council that they have more power than they realize. “I want accuracy and transparency,” said O’Neal. “Most of us feel uninformed.”
O’Neal went on to say that most people had issues with the highway, development and short term rentals.
The biggest issue with Bluewater Terrace was the misinterpretation of the agri-tourism code which clearly states that this designation was meant for working farms to augment their incomes. The developer tried to use ag-tourism as a method of getting the CUP passed.
Brock Lindsay, owner at Succession Wines, asked what the beef was. O’Neal replied that the applicant tried to cut corners. Lindsay said he felt the council and attendees were against development. The council denied this.
On one thread from the Manson Community Council, Bob Knauss remarked that development was not the only activity in the valley creating transportation woes on Hwy. 150. He reported that the wineries are adding to the transportation problem with tourists and wine visitors.
Knauss is the first to acknowledge that traffic is bad on 150, but asked if the Community wanted to limit the amount of visitors to Manson. It’s a question that hasn’t been answered.
At this point the Manson Community Council is deciding to call a Special Meeting prior to the May regularly scheduled meeting to ask Commissioner Gearing to answer question or to get answers to the Community’s questions and return with the County’s responses.