Council to consider Hearing Examiners recommendatons for Apple Blossom Center

by Richard Uhlhorn

There is only one agenda item on the upcoming Chelan City Council meeting August 23. Council members will consider the Hearing Examiner’s June 17, 2022 recommendation to approve the Preliminary Development Plan for the Apple Blossom Center Planned Development District major amendment to change the district’s zoning to allow residential development.

Chelan County Hearing Examiner Andy Kottkamp has recommended approval of the Apple Blossom Center zoning change which would allow specific housing development.

Hearing Examiner Andy Kottkamp held a public hearing on June 14 to hear public testimony regarding the zoning change. There were, and still are, a number of community concerns with the possibility of 720 apartment units being built at Apple Blossom Center.

Those public concerns included water pressure issues, traffic issues, increased law enforcement activity and sewer treatment capacity.

City Planner John Ajax provided the City Council with talking points for the Tuesday, August 22 Council meeting where the Council will decide the next course of action on the recommendation for a major zoning change at Apple Blossom Center.

The Council has four possible alternatives to the Hearing Examiner’s recommendation as follows:

  1. The Council can adopt the Hearing Examiner’s findings, conclusions and recommendations as the Council’s decision.
  2. They can modify the examiner’s finding and conclusions based on the closed record from the hearing and then adopt the recommendation.
  3. Council can reject the examiner’s recommendations and adopt other findings and conclusions and enter their own decision.
  4. Council can remand the matter back to the Hearing Examiner with written instructions to make further recommendations on specific issues identified by the Council.

The Council has had in its hands a number of talking points concerning the Hearing Examiner’s

Primary among those talking points are:

  1. Approval of the zoning amendment does not approve any construction projects, and currently, there are no applications to build the proposed 720 apartment units.
  2. If the Council approves the zoning change (amendment), any future building permits still need to be applied for. This would require additional public and agency review/comments.
  3. Weidner owns 10 acres of property within the Planned Development but is not the applicant for the PDD amendment; Apple Blossom Center Holdings is the applicant.

If the Council approves the HE recommendations, the required next step is to amend the existing project Development Agreement (DA) at a later date.

The DA is where specific items including different types of housing and project timing can be negotiated.

With this recommendation for approval being the only agenda item on Tuesday evening’s Council meeting, it will be interesting to hear the Council comments before they vote.

No public input will be allowed. The Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, 8.22.22.

Author: allthingslakechelan

I have been a journalist, photojournalist and reporter in the Lake Chelan Valley since 1988; first with the Wenatchee World, then 15 years at the Lake Chelan Mirror and another 12 years at GoLakeChelan. Currently, I am semi-retired but can't give up the media gig which is why I started All Things Lake Chelan blog. I also have two social media platforms; allthingslakechelan/facebook and lakechelansportsandrecration/facebook. I am also a professional photographer with many credits with major outlets around the world.

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