by Richard Uhlhorn
Chelan County Commissioner Tiffany Gearing will host a meeting on Thursday, January 26, in the Chelan Fire and Rescue meeting room (232 E. Wapato Avenue) in Chelan. She will be joined by ChelanCounty’s new sheriff Mike Morrison, ChelanCountyRegional JusticeCenter director Chris Sharp and Behavioral Health Unit manager Ana Johnson to discuss County updates and answer questions
Pam Calhoun and Chris Willoughby were sworn into positions on the Manson Community Council on Tuesday evening, January 17, after which annual elections took place with Kari Sorenson retaining the chair for another year.
Calhoun is new to the council and accepted the nomination as secretary. John Frokler became the new treasurer.
Chelan County Commissioner Tiffany Gearing made a surprise visit to the council meeting and remarked that the County passed a new 2023 budget. “It was a difficult decision,” she said.
Short Term Rentals:
Gearing reported that 67 home owners did not re-apply for Short Term Rental (STR) status for 2023. “Most likely they are from Leavenworth to Manson,” said Gearing.
The reasons why so many past STR businesses declined to renew their permits is in question, but the owners are either tired of the hassles, are moving to their second homes permanently or for some unknown reason.
Fourteen STR renewals were late and claimed hardship for the reason their applications were late. What the County considers a hardship is a problem. Frokler asked if they had plenty of time to get their applications in? Gearing replied that there was plenty of time to reapply. “Anyone who applied over the time limit was denied,” said Gearing.
Sorenson asked Gering if there was a list of permitted STRs. Gearing thought so, and Sorenson asked if she could obtain a copy. Manson resident Brian Patterson stated that a current list would provide the community a list of who was permitted. There are STRs that operate that are not permitted.
Gearing stated that the County should be working towards having the list on its website. “Let me find out more details,” she said. “We knew we were going to have procedural issues.” There are currently 700+ approved STRs in the county. “If we just had a list, it would make it so much easier,” stated Sorenson. Gearing replied that it needs to be made public.
Manson Incorporation feasibility:
Manson resident Mike Kirk remarked that the area is booming and asked if there was a possibility of Manson incorporating. Willoughby replied that a feasibility study was conducted in the 90s and again in 2008 and it was determined that incorporation was not feasible at that point.
“We are now at a point where it could change,” said Willoughby. “We would need a public meeting to explore the idea,” stated Willoughby. Frokler added that the Council needs to get the word out so the Council would know what the public thinks. “There is a lot of work if you want to incorporate.” Gearing stated that a public meeting might be good.
Calhoun said that there would be a need for a list of pros and cons to incorporation. Kirk stated that some residents would like to be annexed into the City of Chelan. Gearing replied that, “A lot of people moved to Manson because it wasn’t a city.”
Chelan City Councilman John Olson said that the City was going after a $300,000 grant to study the feasibility of purchasing Chelan Butte and wondered if there would be funds available to conduct a incorporation feasibility in Manson.
Frokler suggested that the Council have an open forum with the public. “If the citizens want to go forward, then we could go after money.”
Driftwood and Grizzly Bears:
Gearing reported that the County Commissioners were working on the issues of removing driftwood from the Lake and keeping the introduction of Grizzly bears out of the North Cascades.
Driftwood has become a safety issue for recreational boaters on the lake and the commission is seeking ways of legally removing the wood.
The County and many residents were totally against the introduction of Grizzly bears into the North Cascades Ecosystem several years ago, but the National Park Service has brought up the issue again and gathered public input up to December 14, 2022.
For more information on this issue, visit the North Cascades National Park Service website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/NCEGrizzly.