by Richard Uhlhorn
A resident living adjacent to Hwy 97A west of Lakeside Park and at the entrance to the City addressed the City Council about traffic on the highway that wasn’t slowing down to the posted 35 mph as they entered Lakeside. He asked if the City had any plans to address that situation. Mayor Goedde said they would look into the issue again and try to come up with a solution to slow traffic to the posted limit.
Hospital CEO Aaron Edwards addressed the Council regarding the proposed TIF (Tax Incremental Financing program) and asked if the Council would consider having another meeting on the proposal so the Hospital could gain a better understanding of the potential water shortages.
The Hospital has received $11 million dollars from the State Legislature to help it move its business offices and EMS to the new hospital location.
Jane Jebwabney, a Hospital employee, also addressed the TIF that would effect local taxing districts and said, if passed, it would be taxation without representation. She asked if it was possible to look at it in an incremental way. “What you get out of a TIF is going to be a risk.”
Resident Travis Sweeney was on hand to address the youth in Chelan who depend on having ball fields to play on. “I played on these fields, coached teams, served as a tournament director and am now a parent,” said Sweeney. “Our youth are using these fields,”
Sweeney remarked that the fields are not underutilized but are in disrepair. “If we get together, I think we can come to a happy medium and upgrade them.”
Dan Crandall, Chelan Arts Council president, told the Council that the Council supports all different kinds of art in the Valley. He remarked that the Council is responsible for coordinating the upcoming Arts Festival in Riverwalk Park. He also told the Council that the Arts Council is still raising money to bring Jerry McKellar’s Tsilly – the Lake Dragon to town as its newest sculpture.
Mayor Goedde read into the record a proclamation designating April 30 to May 6 as Professional Municipal Clerks Week. He thanked City Clerk Peri Gallucci and her staff for all of the work they do.
Solid Waste representative Brenda Blanchfield requested that the City Council adopt the Chelan County Solid Waste Management Plan for another five years. Blanchfield told the Council that the current landfill has another 86 years of life. “We have been recognized by the State for our solid waste management,” she said. The program manages recycling, solid waste and hazardous waste. “We are now encouraging multi-family recycling,” she said. “We have accomplished a lot. I think we are in really good shape.”
John Ajax, Community Development Director, requested the Council to pass a six month moratorium on Boundary Line Adjustments (BLA).
The Council unanimously approved the Ordinance at its meeting on Tuesday, April 25. Ajax said the ordinance will allow the Planning Department to upgrade its code regarding BLAs.
RCW36.70A.390 and RCW35A.63.220 authorizes the City Council to adopt a moratorium for a period of up to six (6) months if a public hearing on the proposal is held within at least 60 days of its adoption.
According to Ajax, there are inconsistencies in the current code criteria which could result in circumventing a subdivision, short subdivision, or plat review process.
“This review of our BLA code will begin with the Chelan Planning Commission,” said Ajax. “It is definitely a workshop issue too.”
There have only been two BLAs approved in recent years including a recent one on Chelan Butte. The Moritorium will stop requests for the next six months until the City Planning Department can revise and get approval of its code.
“BLAs are supposed to be minor,” said Ajax. The Butte BLA is the largest one ever approved in the City.
Ajax stated that the moment people saw dirt being moved on the Butte (the existing road was cleaned up and will be a major firebreak) he began to receive telephone calls. “I’ve bee getting a ton of heat. I’ve had a number of calls about the work up there.”
Ajax went on to say it is really unfortunate, but the road clean-up set a tone. “Residents are saying the City is disregarding concerns from the public and doing what we want to do.”
The private property on the Butte is under contract for the next two years and planning is underway to develop that property as a rural development with up to 70 percent becoming Trust Land and Open Space with two public trails and a tie into the Elephant Head trail which crosses private property at one point.
The Chelan Basin Conservancy continues its efforts to keep the Butte free of any development except for recreational use. There is also State Legislative $125,000 funding to conduct an environmental and critical lands study on the Butte.
Chelan Youth Baseball:
The Chelan Youth Baseball League requested that the City adopt a facility lease agreement for the 2023 April-May season.The Council unanimously approved and authorized the Mayor to sign off on the agreement.
The league will complete repairs to the dugout fences in the coming weeks in lieu of fees.
Parks Director Paul Horne told the Council that the league has its insurance in place. Councilmen John Olson and Chris Baker commented; Olson said in 1952 the field was nothing but rocks. “There were no lights, no restroom, just bushes.” Baker remarked that keeping the fields in that location is an important asset for the City.
Council unanimously approved a motion to finalize and execute the RH2 Engineering Traffic Analysis Task. “There have been numerous traffic data taken,” said Jake Youngren. “RH2 is fully capable and qualified to estimate the level of service needed.”
The studies will look at all seasons and also the new one-way configuration of the old Woodin Avenue Bridge. “How does the City want to address the level of services,” asked Youngren.
Mayor Goedde stated that 400 people replied to KOZI about the bridge. “We owe it to the community to at least look at the project. We need to know where we are at.” Youngren stated the study would be unbiased
Peter Jamtgaard stated that the City needs to know all of its options.
City Administrator Wade Farris told the Council that the compensation levels for the Mayor and Councilmembers appears to be pretty much in line with other municipalities. Jamtgaard, who is not seeking re-election, replied that his study showed compensations all over the board. He stated that he is not opposed to a 20 percent increase.
John Olson stated that the amount of time worked needs to be digested. “How many hours are spent,” he asked. Mayor Goedde said it was hard to calculate. Tim Hollingsworth remarked that Mayor Goedde spends a lot of time working at the job and attending meetings.
Councilman Marc Ericks stated that he supports an increase. “I’m familiar with a number of jurisdictions.”
Hollingsworth said he didn’t want potential councilmembers to not apply for a position because they can’t afford to. “It’s important for the upcoming election to raise salaries.”
Erick’s stated that it was important that the Council and Mayor not vote on salaries. Chris Baker also mentioned per diem for attending liaison meetings.
City Attorney Quentin Batjer said a resolution would be necessary for salary changes. Hollingsworth made a motion that staff consider a 20% raise across the board starting on January 1, 2024.
Sanders Street crosswalk project:
Public Works Director Jake Youngren updated the council on the proposed Sanders Street crosswalk project that could be funded by the Chelan/Douglas County Transportation Council. The Council has $8.3 million dollars available to fund projects and said that the crosswalk project would be a competitive project to go after some of that funding. He also stated that the City would have to match the proposed $800,000 dollar project with 30% city funds.
This project would include a bulb out and crosswalks at the intersections of Sanders with Trow, Okanogan Avenue and Wapato Street.
Paul Horne told the City Council that the Parks Department has been offered a donation of two art pieces by Internationally known artist Bernard Hosey (deceased) who was one of the founders of the Twisp Works. His work is exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art Crafts in Manhattan, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian and other international venues.
The cost to transport these two sculptures would be in the neighborhood of $5,000.
Council stated they need more information and were not too supportive of the offer.
Sheri Dietrich thanked Travis Sweeney for his comments to the Council concerning the ball fields. “I’ve played there, my husband has played there. We need to get this park right.”
Tim Hollingsworth said the $125,000 from the State for the Butte acquisition needs to be applied to that project.
Marc Ericks called the Housing Trust’s newest building venture across the street from his home is a wonderful project.
John Olson commented on the proposed TIF. He stated that the TIF is for a major upgrade to Chelan’s water system for domestic use and fire protection. He mentioned several ways the upgrade could be financed including Water Rate Increases, A Local Improvement District, Impact Fees, a TIF, or some combination of these methods.
He named a number of beneficiaries from Chelan Hills to the Airport and said if the improvements go forward everyone in the City would have improved water flow. “The community needs to come together on this.”
Mayor Goedde agreed with Olson that the water issue isn’t about a TIF but that the water issue needs to be upgraded.
Workshop Tuesday, May 2 beginning at 4 p.m. in Council Chambers.
The public is welcome to attend but will not be allowed to speak unless authorized by the Mayor.