Highlights from Chelan and Manson

by Richard Uhlhorn

I spent a lot of time on top of Chelan Butte this past week covering the Paragliding Comp.

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 presented the City Council with Public Works Six-Year Transportation Plan as required by the State.

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.

Erin McCardle is concerned with the increasing transportation issues in Chelan and on SR150.

“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.

Manson Community Council member Kathy Blum took over for Kari Sorenson iin her absence.

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.”

Noise problems:

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 addressed the noise issue.

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.

Tiffany Gearing explained that the County’s noise ordinance is horrible and promised to address it in the near future.

“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.”

Standing room only at Apple Blossom development hearing

by Richard Uhlhorn

It was standing room only at Tuesday’s Hearing Examiner Public Hearing on the proposed 720 unit appartment complex at Apple Blossom Center.

The City Council Chambers filled up and by the time the hearing began,
there was standing room only.

Hearing Examiner Andy Kottkamp opened the hearing by explaining the rules for public hearings. The first order of business was to hear the city staff’s report on the project, then the applicants remarks before opening up to public testimony. “I want to remind everybody that this is not a question and answer hearing,” said Kottkamp.

Andy Kottkamp, Chelan County’s Hearing Examiner, heard staff reports and testimony on the proposed 720 apartment complex at Apple Blossom Center.

He added that the applicants would have a chance to give a rebuttal to any testimony by opponents to the project. “There is a large number of people here. Let’s keep testimoney as brief as possible or I will put time limits on it.” He also said he has the option of keeping public comment period open for written testimony. Kottkamp also said that his decision could not be appealed. “The City Council will make the final decision.”

The issue before Kottkamp was to hear testimony on a major amendment to the Apple Blossom Planned Development which would allow for residential development. The original planned development called for industrial and commercial development only.

City Planner John Ajax told the assembled crowd that the hearing was to remove a cap on industrial and commercial development only to allow 720 multi-family apartments with 24 units per acre. The Apple Blossom area was designated 100% to commercial and industrial development in 2003 which was consistent with the City’s 2003 approved zoning criteria.

City Planner John Ajax read the City’s staff report on the proposed development into the record.

This is a map of the Apple Blossom Center where 720 apartments are planned.

The proposed development would be served by the City’s sewer system and the Isenhart Water District, Chelan Fire and Rescue, Chelan County Sheriff, Chelan School District and the City’s Garbage Collection.

The Planning Department received nine written public comments and two agency written comments. Ajax said the City used SEPA to make a Determination of Non Significance and that a traffic and parking analysis was completed.

The applicant was asked to increase its open space and to make a provision for affordable housing. Non-motorized transportation needed to be established with a trail to the downtown core. Short Term Rentals (STRs) are prohibited.

Kottkamp stated that the development would have to be in harmony with the Sun Crest development and have adequate parking and open spaces, recreational ball fields and a 100 foot buffer between industrial/commercial operations. The need to provide roundabouts was also indicated to help with traffic congestion.

Ajax stated that the staff is recommending approval of a preliminary development plan.

Kottkamp thanked the staff for its work and said the development would address shortages in housing including five percent for low income residents (36 units out of 720).

“It doesn’t happen in a flash. We need to approve the format for development, a water system upgrade and additional water pressure,” said Ajax.

PUBLIC TESTIMONY:

Scott Patrick addressed the water pressure issue and stated that a third pump has been installed. He said he is also concerned with traffic issues. “I haven’t seen a traffic study. What will be the affect of all these units on traffic,” he asked.

Scott Patrick told the examiner that he is very concerned about potential water pressure and transportation issues that will be caused by this development.

Mr. Franckoniak (sp), a retired police officer from Everett warned the Hearing Examiner about high density apartment complex issues for law enforcement. He remarked that he and other law enforcement units spent a lot of time in a South Everett high density apartment complex answering the call for service for a multitude of issues from domestic violence to robbery.

Mr Franckoniak, a retired police officer is concerned about law enforcement issues that could arise from a densely populated complex.

“I know the City needs affordable housing and this is a good plan, but the size will be a substantial drag on the quality of life,” said Franckoniak. He mentioned the lack of goods at WalMart already during the summer months. In addition he commented on the parking issues and said that most developments had space for 1.5 cars per unit. “I don’t know anybody that has a half-a-car. They will park wherever.”

People clapped after his testimony and Kottkamp warned the audience that this hearing was like a courtroom and that it is not an auditorium.

The next testifier was a women (I didn’t capture her name) who supported Franckoniak’s comments. “I don’t think it (the develoment) is going to be positive,” she said. She lives in the neighborhood and said there are kids riding bikes and other family quality of life issues that will be affected.

Tom Clark stated that Chelan has become a tourist town and that this development will not cause anymore problems than has already occurred. Clark feels there are solutions to the issues this development will bring but added, “This is a significant increase in population and traffic.”

Craig Egerman (SP) stated he wouldn’t expand on other testimony but brought up the issue of water pressure and felt that the water pressure issue could be resolved if the development put in a large reservoir at a high elevation. “My concern is the impact on the overall water pressure issue. I would like to see a timeline on water pressure and a reservoir.”
Margaret (last name not recorded) was concerned about the sewer treatment plant capacity with such a large development. “How far away from the maximum capacity are we?” she asked. Kottkamp encouraged residents with those kinds of concerns to call their City Departments to get those kinds of questions answered.

Virginia Buckley (sp) said the Lake Chelan Valley is easy to fall in love with. “We’ve moved from apples to grapes to wineries,” she said. “but 700 homes?” Her concern is how many people would move into a unit. “It is hard to find parking downtown now and there is only one way out of town.” She is concerned about the potential fire risks. “If a forest fire broke out above Walmart it could be disastrous. I’m not for this at all… it is ridiculous.”

At the end of the public testimony, Kottkamp asked questions raised by the testifiers and started with the water pressure issue.

City Engineer Travis Denham answered the questions raised about water pressure and sewer treatment plant issues.

City Engineer Travis Denham replied that the area currently has sufficient water flow and if it reached maximum demand the City would ask the developer to upgrade the current pump station. ‘We are not asking the applicant to add a reservoir,” said Denham “We are planning a large reservoir towards Darnell’s.”

The next issue answered was the sewer plant’s capacity which Denham said that the plant could handle any build-out from any development. Each development pays a facility charge to offset any capacity issues. “Currently we are at 40% capacity and are decades away from upgrading the treatment plant.”

Kottkamp thanked the audience and staff for their testimony and said it has been helpful.

I asked after the meeting when Kottkamp would make his recommendations and he replied within 10 days. “Probably sooner because I’m scheduled for a vacation.”

After the meeting and while walking out, I asked a local realtor what she thought about the development. She said she likes it, but it is too big. She mentioned the impacts it might have on the Suncrest development which is currently a very quiet and safe neighborhood.

You can visit the Apple Blossom Developer’s website at http://www.applblossomvision.com to see what their vision of their development is.

City Council hears million dollar proposal from the Lookout

by Richard Uhlhorn

Representatives from the Lookout and Community Center were on the City Council Workshop agenda Tuesday, June 7, to offer a purchase of the top two acres of the City’s nine acres for $1 million and then have the City donate that money to the Community Center to help continue its build out.

The City had purchased the property for $440,000 from the Parlette family several years ago.

Adam Rynd, Coldwell Banker told the Council that the Lookout owners were motivated to offer the $1 million as a bridge gap for funding the continued construction of the Center.

Adam Rynd- Coldwell Banker Broker-Principal, outlined a proposal to the Council to purchase two acres on the City’s Spader Bay property to help the Community Center.

“It’s a creative solution and starting point of how the City of Chelan can financially support the Chelan Community Center,” said Rynd. “This is far over the market value,” he added.

Councilman Peter Jamptgaard told Rynd, “I would like to see people access that property.” He stated that there may be other creative solutions other than the current proposal.

Councilman Peter Jamptgaard told Rynd that he would like to see access to the Spader Bay property through the Lookout’s property.

Rynd replied that the Lookout is certainly willing to look at options.

Councilwoman Erin McCardle did some research in the Lookout’s lot sales and stated that they would realize an estimated $4 million of each of the two acres. “Is our council willing to sell these two acres? We need to have a separate conversation on how to support the community center.”

Councilwoman Erin McCardle raised the question of what the City would need to investigate legality matters before making any decision on the Spader Bay Property.

McCardle went on to say, “As a government entity, does it fit. We have to check with our lawyer.” She also asked if anybody could access the community center, adding that she feels uncomfortable selling real estate and then gifting the money to the center.

Councilman John Olson added that only one percent of Lake Chelan’s (Wapato Basin) shoreline is open to the public, and that the population of Manson is approaching the population of Chelan. “They got the same problems.” Mayor Goedde remarked that the Spader Bay property should be kept in one piece.

Councilman Hollingsworth added that unrstricted free access to Spader Bay could be a tradeoff but there are legal hurdles to overcome.

Councilman Tim Hollingsworth stated that one of the challenges for Chelan is accessibility and unrestricted free access could be a legitimate tradeoff. “It would allow people to get to the shoreline.” But he added that there are a lot of legal hurdles to overcome.

McCardle said the first step is to come up with an operating plan and that the City needs to have a conversation. Councilman Servando Robledo said that everyone wants Spader Bay open to the public.

It was also stated that the Lookout has no plans to develop that two acres.

Seven Acres Foundation president, Ben Williams said that a Municipal Park District might be the answer to funding issues.

Seven Acres Foundation President Ben Williams remarked that a municipal park district might be the answer to funding with the City operating it. “There are a lot of creative options out there,” said Williams. He added that there are a lot of creative ways to satisfy the council requirements. McCardle stated that it was harder for a public entity to be creative.

McCardle asked to take the property sale off the board but said there was support across the board for the Community Center. “We need to spend time with our legal counsel to find out how far we can go,” said McCardle. “We haven’t had to deal with something like this before.” Hollingsworth stated that the Council needs to get a legal framework.

CHELAN TO CONSIDER IMPACT FEES FOR NEW DEVELOPMENT

by Richard Uhlhorn

The City of Chelan City Council and staff heard a presentation by Andy Wendell, PUD representative regarding its decision to add impact fees to defray costs. “We are seeing large developments,” Wendell said. “You have a fair amount of development going on,” he added.

PUD representative Andy Wendell presented the City Council with the PUD’s plans to build new substations to handle increased development and impact fees to cover that development.

Currently, the PUD has 35 existing substations in the County and another 13 in the planning stage. He mentioned development on the north shore and planned development at the airport. “Nineteen percent growth over the last year is significant.”

“When a substation reaches full capacity we start building new ones.” New substations cost between $5 and $8 million and the need for an additional 13 substations to take care of increased electricity needs means that the PUD needed to implement additional funding for capital improvements. Wendell said that development will share to new connections. “The fees assessed to new or growing customers is in support of the growth,” explained Wendell. “Growth pays for growth.”

Currently single phase 200-400 amp service to a new home is $1,295.

The PUD will be charging more for new hookups to help offset the expense of the new infrastructure.

Councilman John Olson asked what the City’s authority to impose impact fees on development is and City Administrator replied that the City has to be careful, however, he added that developers should pay for impact fees based on their impacts to the community.

Council member John Olson


Public Works Director, Jake Youngren added that the Utility Comprehensive Plan as increased its monthly rates. “We are charging the maximum allowable.” Olson replied that there are 100’s of things that Chelan pays for including aging infrastructure. “We are not planning far enough ahead and I would like to get something in place. The rate payers shouldn’t have to pay for new development.”

Public Works Director Jake Yongren

Youngren added that the City needs a rate structure that supports infrastructure.

Council woman Erin McCardle.

Erin McCardle suggested a meeting. “We have to sit down and develop a five year growth projection. It might benefit all of us to be on the same page.” Tim Hollingsworth asked if there was another rate study coming up in 2023. The answer was Yes.

Wendell finished his presentation by telling the council that the most pressing thing for the PUD was to meet peak electrical demands. New substations will serve approximately 1,500 new homes which means county wide there could be another 19,500 new homes built in the next several years.

Sevando Robledo asked about crypto currency mining and Wendell stated that since the PUD set new application rates that it tempered applications. “We get inquiries, but haven’t had any new applications.”

John Olson feels that Chelan needs to add impact fees to help take care of new development infrastructure needs that includes impacts on transportation, sewer treatment, and aging infrastructure. “A $1,000 fee on each new home would not impact the mortgage, but would add close to a million a year to help update our infrastructure.”

Next Tuesday, there will be a public hearing by the Hearing Examiner to consider the huge 702 apartment complex being planned for Apple Blossom Center. This would be constructed near the new hospital and Columbia Valley Clinic along with WalMart and would potentially 1400 cars to an already congested transportation issue.

The public hearing will begin at 2 p.m. in City Council Chambers.

Community forum draws an estimated 150 concerned citizens

by Richard Uhlhorn

On Tuesday evening, May 31, the Manson Community Council hosted a community forum in Manson with an estimated 150 concerned and interested residents of the Lake Chelan Valley attending.

About 150 individuals attended the Manson Community Forum.

The main topics of the evening was the proposed 66 Sundance Estates residential housing project just east of the intersection to the casino and the increasing traffic issues on SR150 between Chelan and Manson.

The Sundance Estates developer applied for 77 lots on 9.6 acres and Chelan County is currently reviewing all of the required criteria.

One of the big issues brought up by Dr. Brian Patterson, a retired environmental consultant and Manson resident was the SEPA report regarding the legacy orchard land this development would build on. The land is considered contaminated with lead/arsenic and Patterson wondered what the County was doing with that information.

Brian Patterson raised questions regarding contaminated soils and traffic on SR150.

Deanna Walters, Chelan County’s interim community development director, stated that the County was looking at the soil samples and will make a decision on whether to require a full Environmental Impact Study based on those soil samples. “I don’t want anyone to assume this will be a DNS (Determination of Non Significance). It is still under review.” The Department of Ecology (DOE) is reviewing the soil samples.

Deanna Walters is the interim Community Development Director at Chelan County.

In addition, Walters told the attendees that they can comment on the project all the way through the process until the County Hearings Examiner closes the public comment period.

Asked about a public hearing, Walters said that the County would notifiy those who have commented and left their email address two weeks before a public hearing. “We are a ways away from a hearing,” she said.

The county has received comments from the Fire Marshall and Fire District who also have concerns that need to be addressed. The Lake Chelan Reclamation District commented that they do have the capacity to provide sewer and water to the project.

Walters also answered a question regarding the potential of Short Term Rentals on the project and replied that the County has an STR Code with underlying conditions that must be met. “If they are within the Manson Urban Growth Area, they could apply for it, but we are a long way away from that. The STR Code is another layer on top of everything.”

She also stated that the density would require that the developer would have to sprinkle the houses. “That is very expensive,” she said. “Up to $25,000 per house.”

One of the issues raised about the increased development in the Manson area is added traffic to SR150 which is the only direct route into and out of Manson.

Walters remarked that it wasn’t only residential developments that are affecting traffic on the Manson/Chelan Highway, but that wineries also add to that issue. “We’ve got a tourism issue here,” she said. “It’s not just development that is creating traffic issues.”

She added that wineries under 1,500 sq. ft. did not required a permit. In a message, she wrote, “I pointed that out last night as a reality check for those that want no development. The wineries may require a business license through the state, but the county does not require one. It still requires a building permit, but not land use permit and that is typically where the impacts are analyzed.”

Traffic issues were also discussed and one complaint is that traffic surveys have typically been accomplished during February or January when traffic issues are low. The County Engineer, Brad Scott, remarked that the County had only received the traffic survey two weeks ago.

David Bierschbach DOT (left) and County Planner Brad Scott (Center) were on hand to answer questions relating to the evening’s topics.

the DOT representative, Dave Bierschbach, stated that the DOT is trying to get a better handle on seasonal traffic variations after one resident stated that during the summer months, the Manson highway was like July 4th traffic everyday.

Bierschbach said that the DOT would be conducting traffic counts at a number of intersections in Manson. “We will be doing multiple collection counts at major points,” he promised.

Walters encouraged everyone who had concerns to comment by email so it enters into the record.

In a follow-up call to Kari Sorenson, chair of the Manson Community Council, she said the Council is coming up with a series of follow-up questions for the County including issues with some of the wineries and other businesses that exist in Manson.

The Manson Community Council.

The Community Council meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month at the Manson Park’s office beginning at 6 p.m. “We will share any new information that we have received by then,” said Sorenson.

Manson to hold community forum

by Richard Uhlhorn – Wednesday May 25, 2022

MANSON COMMUNITY FORUM
Hosted by The Manson Community Council
TUESDAY MAY 31, 2022 @ 6:00 pm
North Shore Sowers Hall
123 Wapato Point Parkway
MANSON, WA 98831

Next Tuesday evening, the Manson Community Council is hosting a Community Forum at the North Shores Church Sowers Hall, 123 Wapato Point Parkway in Manson at 6 p.m.

On the agenda are the increasing high density developments that the County has alleged to be of non-significance despite the development property being on legacy orchard land with potential lead/arsenic issues.

The primary target of this meeting is the Sundance Estates development just east of the intersection of Old Mill Bay and the Casino. It is a Planned Development that calls for 66 long term residential units on less than 10 acres. Its primary ingress/egress point is at Hwy. 150 and could impact traffic on the highway as much as 63 vehicles per hour during peak periods. The Developer is the same developer as the shut-down Apple Casita apartment project north of the intersection towards Manson.

Traffic issues have blossomed over the past several months with the proposed Bluewater Terrace development east of Rocky Point that will add to the stream of traffic between Manson and Chelan. The traffic issues are also added to with the influx of visitors to wineries in the Manson area.

The solution to this issue is hard to come by. Hwy. 150 is the primary road in and out of Manson. The Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) has already indicated that the only solution they see is lowering the speed limit or adjust travel times.

The other issue is that the Manson Community Council has no power over what happens in Manson. They can only recommend their decisions to the County. The County, in particular the Planning Department and the County Commissioner, Tiffany Gearing, have not attended a Council meeting for a number of months despite being asked.

The Manson community at large is becoming very concerned with the direction the community is moving and are beginning to audibly raise their concerns to the Community Council who is helpless unless the Community as a whole steps up and complains loudly to those who represent them.

Admittedly, the County, who has lost a number of planning directors over the last few years, is up to its ears on issues including some major lawsuits concerning Short Term Rentals ($20 million has been bantered about).

The meeting will be attended by Deanne Walters, the interim director of the Chelan County Community Development along with a planner from the Planning Department. Gearing was invited but will be out of town apparently and unable to attend. Representatives from the DOT have been invited, but to this date, have not responded.

Ken Del Duca, project manager of the proposed Sundance Estates project will be on hand to answer questions regarding their project which instigated this meeting. The owner, Jorge Ochoa, will not be able to attend.

This meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 31, at 6 p.m. at North Shore Churches Sowers Hall.

Manson community members beginning to worry about impacts of developments

by Richard Uhlhorn

MaY 18, 2022

The Manson community is beginning to see the light. An estimated 40 people showed up in person at the Manson Community Council meeting on Tuesday evening, May 17, with most attending to hear about or complain about the proposed 66 lot Sundance Development just east of the Casino/Old Mill Bay intersection with Hwy. 150.

Many in the community are seriously concerned with the unmitigated taking place along the 150 corridor. Over the past couple of months, concerns have been raised with the Bluewater Terrace development and now the Sundance development which, according to Brian Patterson’s research will potentially add another 63 vehicles per hour during peak months to the highway.

Transportation issues is a huge concern with a community that has only one real egress out of the valley unless they want to drive up and over, eventually entering the highway off Boyd Road.

Brian Patterson explained some of the issues surrounding the proposed Sundance Estates proposed 66 residential lot project.

Transportation isn’t the only issue with the proposed “Planned Development” at Sundance. Patterson told the assembled crowd that the project lies on “Legacy Orchard Land” that has been farmed over the first half of the century which brings up the major issue of lead/arsenic levels in the ground.

Soil samples have been taken, according to Patterson, who has been at the forefront of getting the DOE to deal with lead/arsenic situations, but the County hasn’t provided the results and have apparently indicated that the project could be determined of non-significance. “They are required by law to provide the public with the soil sample resuts.”

Mr. Pittman, who has the pear and apple orchard adjacent to the development said he expects the developer to recognize that he has a right to farm. With the development bordering his property by only 30 feet, Pittman said, “They will be getting wet (with spray) and I spray a lot during the summer months.”

The planned development allows the developer an increased lot density from 40 lots to 66 smaller lots that many say will make it into another Lookout. However, as a planned development, only long term residential home sites are allowed with no Short Term Rentals.

The developer is also required to provide two ingress/egress avenues which include traffic through the Summer Breeze development and Hwy. 150.

Councilperson Kathy Blum

Council member Kathy Blum talked about the many different projects that had been proposed for that property but eventually failed until this developer applied for the Sundance Estates project. “Nobody at planning has ever shown up for a meeting. We need to get the (County) Planning Department here,” she said. “When I suggested that to a planner in Wenatchee, he looked like a deer caught in the headlights.”

Carl Blum, a past County Planning Commission member explained how the commissioners work.

Carl Blum, a past member of the Chelan County Planning Commission said, “They only take on what the Community Development department gives them.” He encouraged the community to write letters and include them to the County Commissioner. “She represents you, write to her.”

Public comments on the Sundance project are due by Thursday, May 19. They should be addressed to the planner on this project at alex.white@co.chelan.wa.us.  CC the County Commissioners: kevin.overbay@co.chelan.wa.us,

bob.bugert@co.chelan.wa.us, tiffany.gering@co.chelan.wa.us and the Chelan County Assessor who has taken on the job of Interim Communty Development Director at Chelan County. Assessor@co.chelan.wa.us

Kari Sorenson (left) and Cindy Smith

Chairwoman Kari Sorenson said, “We can’t do anything. We need you guys to write letters and to stop being apathetic.” She also mentioned that County Commissioner Tiffany Gering has not come to a meeting after being repeatedly invited despite the fact that she lives in Manson. “She promised to come to all meetings and after three, we’ve never seen her again.”

Sorenson is tentatively setting up a Community Forum at 6 p.m. on May 31 at the Manson Grange Hall which will include Interim Community Development Director Deanna Walter, Planner Alex White, Jorge Orchard, and developer Ken Del Duca.

In other business:

Sheriff Brian Burnett was on hand to explain the new County code enforcement program.

Sheriff Brian Burnett came to the Council meeting to explain the new Code Enforcement program under the department. The Sheriff’s Department has entered into a contract and is hiring three civil servants to enforce the Codes of Chelan County including STRs (Short Term Rentals). These individuals will have undergone background checks and will be either trained and/or already have extensive code enforcement backgrounds.

However, for disturbances like noise infractions, the public should still call RiverCom at 911 or 509-663-9111 if it is not an emergency.

He also said that STRs should be posted at the residence and that someone must be responsible for activities at these facilities. Burnett said, “It seems that when people go on vacation, their brains are turned off.”

Gildroy will be missed… memorial Friday

by Richard Uhlhorn

Last week’s City Council meeting was a solemn affair with the sudden passing of the City’s Community Development Director Craig Gildroy earlier in the month.

Lisa Garvich, a community member spoke about Craig during the public comment period, saying, “He was always willing to chat, worked by the code and while I didn’t always agree with him, he was a good guy.”

It was during the City/Mayor comments that the accolades for Craig’s service to the community over the years and his willingness to interact with anyone who had a question came out.

Peter Jamtgaard remarked that Craig was a good guy who worked hard. Servando Robledo echoed that thought and said, “It is a big loss for Chelan.” Tim Hollingsworth echoed the council’s comments. “He moved here years ago and worked his way up. He was an asset to the community. He will be missed.” Sheri Dietrich teared up and said she will miss Craig. She worked with him for a number of years when she was on the Planning Commission.

City Administrator Wade Ferris stated that the City is fortunate to have a quality staff in planning. “Craig Gildroy gave them the knowledge and ability to make decision,” said Ferris. “He worked with citizens at all levels. It is going to be hard to replace Craig. We are going to miss him going forward.”

Lewis Gonzalez has been named the interim community director and John Ajax will continue as a planner.

Lewis Gonzalez has been named Interim Planning Department Director.

Gonzalez said, “He was such a great guy. I learned so much from him. I’m really going to miss him.” He also stated that despite losing Craig, the planning department continued to answer the phones the next day and kept the department working.

In other business:

Annexation of Sundance Slope:

The Council unanimously accepted a petition submitted by Sundance Slope LLC, and modified by the staff as presented as a Special Use District. Tim Hollingsworth abstained from the vote due to potential conflict of interest.

John Olson remarked that the annexed property was contiguous with the Bluewater Terrace project and asked if that would allow them to join together. City Attorney Quentin Batjer said, “They would have to go through the entire process.” Shari Dietrich asked about the property’s water and sewer issue. Batjer replied that it would be very challenging topographically to acquire water and sewer service. Jamtgaard stated that was good because it gives the City more control.

RH2 Engineers Task Authorization:

Council authorized Mayor Goedde to finalize and execute a Task Authorization with RH2 Engineering for pre-design services for the Airport Transmission Main Project at a cost of $24,914.00.

The Public Works Department will not issue a notice to proceed until further notice. The transmission line, which will carry treated water to the airport for fire flow would not be able to be used as potable water unless analyzed for that purpose because the water in the pipe would be stagnant until needed and therefore not drinkable.

The City is receiving a $5.7 million dollar grant to extend water to the airport.

Fire District 7 presents draft strategic plan to commissioners

by Richard Uhlhorn

Chelan Fire and Rescue (Chelan County Fire District No. 7) held a Strategic Planning meeting on Wednesday, April 27, to present its planning process to the Fire Commissioners.

Administrative Assistant Carol Kibler went over budget items relevant to the strategic plan.

Carol Kibler, administrative assistant, updated the commission on the current and future budget and said the department would carry over $1.7 million if it did not have to pay the $433,690 in capital expenses including the ladder truck. “It will be a brand new truck after its refurbishing,” said Chief Brandon Asher. The truck was purchased for $175,000 and the department is spending another $250,000 on it.

Commissioner Phil Moller asked what the life expectancy of the ladder truck will be. Asher replied it would be 20 years at 2,500 mile per year. Mechanic John Goyne stated that maintenance would be less than $500 per year, but wasn’t sure about fuel costs.

The department is also purchasing two new high clearance trucks with All-Wheel-Drive to help access urban/wildland interface homes. “Homes are being built higher and higher into the hills.”

Chelan Fire and Rescue will be adding another clearance, go anywhere brush truck to its fleet to access off road areas.

On the south shore, there are switchbacks after switchbacks to residences which means some fires on those residential homes will have to be fought from the road with a 100 foot hose haul.

The Strategic Plan is an opportunity for the department to look into future. “It is a roadmap of where we want to be. We don’t want to go backwards.”

Currently Chelan Fire has 11 career firefighters and 30 volunteers. “During this process, some fire fighters asked about including a core value of Teamwork,” said Asher.

Chief Brandon Asher went over the key elements of the draft Strategic Plan with the fire commissioners.

The district is still trying to come up with accurate population numbers. Current data shows that Chelan has a population of 4,095 and the outlying areas of the district has 3,356 residents for a total of 7,485. “It’s not going to slow down,” said Asher.

The department responded to 1,053 calls in 2021 and expects that to increase this year.

Equipment:

Truck #7 would cost $779,000 to replace. Goyne stated that everything on the truck is obsolete except for the engine.

Truck #71 will be a brand new truck after its refurbishment.

Rescue 71 has been updated to a diesel engine.

Brush 7 is a department workhorse and has only 10,866 miles on it.

Brush 75 is the last of the Ford 550s, but is another workhorse for the department.

Brush 75 is stationed in Union Valley.

Brush 79 is a DNR loaner rig. “The plan for this to start sending it out on State Mob.”

Tender 71 is an AWD that carries 4,000 gallons of water. “It can spend a long time on a fire,” said. Goyne. “I’ve been on fires where 4,000 gallons have made a huge difference.”

Chief 71 is five years past replacing, but the department has put a new purchase on hold. Goyne said a replacement would cost  between $70,000 and $80,000.

Mechanic’s truck has 100,000 miles on it and used they are selling for $31,000.

The department’s Tahoe still runs good and is primarily used to transport volunteers to certification classes.

Hazmat II is 22 years old, but according to Asher, it is a good rig for what the department is trying to do.

Marine 71 is a great addition to the fleet. “We are exploring all fire fighting options for it. Commissioner Russ Jones stated that they don’t want to cut into the aluminum hull and will put a portable on the stern to find out if a portable is appropriate or not.

Jones said he would like to have a marine radio on the Marine 71. Asher asked if that was a special radio and Jones replied that marine radios are programmed differently.

Chief Asher said, “We are crossing our fingers that this will get us through another fire season.

Facilities:

The department is planning on replacing the flooring in both the dorm and common areas.

Security cameras have been purchased and they are waiting on the possibility of getting a Digital Reader Board from the DNR. Long term plans call for a hose tower and workout area.

Chelan Falls has only one volunteer. The building was built in 1984. There were 46 responses to Chelan Falls last year. “If we can’t get more volunteers, we will look at closing this station and possibly moving a truck over to Douglas County’s proposed new facility on the other side of the Beebe Bridge.” However it was noted that Chelan Falls is changing.

Station 73 has six volunteers with three of them combat certified. It had 11 calls last year.

Station 74 at the airport houses the department’s Search and Rescue equipment. “It’s pretty old, but a good station. “It will meet our need in the future if the proposed casino i built and water is out there.”

Fire District 7’s mechanic John Goyne plans to retire in the next two years and the District is seeking a replacement.
Commissioner Phil Moller
Commissioner Karyl Oules
Commissoner Russ Jones.

Station 75 has seven volunteers with four combat certified. It serves the south shore to 25 Mile Creek State Park.

Entiat/Chelan are beginning a joint effort to serve both Navarre Coulee and Downey Canyon.

Goals:

The department will continue its goal of having a highly trained staff and volunteers to work fires. It will also continue to seek grant opportunities.

“We have a lot of new people and it is important to get training behind them.” Asher also stated that the department’s equipment needs are being met. The department is also conducting Community Risk Assessments.

Keeping the Community aware of fire department activities and involved is of highest priority. Commissioner Karyl Oules stated that residents don’t know about all the laws the department has to comply with. Asher said, “We need engagement with the media.. getting the message out there about what we are doing. I think that is important.”

Fiscal management is also a top priority.  “We are doing what is appropriate and transparent.” This brought up the subject of a resident who has requested all emails. Kibler said, “He’s getting everything he asked for,” said Kibler. “We will never change his mind, no matter what we do. We are still doing the right thing.”

Moller brought up the need to seriously look at John Goyne’s replacement. Goyne will be retiring in two years and the District would like to have a competent replace on board before that happens.

Community Center presents update to City Council

by Richard Uhlhorn

Seven Acres Foundation Maribel Cruz, director of operations and Board President Ben Williams presented an update to the Chelan City Council on the construction of the Community Center. Cruz reported that the last three years have been difficult because of the pandemic and rising construction costs.

Director of Operations Maribel Cruz gave the City Council an update on the Community Center project and what it will offer to the community.

She stated that restated that the purpose of the Center was a physical space where people can meet in a centralized location. “It will also offer year-round recreational activities.

In 2021, the Foundation was able to level the building site and secure the critical permitting from the various agencies. Outside of construction difficulties, the Foundation has been able to develop relationships with a number of partners.

Board President Ben Williams talked about ongoing efforts to raise money and the possibility of working with the City on AAU Progarms

Williams told the Council that they have received financial support and that the facility will have three volleyball courts, six pickleball courts and a swimming pool. “Special Olympics is one of our partners,” said Williams. “Only 7 Seconds is another partner that has a mission to end loneliness.”

The project has received another million dollars but has/is facing a $9 million dollar

budget fall and Williams stated that they are looking for creative ways and options for support of the project.

Williams told the Council that the board has discussed ways the City could support the project through its AAU program which would be a benefit to both.

The other option that is being researched is a Muncipal Parks District within the City and County for funding. “This is the less desirable option,” said Williams. “We are looking for some support.” Williams asked the Council if they had any questions.

John Olson stated that the facility has to be accessible to everybody. Williams replied that it has been privately funded with the exception of State grants.

Chris Baker asked if there might be a market correction that might bring down costs? “I feel we are insulated from a recession.”

Peter Jamtgaard asked about membership fees to generate revenue. Williams replied that the Community Center has 11 partners who will be leasing space at the facility. “We are a couple of million in (long term) debt and would prefer to have no debt.”

The facility has grown from an original 26,000 sq. ft. to 40,000 sq. ft. Williams explained that the Roots School will be taking over the second floor. “We have a healthy demand for space,” said Williams. “Pickle Ball is in high demand.”

Williams also stated that there are 20 teams competing for time and space in two local gymnasiums.

Jamptgaard asked about the swimming pool. Williams said it will be an outdoor pool but the Foundation is developing plans to enclose the pool. “It is our intention to have a year-round facility.”

Tim Hollingsworth asked about the facility being closed airtight so interior work can begin. Williams replied that they are good to go to get the shell in place.

Chris Baker asked if the plans still include a church. Williams said Real Life would be occupying the facility for their church services and activities.

To help raise funds, individuals, families, organizations, companies and agencies can learn more about donating here: https://sevenacresfoundation.org/fundraising/

In other business:

The Lake Chelan Trails Alliance requested that the City release it from its required Liability Insurance clause that was put in place during the construction of the trail. Since construction is now complete, the Council approved the motion to release the Alliance from the liability insurance clause.

John Olson asked if the trail was on PUD property and how did liability play for users. City Attorney Quentin Batjer replied that the Washington’s recreational immunity statute protected owners in land opened to the public solely for recreational purposes. “I feel pretty good about it.”

Sundance Slope Annexation:

City Planner Craig Gildroy (who sadly passed away Thursday, April 28) said that he would like the Council to hold off on the Sundance Slope Annexation until the next meeting.

The property on Chelan’s North Shore is currently a working orchard with no future development plans except as an operating orchard. “We are trying to retain the right to farm within the city,” said Gildroy. He added that some property owners do not want to be annexed into the City. In addition property owners don’t want to lose their septic systems to a city sewer system.

“We would not take them off their well or septic system,” said Gildroy. Mayor Bob Goedde chimed in with the concern that he has real doubts about the annexation proposal and sees the possibility of the property becoming an 80 home development in the future. “It is just one more step in eliminating small town Chelan,” said Goedde.

Gildroy replied that there are no urban services in that area. Olson replied that the Manson Community Council is concerned with the proposed Bluewater Terrace and its access point to Hwy. 150. He asked if an alternative ingress/egress road could be built.

Jamptgaard stated he liked the idea of annexation because it gives the City control over the property like their control over Chelan Butte. “Preserving some of the orchards is important,” he said.

Batjer suggested that the issue be tabled until the next meeting. Council agreed.

Generator purchase:

The Public Works Department ordered a generator for Lift Station No. 5 in August of 2021. “We have yet to receive a deliver date,” said Jake Youngren. Currently the City is renting a generator for the Lift Station at $1,500 per month. Youngren requested the purchase of a used generator at a cost of $20,500. “It only has 5,000 hours on it and is in good condition.” The new generator would cost the City $50,000. Council approved the purchase of the used generator.

Mayor/Council comments:

Servando Robledo told the members that the Hispanic Community is planning a big Cinco de Mayo celebration and invited everyone to join in.

Mayor Goedde attended a PUD Stakeholders meeting and said that the PUD has revenues of $58 million dollars in Chelan County, but sells $259 million to outside sources. “We have an opportunity to work with the PUD.

Youngren reported that KCRI is having less issues on the 200 block of the Alley project. He also said Public Works would be re-striping on May 9. He also mentioned that the department is feeling the pinch of getting services. “We are making conservative projections concerning our budget inflation related issues.”

Parks Director Paul Horne commented that fertilizer has gone up 300%.

Gildroy said his department would be changing its hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. based on contractors needs.

City Administrator Wade Ferris said they have had a good discussion on a new skate park/pump track and dog park. “It was a good discussion regarding the priorities about areas.

City Council meets every second and fourth Tuesdays as 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.