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.
Manson Community Council is hosting a Candidate’s Forum on Wednesday, October 28, at Northshore Bible Church’s community meeting room beginning at 6 p.m.
The Sheriff’s, Chelan County Clerk, and County Commission races are being contested in the County.
Sheriff Brian Burnett is being challenged by Deputy Mike Morrison and while Burnett came out on top in the primary, Morrison is still a viable challenger to the position.
The Chelan County Commission seat has Anne Hessburg and Shon B Smith challenging each other with Hessburg in the lead after the primary.
Sandra Arechiga and Marty Young are both battling for the County Clerk position with Arechiga leading that position after the primary.
Three areas of concern will be addressed at the forum; rapid growth in the Valley, the lack of affordable housing, and infrastructure issues. Each candidate will be allowed five minutes to state their positions and will have an opportunity to answer written questions from the floor. The floor will also be opened up at the end for further questions.
The Community Council is asking Valley residents to submit questions for the candidates to communitycouncilmanson@mekeithley
It was reported that RUN (Residents United for Neighbors) is expanding its mission beyond the Short Term Rental issues. It’s new mission is to work with residents on future growth and development issues in the County to perserve and and enhance life style qualities. They are changing their name to Residents Coalition of Chelan County.
Manson Community Council has struggled financially for many years. Using Island County as an example, the Council has requested funding from the Community Service Club to purchase equipment to add ZOOM to their meetings. “This would open up more of the community (to our efforts),” stated Kathy Blume. They also requested office supplies.
They are also considering applying for 501 (C) 3 status so they can effectively ask for donations. “We are just an adhoc group and sounding board for the County Commission,” said Blume.
“It was a very nice meeting and they will get back to us in a week.”
Chelan City Councilman John Olson requested five minutes to address the Council. He told the Council that for the first time, Chelan is adding a North Shore Bypass route to its Capital Improvement Plan. “It won’t happen overnight,” said Olson. “It took about 25 years to get the roundabout,” he added.
Olson stated that Chelan’s 2020 population was 4,800 and Manson’s was 4,600. “Those figures do not include the South Shore population.” Olson added that Chelan is the only City in the State that has two state highways inside the city limits, both of which pass by the city’s schools.
A short discussion ensued regarding the efforts of the Chelan Basin Conservancy to purchase the 900 acres available on Chelan Butte.
Manson Community Council meets on the third Tuesday of each month at the Manson Parks Building beginning at 6 p.m.
Parks Maintenance Building: Park’s Director Paul Horne reported that he had reduced the price of the Parks Maintenance Building by $600,000. “It will still be nice,” said Horne. “We went through a perfect storm when it went out to bid.”
After going through the design and evaluation with the contract, it was decided to use Halme Construction who are building the new Public Works Building. “This is not an extravagant building,” said Horne. The bid was reduced to $2.3 million from $2.8 million and Horne said, “You could re-bid this project, but I don’t think you would get a better result.”
It was noted that the Public Works Building was being constructed for $2.3 million minus the State Sales tax and other soft costs. The reduction in price of the Parks Maintenance Building was the removal of the parking lot addition.
“We desperately need more bathrooms in our park,” said McCardle. “We need to give Paul a pat on the back and think about restrooms separately.” She said she appreciated the work it took to bring the price down.
John Olson stated that the old Parks Maintenance building has been there for 60 years and that the new building would last for the next 100 years. He mentioned how embarrassing it was to have porta potties in the park to handle bathroom needs.
Public Works Director Jake Youngren stated that they have had no issues with the work on their new building with Halme Builders, Inc.
Baker stated he would like to see the Parks Maintenance Building re-bid. “The costs are out of control. It needs to be scaled down and go back to bid.”
The Council voted to have Horne prepare, for council consideration, a Professional Services Agreement with Design West Architects and Halme Builders, Inc. for the construction of the Don Morse Park Public Restrooms and Parks Maintenance Building.
Once again, both Baker and Jamtgaard voted no on the motion allowing it to pass 3 to 2. Mayor Goedde once again derided the vote and remarked that consultants push these projects to maximize their profits. “I’m not talking about you,” he said referring to Design West. He still referred to pole buildings and how the architects stated they would fall down in 20 years.
Lisa Garvich extended her gratitude for allowing a presentation and considering the CBC’s efforts to purchase the 900 acres of land owned by Golden State Ventures.
She also remarked that Chelan Fire and Rescue is putting together a five year wildfire prevention grant, but stated, that like most grant offers, there is short notice of October 6. “We would like a partnership with the City by forming a wildfire prevention steering committee that would include the DNR and Forest Service. She also would like to promote the efforts CF&R is putting forward.
In addition, Garvich asked the City once again to consider some sort of markings for the City’s fire hydrants for snowplowing.
Paul Rodgers, a Chelan Highlands resident told the City Council that the flooding issues need City action. “We have collected 100 signatures now and discussed what the city response will be. He asked how long it would be for the city to make a resolution concerning the loss of thousands of dollars in private property from the 100 year storms that hit the area in June and July.
He stated that in 2014, 15 and 16 areas contributing to the flooding included concentrated flows and impermeable surfaces. “We want to know the next steps to be taken by the City.
Arbor Day Proclamation:
Mayor Goedde read a proclamation into the record that Friday, September 23 is Arbor Day in Chelan and urged all citizens to celebrate the day and support efforts to protect trees and woodlands.
Executive Session to discuss personnel moves:
City Council came back from its executive session and named John Ajax the new Community Development Director and Jackie Tupling the new Finance Director.
Current Finance Director Steve Thornton brought forth a motion to approve a Professional Services Agreement with Kroll Associates, Inc. for Third Party Software Services.
The City had a computer breach which forced a shutdown of the system. By entering into an agreement with Kroll, the City will find out what went wrong and at a cost of $20,000 over three years, the contractor would constantly monitor the City’s computer firewall. Approved unanimously.
The Council discussed and considered authorization to hire DA Davidson for Bond Services. There are a number of projects on the City’s books that need funding and the Council considered selling a bond in the amount of $2.5 million dollars over a 15 year period to help pay for these projects.
The priority projects included in the CIP Planning Projections for 2022-2023 are:
The Parks Maintenance Building – $1 Million
Airport Waterline – $868,250 (up 15% over last year’s projection of $755,000).
Lakeside Bike Path – $833,750 (up 15% from $711,250)
Chelan Butte acquisition – $500,000 (this was added for council consideration, but comes with further criteria like City ownership and maintenance before other funding agencies will consider funding the buyout from Golden State Ventures.).
Skateboard Park – $1.5 million
Thornton stated that the $2.5 million dollar bond the City would be seeking wasn’t just for the Parks Maintenance Building but, “more of a fund for projects.”
“With a loan of $2.5 million we are $65,000 short,” said Thornton. Councilman Chris Baker said, “I’m not in favor of moving forward with this. It seems like a little bit of a hurry up.” Thornton replied, “We’ve been moving forward on this track for two years. This will be a beginning of a process.” Baker asked if it was started if it could be stopped and was told Yes.
John Olson agreed with Thornton. “We’ve been kicking the can down the pike. Things never get cheaper. It’s time to quit pushing it down the road. Erin McCardle agreed. “We need to take advantage of Steve’s in depth analysis. I’m comfortable with moving forward.”
Mayor Goedde, who as been an opponent of the cost of the Parks building and asked the Council to re-evaluate that building. “We do not need to build a Taj Mahal.” Goedde mentioned the $1 million dollar Lookout Maintenance Building as a perfect example of what could be built at less expense.
McCardle replied that the listed CIP projects are not “necessarily” approved. “Some won’t even make that list.” Peter Jamtgaard said, “I would not accept all of these projects.. “We need to look at this number more and spend a little more time.” Councilwoman Sheri Dietrich stated that the Council can adjust the list down the road. “How important are they in regards to our debt service.”
McCardle said that the Council needs to have a financial strategy discussion for the next critical step. “Personally we’ve gone round and round on the Parks building,” She made the motion to move forward so DA Davidson could begin the process of developing a bond issue for the City.
Both Chris Baker and Peter Jamtgaard voted No on the issue.
In other motion action the council approved a new and required agreement for Emergency Management Services with Chelan County at a cost of $13,643.75 for 2023 and $13,345.60 for 2024. The vote was unanimous.
Public Works Director told the Council that he had been approached by T-Mobile to put a Cell Tower on the City’s reservoir which is located east of Henderson. He said the installation would bring in approximately $20,000 each year.
Baker asked if that was the fair market value of an installation like this. Youngren replied revenue from Verizon is less then that. Asked if there were any health concerns, Shari Dietrich replied that there were issues with 5G Cell towers causing depression, anxiety and other issues with life.
A T-Mobile representative on Zoom stated that the dangers were at a level of standard. “A few hundred feet out it is comparable to holding a phone to your ear.”
McCardle asked if the homeowners in the area had any issues with its installation. It was decided to check with the area neighbors before approving the proposed project.
Public restroom at the Columbia Street location:
Paul Horne said the restrooms at the old Chamber building has been vandalized several times, but that they wanted to upgrade the facility and put more eyes on it. In addition, the upgrades would include a pedestrian walkway. “We don’t want to spend a lot of money in design work.”
Horne stated that the HDCA should be involved in any improvements to the courtyard and that funding is available for design and or development through the downtown program.
John Olson remarked that he was impressed with the track record of grant writer Annalisa Noble of T-O Engineering who has procurred $68 million over the last six years for clients.
He also mentioned the work being done by the Wenatchee group working on the Foothills trail system and that the Council would be advised to explore how they were able to fund and build the system so they could consider next steps on the Butte acquisition. He also remarked that the City needs to look at increased lake access for the growth that is coming to Chelan.
He also mentioned the new project by Rocky Pond for a 115,000 sq. ft. resort on the Columbia River in Douglas County and how that will probably impact Chelan since the city is the closest community to the project.
Erin McCardle said the City needs to be a part of the Regional conversation on growth issues. She asked about the Chelan Hills storm situation and wanted to be updated. City Administrator Wade Ferris said the Council needs to be very careful with what they say. McCardle replied that some background would be nice from a historic viewpoint.
City Clerk Peri Gallucci stated that applications for Robledo’s vacant council seat is required soon.
Peter Jamtgaard stated that the City has a lot of fires to put out on its agenda. “What is happening in the Valley will continue to accelerate.”
Mayor Goedde stated he was not willing to sell out the Butte. If acquired he is concerned with maintenance issues. He stated that the water line to the Airport was critical at this time. “We need to make it happen.”
John Ajax and Jackie Tupling both thanked the Council for their support and opportunity to move into their new positions.
Jake Youngren stated that the City has still not received the new generator for the lift station out on the south shore. “It is probably a good thing we purchased the rental generator now in service.
Paul Horne reported that registrations for the youth soccer program were complete and he thanked Mike Haerling for his work for putting it all together. “We are back in (AAU) business,” said Horne.
Dave Trageser, managing director for D.A. Davidson in Seattle, presented the City Council with the types of bonds the City could engage in. Currently, the City is considering bonding a 15 year, $2.5 million bond to partially fund the construction of its proposed Parks Maintenance Building/Public Restrooms project.
Trageser told the Council that a voter bond would require a 60 percent super majority to pass. “A voter bond gives you revenue bonds,” he said.
The types of bonds the City can consider are:
LIMITED TAX GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND (Non-voted)
• Secured by the General Fund/Current Expense Fund. (A Limited Tax General Obligation Bond is also known as “non-voted debt”. Any type of debt that is secured by the General Fund, is counted against the municipality’s “non-voted” Debt Capacity.)
UNLIMITED TAX GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND (Voted)
• Secured by the full faith, credit and taxing power of the municipality with a special excess voter-approved bond levy.
• Revenue bonds are payable from a specific source of revenue from the System operations (i.e., user fees such as Water and Sewer).
LOCAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (“LID”) BOND
• Secured by the property assessments in the LID boundary that are receiving the benefits. The assessments cannot be greater than the improvement value.
SHORT TERM NOTES
• In addition to long-term fixed rate bonds, the City may issue interim financing via shortterm fixed or variable notes.
The City’s income metrics correlates closely to an AA- rating category. “You would get a Double A minus rating,” said Tragerser. This is based on 87% of the state median family income. He also pointed out that bond holders view a concentration of hotels/resorts negatively. However the City’s AV and population growth is comparatively strong and unemployment is not elevated which is favorable for credit.
His presentation also noted that credit analysts are also paying attention to climate change and the threat of wildfires. Also the City’s approach to debt has been conservative.
“The big fear for bond holders is inflation,” stated Trageser.
Trageser gave the Council a schedule of events if they chose to go after a $2.5 million dollar bond for the Parks Maintenance Building.
Action Week 1, D.A. Davidson (the “Underwriter”) would coordinate with City staff on compiling information on the City.
By Week 4, Davidson would release draft Preliminary Official Statement (the “POS”) for review and comments by City staff, administration and council. The bond attorney would send out a draft Bond Resolution for review and comments.
By Week 5 the City, Underwriter & Bond Attorney would provide comments to the draft POS. The City, Underwriter & Bond Attorney provide comments to the draft Bond Resolution.
Week 7 City Council approves the Bond Ordinance.
Week 8 Practice conference call and rating presentation (via conference all) with rating agency.
Week 9 Receive rating, release the POS, and begin marketing the Bonds to prospective investors.
Week 11 Set the final interest rates for the Bonds (based on comparable bond sales, spread to MMD index, market conditions), approve Contract of Purchase.
Week 13 Closing and Delivery of Bond Proceeds.
Grant writer options:
In conjuction with Trageser’s presentation the City has been considering the hiring of, or contracting with a Grant writer to seek grants that would fit the City’s CIP project list.
Annalisa Noble, a funding specialist with T-O Engineers in Spokane was on hand with a special presentation of how her company could help the City formulate a funding strategy for available grants.
Since 2016, Noble has procured $68.5 million in grant and loan funding for a variety of clients. She told the Council that she visited Chelan last month and met with several City directors and said, “So I am a little more familiar with your projects. Everybody needs funding.”
She shared her companies resume and added that it is a challenge to putting together a funding strategy. “I can help you guys prioritize which projects would be most likely to get,” said Noble.
There is generally a lot of red tape with grants and Noble stated she could also help figure out what is best for the community. ‘There is a lot of funding around and I can help you navigate that… help write proposals and help with the paperwork,” stated Noble.
Erin McCardle told Noble that, “we don’t know what to ask.” McCardle added that in her opinion that without a financial strategy, grant writing is the last step. “We don’t ever know what to write for.”
Mayor Goedde, who took a special class at Wenatchee Valley College on grant writing stated that composition was as important as being an idea man. “It never ceases to amaze me how much money is out there.”
It was brought up that million dollar grants came with a lot of requirements including matches by the receiving party. “A part of my job is to find out all the requirements of a grant,” Noble said.
Peter Jamtgaard asked how much time it takes to do a grant. Noble replied that it depends on the specific grant. “I prefer to do smaller grants at the local level,” said Noble. “In general they take about a month,” she added.
The process according to Noble is to match up funding for specific projects. “We can set it up anyway you guys want,” she said.
McCardle was concerned about the impact on staff and Goedde asked if the City should go after projects it wants or projects the City really needs. Jamtgaard was also interested in the cost of grant management.
City Administrator Wade Ferris told the Council that they could bring forward proposals they would like to see.
T-O Funding Services Available
• Assist with project development, funding research, eligibility, and best fit for funding
• Develop funding matrix, funding strategies, and provide professional recommendations • Assist with funding guidance, structure, collaboration, coordination, and communication
• Assist in writing, reviewing, editing, and submitting funding proposals
• Assist through funding award, funding administration process, and staff support for grant and loan administration Chelan Priority Projects / Funding Strategies • Water Line Extension to Chelan Airport; Affordable Housing Water/Sewer Project
The Chelan Basin Conservancy’s (CBC) president Brian Patterson gave another presentation to the City Council at its Tuesday, September 6 workshop in an effort to encourage the City to pay $500,000 towards the purchase of the 875 acres of Butte property owned by Golden Gate Ventures.
Patterson told the Council that there were three critical initial actions from the City.
The Trust for Public Lands and the Chelan/Douglas Land Trust would require full engagement and commitment from the City before becoming involved;
That the City pledge $500,000 towards the purchase of the property; and
That the City prioritize the Butte project as its top goal.
The Butte property under the ownership of Golden Gate Ventures was annexed into the City of Chelan during the now defunct Daybreak Project that was planned for a gated community with a golf course. The annexation was zoned for Tourist Accommodation (TA).
In addition to the 875 acres the CBC would like the various players to purchase at an estimated cost of $7 million dollars, there is 400 acres above the Golden Venture property that was purchased by golf investors at $5 million. The surrounding area also includes a huge section owned by the Holiday Hills group.
Patterson stated that the CBC didn’t know how the 875 acres might be developed, but that the current City codes would allow up to 775 dwellings (possibly up to 1162) and tourist related businesses on the property with 100 acres at the east end of the property held out for affordable housing.
If developed as a high density residential and TA business area, Patterson stated that the impact on the City’s infrastructure would be huge.
“Chelan is becoming a City of visitors, not a City of residents,” said Patterson. He talked about traffic issues and the City’s requirement to maintain both water and sewer not covered by the developer.
He said that if it is developed it is an irreplaceable iconic piece of property that offers huge recreational opportunities like trails and that it borders a wildlife area on the upper reaches of the Butte owned by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources and the Bureau of Land Management.
“Once developed it is forever lost as a part of the uniqueness and beauty of Chelan,” Patterson told the Council.
He named the Trust for Public Lands, the Chelan/Douglas Land Trust, the CBC, the Lake Chelan Trails Alliance and potential other partners in acquiring the land. “There are multiple funding sources to come up with the $6 to $7 million dollars needed to purchase the property.”
Patterson stated that the CBC would advocate for the project, but that the City “must lead this effort… the partners will be there for support.”
Erin McCardle told Patterson that the City was just preparing to enter into its annual budget discussions and it would be working on the new budget for 2023 until the new year.
She also commented that the potential Tourist Accommodations worries her even more.
Peter Jamtgaard said he supported project but asked if the CBC was willing to apply for grants or do grant research for the City. “You could point us in some direction.”
Tim Hollingsworth said he supports the acquisition of the property, but was concerned about staff time. “Staff is already shell shocked with the workload. The downside is huge. We have a willing seller and should cooperate with him.”
John Olson said he would like to hear from the City of Wenatchee regarding how they worked the Foothills project. He added that the City already put out $400,000 for the nine acres at Spader Bay
Patterson said that Wenatchee had a number of funding sources for its Foothills project and continues to seek more funding. It was noted that several millionaires in Wenatchee put up a million apiece to move the project forward.
Chris Baker asked if the City Parks Department could handle the acquisition. Parks Director Paul Horne said it would require more personnel.
The Council will consider the CBC’s proposal over the next several months as they begin the process of setting the 2023 budget. More discussions will take place and a decision will be forthcoming sometime in the future.
In the meantime, Chelan Butte is up for grabs by any developer who wants to spend the millions it would take to bring in water/sewer, streets, sidewalks and curbs as per the City’s building codes.
A low density rural development has also been mentioned over the last several months that would essentially allow only approximately 40 home sites on the property.
Time will tell. Chelan Butte has gone through a number of iterations from the original Snowcreek project to the Daybreak project.
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.”
Mayor Bob Goedde and City Administrator Wade Ferris attended the Wednesday, August 17 Fire Commission meeting to request support from the District in the City’s efforts to get a water line (fire flow) constructed from town to the airport.
Mayor Goedde told the District that Chelan County is on board with the project and in obtaining support for the waterline, he asked himself why the Fire District hadn’t been contacted for support.
Ferris told the Commission that it wasn’t just about fire flow, but that there is a strong demand for development of the airport by both the City and Port of Chelan County. “We are working with the FAA on an airport master plan. In the next eight to 10 years we will have a first class airport,” said Ferris. He added that in July there were 950 landings at the airport.
“We need improvements to accommodate jets. It is not safe now.” Ferris also mentioned inquiries from commercial airlines to use the airport. “Kenmore Air is interested in serving the Chelan community but we can’t do anything unless we get fire flow.”
Ferris asked the District to look into grants and would like at least a Letter-of-Support from Chelan Fire. Chief Asher said that getting fire flow out there would be a huge benefit to the District and community. “I’m excited to hear about this.”
Ferris added what he called a little story telling. “The FAA will put up $22, $4 Million. They pay 90% of the project.”
Fire Chief Report:
Chief Brandon Asher informed the commission that the District was on track financially. “The seasonal firefighters are helping to decrease out overtime,” said Asher.
In July, the District responded to 147 emergency calls including eight calls for fires. “This is the most calls we’ve ever had,” said Asher. “Marine calls are up this year. The total amount of people here is increasing our call volume.”
Asher specifically mentioned the Stayman Flats fire on July 18. “We got every aircraft helping us out,” said Asher. This included the DC-9 and other larger aircraft.
“We’ve had a pretty late start to wildfire season,” said Asher. The District has responded to two Statewide Mobilizations but said they were minor. “We haven’t had the five to nine day assignments.” He did mention that the District was receiving 50% more for Brush Trucks than last year. “It comes out to $1,100 a day.” The M-73 truck, which carries 1,000 gallons of water is bringing in $2,000 a day when mobilized. “It is the perfect truck for bad roads with moon dust. It is so nice to have that much water available.”
The District and Forest Service are discussing leasing a part of Station 74 to the Chelan Ranger district.
Assistant Chief report:
Assistant Chief Shaun Sherman told the commissioners that two high school students have indicated an interest in fire services and stated that the District will fire up the school age program again.
He also mentioned a long meeting with Dave Clouse in the First Creek Drainage discussing the one way in/one way out situation in First Creek. They are planning on starting a fire wise program like Union Valley’s.
Commissioner Russ Jones asked what they could do about the one way in and out situation? Sherman said would enact an early evacuation order if a fire threatens the drainage
The District has hired one new career fire fighter from its ranks which means that three fire fighters are on duty 24-7. Several other volunteers are attending the Wenatchee Fire Academy.
Ladder 71 which has been undergoing a complete overhaul had a transmission failure and it will cost $25,000 to fix. The company working on the truck dropped $10,000 from the overall bill and will rebuild the EBS4000 transmission. “We will have a brand new truck when it arrives,” said Asher.
“We are predicting a pretty long summer,” said Asher. Be careful out there.
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.
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.
The Council has four possible alternatives to the Hearing Examiner’s recommendation as follows:
The Council can adopt the Hearing Examiner’s findings, conclusions and recommendations as the Council’s decision.
They can modify the examiner’s finding and conclusions based on the closed record from the hearing and then adopt the recommendation.
Council can reject the examiner’s recommendations and adopt other findings and conclusions and enter their own decision.
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:
Approval of the zoning amendment does not approve any construction projects, and currently, there are no applications to build the proposed 720 apartment units.
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.
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.
Manson Community Council held its regularly scheduled meeting after taking a hiatus in July because of a lack of forum. This meeting was not well attended and the Council didn’t have much on the agenda.
The Council discussed a date to host a Candidate’s Forum for those candidates that are being challenged. Kathy Blum said the forum should be held in Chelan which could draw voters from Entiat, Manson and Chelan. “It needs to be in Chelan in October,” she said. It would be held prior to ballots being mailed to registered voters.
The Sheriff’s, County Clerk, and County Commission races are contested along with several state and national races. Ballots are mailed out on October 21. The Council is looking at the Performing Arts Center at Chelan High School depending on costs and maybe the Riverwalk Park Pavilion where a past, successful forum was held. This would depend on weather.
The date and time will be posted when details are worked out.
Chelan County Interim Community Development Director, Deanna Walter was on hand to discuss the County Development Codes.
Walter said that developers, real estate companies are using the Boundary Line Adjustment rules to divide parcels into more lots than were originally plotted. “They can do this without going through SEPA and other normal criteria in the code,” she said. “They don’t have to do a traffic study, mitigations and no review by the department.”
Walter said that Boundary Line Adjustments are administrative with no notifications to surrounding residents required. “We can’t reverse what’s been done, but we can look at changing the regulations for the future.”
The 10 lot parcels are reduced to minimum of 2.5 acre lot sizes in the County Code. She gave a short history of how the Code has been used and said, “the Code has to be changed.”
Walter said a Task Force was being set-up to investigate, amend and make recommendations to change the codes. It will include seven individuals from different backgrounds from agriculture to real estate, but Walter stated each industry would only have one representative allowed on the Task Force. “There will be no loading or bias on the committee.” She will attend these meetings, but stated that her role was not to direct or influence the outcome. “I will just be there to be a part of the process.”
“The task force needs to have an active farmer on it,” said Walter. Burke Consulting will be hired to facilitate the meetings. Past Manson Community Council chair, Chris Willoughby offered to be on the task force as an active farmer.
The timeline to finish the Task Force input is the end of 2022.
Brian Patterson asked if the Task Force would be open to the public. Walter said “Yes.”
Walter told the Council that they need to engage with their commissioners who are very active and have the ultimate decision making on any amendments that come forward. “Developers and applicants know the code better than I do,” said Walter. She also told the Council that anything requiring a comment period, they should receive.
“Not everyone is happy with my decisions, but I am consistent and fair,” said Walter.
After the meeting County Commissioner Tiffany Gearing’s inability to engage with or attend Council meetings came up in a separate discussion. While Gearing is not up for re-election in the near future, her lack of engaging with her constituents through the Council prompted Council Chairman Kari Sorenson to commit to running for Gearing’s commission seat. “I’m running unless somebody better than me steps up,” said Sorenson. “She made promises she have not followed up on.”
Tuesday’s City Council meeting was light on agenda items, but there were interesting public comments before the agenda was tackled.
John Zimmerman, a Lakeside resident, thanked the City for its efforts in stopping parking along Hwy 97A and said, “There were police vehicles there twice a day during the weekend. No one parked along the highway over the weekend.” A great solution to an ongoing problem.
Zimmerman’s other comments concerned the speed limits coming in and out of Lakeside along the highway. “Speed has increased coming in and out of Lakeside,” said Zimmerman. He added that the hill leading out of town by Lakeside Lodges & Suites has become a ski hill for vehicles. “Their afterburners are on. It’s irritating and dangerous.”
Coming into town at Lakeside the speed limit is 35 mph, but according to Zimmerman, the sign is too close to the residential area. “Is there anyone addressing this situation,” he asked? Mayor Goedde said the City should move the Speed Limit sign farther out and he would look into that. John Olson commented that cars are not slowing down.
Zimmerman remarked that he appreciates all the city has done. “I commend you for that.”
Paul Rodgers, a Chelan Hills resident, remarked about the July 12 flooding issues from the three storms that passed through. Councilman Servando Robledo asked what is being done about the flooding issue. He has been getting calls and asked, “What should I tell them? What has been done?”
City Administrator Wade Ferris replied that the flooding issue is complicated. Tim Hollingsworth remarked that council members shouldn’t get into a dialogue with residents over the issue and should refer them to staff.
Council approved a Supplemental Engineering Agreement with J-U-B Engineers, Inc. for the Lake Chelan Airport Runway and Taxiway Relocation Environmental Assessment.
Council also approved Steven Thornton’s Retirement Agreement with the City. Ferris told the Council that Steve would be transitioning out towards the end of the year. The city is seeking his replacement and Ferris will bring a contract to the next meeting to begin the search process for Thornton’s replacement.
Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the Contract and Contract addendum with Mason Roofing and Construction for reparis to the roof over the Chelan County Sheriff’s section of City Hall. This contract is for $37,687.00.
Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the Final Plat of Legacy Ridge Phase 3.
Council authorized the Mayor to execute Changer Order #2 for the Public Works Administration Building Project.
John Olson remarked that Council would be making a decision at the August 28 Council meeting regarding the Apple Blossom Center zoning change to residential. “I’m getting a ton of questions,” said Olson. “I would like to see maps of the changes made public if possible. There is not enough information getting out and I’m getting to a point where I’m uncomfortable.”
Chris Baker asked about the required Legacy Ridge intersection at Hwy 150. “I’m curious if there will be a cross walk for residents to get to the marina,” he said.
Tim Hollingsworth brought up the issue of kids jumping from the old bridge and, what he termed as lawlessness in town. “We used to have our own police department. The town has changed and I’m thinking about our relationship with law enforcement.”
He questioned the City’s priorities for the Sheriff’s Department including the Marine Patrol. “They say they can’t do this and they can’t do that.” He added that hotrods were muscling around town at will. “I hear comment after comment. There needs to be a presence. We need to stress what is important to us to the Sheriff.”
Hollingsworth also mentioned Chelan Hills and said he had been thinking about it being a development that was substandard and accepted by the City. “What is the City’s responsibility here,” he asked. “We need to come up with a solution.” (Editor’s note: In the 90s, residents in Chelan Hills were given an opportunity to have a Local Improvement District – LID – but turned that effort to upgrade the community down.)
Hollingsworth said he was glad that Steve Thornton was retiring to go on an enjoy life. Thornton, the City’s Finance Director, underwent heart surgery recently and is recovering well.
Mayor Goedde remarked that he has been a resident in Chelan for 70 some years and that Chelan is a lot less lawless now than it was in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. “Society changes and I have all the faith in the world about the Sheriff’s Department. They do a wonderful job,” stated Goedde who added, “The City of Chelan Police Department had more problems, especially in its last two year, than the Sheriff’s Department.”
Parks Director Paul Horne thanked Tim Hollingsworth’s surveying job at the Park Street street ending. “We now have a topographic map of the area.”
Lewis Gonzalez, the City’s interim community director, reported to the Council, the city’s efforts at licensing STRs. “In 2020 it took off,” said Gonzalez. “There were more than we thought. We have issued 433 licenses.” In 2020, 290 licenses were issued, another 84 in 2021 and another 59 so far this year.
“There are 368 active licenses out there. We are trying to be more proactive with this,” he said. “We are trying to keep a really good handle on the program,” Gonzalez added that the City has been receiving good feedback from the owners and tenants. “They are liking what we are doing so far.”
Peri Gallucci reported that the City was hoping to have its new website up by January, but it is looking at March or April now. “We are having in-house meetings and I’m asking for ideas on what you would like to see on the website,” she said.
Wade Ferris finished the meeting off thanking the staff for all their hard work during the busy summer months. “If you need to see me, step into my office.”
The Council went into an executive session to discuss matters of potential litigation with no action taken.
Council meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
Funding… non-profits are always looking for funding options and were in force at last Tuesday’s, August 2 City Workshop where staff and council discussed options on how to spend the Government’s $1,183,905.00 Coronovirus Fiscal Recovery Funds that are available.
City Administrator stated that the drawback to these funds is that it is Federal money that requires certain criteria and requirements recipients have to follow.
City staff was seeking guidance whether Pandemic relief fund could be used for funding City projects.
Three non-profits were also on hand to make requests for some of this funding.
Chelan Housing Trust
Rachael Goldie, executive director of the Chelan Valley Housing Trust, requested that the Council consider giving the Trust $750,000 to get water and sewer to the 9.5 acres of land they own off Anderson Road. The plan is to build 39 affordable homes for those in the mid-income levels. They also plan on selling several lots at market rates. The Trust’s total budget for this project is $23 million dollars including the installation of sewer and water lines. “It would help us further subsidize and put a lot of energy into the community,” said Goldie.
Councilmember John Olson asked if there was an opportunity for the $750,000 to be used as a revolving fund that would be paid back to the City. Goldie replied, “I wouldn’t say No right away. I don’t know how that would work.”
Tim Hollingsworth, a councilman and Trust board member remarked that he didn’t know how a late comers agreement would work with other developments.
Erin McCardle remarked that any infrastructure would be public. Hollingsworth replied that the Trust could pay a portion of the infrastructure costs.
Chelan Food Bank/Hope
Jim Baldor requested that the City consider a grant of $200,000 for development of plans including engineering, architectural consultation and drawings, permits and other soft costs towards building a second floor on their existing structure.
“Our biggest need is more space,” said Baldor. “We’ve been operating for 40 years without a home… we would like to have one.” The Food Bank is feeding between 157 and 200 people each week. “Our numbers continue to go up.” The Food Bank currently has no room for a freezer or storage. “We’ve had to turndown food,” he said.
The estimated costs of building a second floor to the current building is $2 million. Hollingsworth asked if they were applying for grants and conducting fund raisers? Olson asked what the square footage was. Baldor answered 2,926 sq. feet, and that the basement was unusable. “We have plans to make the basement usable and would end up with three floors.” Chelan Valley Hope would occupy the second floor. Olson said he would like to see some documentation between the Food Bank and Chelan Valley Hope.
Maribel Cruz, Seven Acres Foundation, requested the Council consider a $100,000 influx to fund and build an indoor play area at the Community Center that would be “free and open to the public.” The play area would be at the entrance and visible from the coffee shop.
Councilman Chris Baker asked if they had received a $3.5 million dollar gift. Cruz looked over at Raye Evans, executive director of the Seven Acres Foundaton, who nodded in the affirmative. Cruz then told the council that they had indeed received a $3.5 million dollar gift from one of their donors which is allowing the construction to continue. “Our contractor is committed to proceed,” she said.
Mayor Bob Goedde ponders the issue of giving non-profits funding when the City itself is in need of funding for a variety of projects on the books.
In addition to Federal Pandemic money, the City is considering obtaining a $2.5 million dollar loan to supplement projects on the books that includes:
The Parks Maintenance Building… This project came in with a bid of $2.8 million which was rejected. The City will re-bid the project in the future in hopes that it will be lower. Parks Director Paul Horne stated that he could reduce the costs of construction by about a half million by cutting out proposed parking spaces and the possibility of cutting the public restrooms.
Hollingsworth stated that the restrooms were a big part of the infrastructure. Sheri Dietrict replied that it was all a level of importance to the park. Mayor Goedde reminded the Council that they had turned down a bid of $600,000. Councilman Servando Robledo stated that waiting might cost more than the estimated $2.5 million.
Lakeside Trail Project… The Lakeside Trail Grant will be awarded or not by the State through a competitive process. At some point, the City will need to commit to grant match funding to remain competitive in the process. This is similar to the recently awarded Lakeside Park Improvements grant. Public Works Director Jake Youngren said it was a large ask. “It’s a significant amount of money.”
Airport Waterline Extension… the Airport Waterline Extension cost share amount is contingent upon contributions from the Port District and County (still under discussion), as well as the State grant which has been awarded.
In addition to these projects, the City is looking at building a new Skate Park, renovating the Golf Course and replacing the HVAC system at the Library.
Heritage Heights (HH) is requesting financial support to fund the facilities remodel and conversion project. They were awarded $1 million from the Washington State Department of Commerce through a behavioral health facilities grant to remodel and convert 11 of their 30 assisted living units to memory care. Chelan County Commissioners awarded HH $250,000 through SHB 1406 and HH is asking the City to commit $50,000 from the same funding source.
With all of that being said, if the consensus of City Council is that the projects are all in the best interest of the City, staff will need to incorporate the Financial aspects into development of the 2023-2026 CIP and 2023 Budget.
The funding requests will become a part of the City’s 2023 budget and won’t be announced until the budget is finalized.