by Richard Uhlhorn
Chelan City Council unanimously approves the Apple Blossom Center major amendment which will allow multi-family developments as a permitted use.
Approval of this amendment does not approve any construction projects, but developers and real estate people who crowded into the Council meeting last night will begin their efforts to apply for future building permits which, in turn, will require additional public and agency review and comments.
Wade Ferris, city administrator, told the Council, that if approved, the next step would be to come back to Council with a development agreement. Ferris than opened up Council comments before the council vote.
Chris Baker asked Public Works Director Jake Youngren if there was enough water availability and water pressure to serve the proposed 720 units that have been repeatedly talked about.
Youngren replied that Public Works had RH2 Engineering look at the system and said that a future pump and two new waterlines will be needed to improve future demands.
Erin McCardle talked about the City’s Comprehensive Plan that is to serve the elderly and handicapped with affordable housing, but added that the developer’s plan is to allow only 5% (36 units) out of the 720 units as affordable.
“This step one of a long process,” said McCardle. “We’ve received a ton of community input (after public comment was closed) and the concerns are noted. They will all be addressed in the next phase.”
John Olson added that we are in a much different world today. “Local businesses are closing down early because working class people can’t afford to live here.”
Peter Jamtgaard stated that this development will affect the whole community and that a lot of work will be done in the development agreement phase.
Chris Baker said it is important to retain the small town feel, to protect the environment and to get more public participation in the processes. “There were less than 10 people who testified at the public hearing.”
“I do hope tht future developers be open minded with regards of open space, public parks and kids.”
Tim Hollingsworth remarked that the work on the developer agreement needs to be in everyone’s best interest.
Sheri Dietrich said, “I wasn’t excited about this project, but our hands are personally tied. The project is too large. She would like to see less units and more open space and trails. “Our backs are against the wall.”
Mayor Goedde stated that the City will have to live with the project. “It is what it is,” he stated. City Administrator Ferris stated that from his perspective, the amount of time the council spent on this issue, the citizens should be proud. “It was a contentious issue.”
In other business:
The council approved the distribution of $26,658 of Recording Fee Surcharge Funds and another $23,342 of House Bill 1406 State shared revenues to Heritage Heights.
Servando Robledo is leaving the Council and taking another job out of town to be with family in Pasco. “I’ve learned quite a bit being on council.” He thanked the council and mayor for putting up with him. The City will be accepting letters of interest to fill his council seat.
All of the council members, Mayor Goedde and Wade Ferris thanked Servando for his service to the community and all said they were going to miss him.
Erin McCardle said, “This (the zoning change) was a very contentious issue. None of us take this lightly.”
John Olson stated that the City needs to get out in front of these issues and get on board to help steer it.
Wade Ferris stated that senior planner John Ajax was elevated to Development Director of the Planning Department and that Jackie Tupling would be given the Finance Director job. “These will be coming before you on the 13th,” said Ferris.
Ferris told the council that so far in August, the Chelan Airport has had 639 landings (3,500 for the year). “It proves we are a busy airport.”