by Richard Uhlhorn
It has been a couple of busy weeks for All Things Lake Chelan. With the weather changing to summer on the first day of summer, I’ve taken the time to play a little hooky from reporting on some of the more mundane meetings while I begin preparing for my newest project, “Out an About with Rich.” It will be my first foray into producing content for YouTube.
However, I’m still obligated to report on the political spectrum of the Valley including, but not limited to City Council and Manson Community Council meetings. There are a lot of issues being considered that will impact the valley residents far into the future.
Following are a few of the highlights from these meetings and a few bits of information coming out of them.
CITY OF CHELAN CITY COUNCIL – 6/14/22
After resident testimony at the Hearing Examiner’s public hearing last week, word has come down that Andy Kottkamp, after considering the publics comments, has approved the zone change at Apple Blossom Center to include residential development which opens the way for the proposed construction of 720 apartment units on the property.
City Council highlights:
The owners of Deepwater Inn at 531 East Woodin commented during the Citizen Comment Period, that their neighbor, The Dock Company, was using the public road between the two businesses as a staging ground and construction zone for their product which was affecting the quality of life for the Hotel’s customers.
The City Administrator said he would make sure that code enforcement investigated, which apparently has happened and the Dock Company is back to working on its property.
Six Year Transportation Plan:
Public Works Director Jake Youngren reported that the City was required to submit its plan to the State on an annual basis. This year’s plan includes the following projects: the Downtown Revitalization Project which Youngren said the City planned on starting this year; the Lakeside Trail Project grant; Sanders Street sidewalks; the Apple Blossom pedestrian trail to Les Schwab; the North Shore Trail which is similar to the Lakeside Trail project; and the Columbia Street project. “These all are heavily dependent on grants,” said Youngren.
Erin McCardle stated that she was concerned about traffic and requested an overall traffic flow study in Chelan. “The magnitude (of current traffic conditons) is frightening,” she said. Mayor Goedde replied that the Manson Community Council is also concerned about traffic issues, particularly on SR-150 between Chelan and Manson. “We need a complete analysis of transportation issues,” Goedde said. He is also interested in converting the old Woodin Avenue Bridge back to a two-way configuration.
“We need to start somewhere with the County, State and maybe Federal government as partners,” said Goedde.
Kahiau Volleyball court use in DonMorsePark:
Despite an agreement already being signed by the Volleyball Club to begin paying $2,500 in 2023 and $3,000 in 2024 for use of the City’s sand volleyball courts, the Council spend a good half-hour discussing the merits of charging the club which had helped construct the courts.
The club has had free use of the courts for the past seven years, but Parks Director Paul Horne stated that maintenance was an issue. “We came up with a fee structure for the maintenance we do,” Horne told the Council.
Chris Baker told Horne that the club has a great program. “My daughter is in it. In order to make a decision, we need more detailed (financial) numbers.” McCardle added that a lot of information is missing. “To say they are using them for free is not necessarily true,” she said. McCardle aded that they utilize the courts for four weekends of tournaments and other periods of time for practice which, in her research, adds up to 30% of the time, where after the courts are available to the public. “I’m struggling to accept a high rental. The courts are open the majority of the time for the community.”
John Olson asked why they were even discussing this issue when the City has a $20 million dollar budget. “We are spending time arguing about a $2,500 charge.” Horne said he would pass it through the Parks Board.
Shari Dietrich said she got the need to charge for use, but added, “We need to stay balanced.”
The Council approved the motion 4-2 with both McCardle and Dietrich voting No.
American Recovery Act funds:
City Administrator Wade Ferris told the Council that it could choose to spend the $1.5 ARPA funds on any public project like roads and parks etc. “There are broad opportunities like the Skate Park, water line to the airport or the Parks Maintenance Building which is now slated to cost $2.1 million. “We will hold a workshop to work on this. We have until 2024 and 2025 to complete. It has opened up a bit on what we an spend the money on,” stated Ferris. “We will have a more in depth discussion.”
MANSON COMMUNITY COUNCIL- JUNE 21, 2022:
Sundance Estates update:
According to Kathy Blum, the Sundance Estates Project by Eastern Washington Construction Company, is still under review by the County.
The big news is that Al Lorenz, owner of the property has initiated Foreclosure proceedings for lack of payment. Easter Washington Construction Company has 90 days to bring its account up to date or the land will go back to Lorenz.
County Commissioner Tiffany Gearing told the Council and audience that there was plenty of funding available for unincorporated areas. “These funds could pay for some of the problems like trees.”
Several complaints have come in regarding noise from Wineries and Blum said that the Council is there to support the community and will help find a way to make these issues work.
Sheriff Brian Burnett told the audience and council that the law has to change. He stated that several winery owners have been spoken too, but when a violation occurs, the complaint has to be made during the noise violation so the County can respond immediately. “Most businesses are very compliant,” said Burnett.
“Our noise ordinance is horrible,” said Gearing. “We didn’t visit it during our STR issue, but can always come back to it.” With most wineries situated in or near residential areas, the noise issue becomes a major quality of life issue for residents.
Interim County Planning Director, Deanna Walters, said that the County will begin the process of updating its old codes and ordinances concerning noise violations. “We need to revisit the codes,” said Walters. “Manson is an example but it is happening throughout our County.”
Parking has also become a problem and Burnett said the owners are working hard to mitigate that issue.
Chris Willoughby told the Council that the lead/arsenic issue is very important to the Valley. “A lot of children have developed Leukemia,” said Willoughby. People’s lives are at stake.”