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.
The Chelan Valley Housing Trust is under new leadership. Scott Meyers has taken over the executive director role from outgoing Rachael Goldie.
Meyers and his wife, Stacy, returned to Valley after three years in Arizona. Meyers and Stacy were the owners of the Lake Chelan Cheese Company which was sold to Lake Chelan Winery.
“We looked all over the country for an area with water and agriculture that was sustainable.” The Meyer’s return to Chelan was not a hard decision, but once here Scott realized he had to become involved in something. “We could barely afford to come back,” he said.
Meyers, who has a degree in business from PLU and an accounting degree from the University of Washington, is a perfect fit to lead the Housing Trust into the future. “I’ve bounced around working with developers and in the medical field,” said Myers
Meyers saw that the Housing Trust was seeking a new director and applied. “I felt that my perspective and education fit the needs of the organization.” The Housing Trust’s board felt the same way and hired Meyers to move the organization forward.
Currently, the Chelan Housing Trust has several upcoming projects which will be available to potential buyers this Fall.
Six more townhouses will be built on Emerson Street and two solo homes on Iowa Street that will sell for $300,000 to $350,000.
The Anderson Road Project (Chelan River Heights) is currently going through planning for infrastructure with a possible easement from Miller Street. Chelan Fruit wants Anderson Road left alone because of business disruptions.
Chelan River Heights will eventually be a mixed income community on 9.15 acres with 40 homes, seven of which will be market rate homes. The profits from these will help subsidize the remainder of the project.
“We are currently Chelan centric,” said Meyers. “The Housing Trust is looking to get more going in Manson. We want to be more diverse and have Hispanic involvement.”
“With our program, a buyer will pay around $1,200 per month plus a $100 monthly maintenance fee. You don’t lose,” said Meyers. “It’s easy to buy and when potential buyers get a real look at what’s possible they’re more willing to buy into the program.”
Chelan Valley Housing Trust is always seeking volunteers, donations and gift property. The office is located on Johnson Avenue in the KOZI building. They can be reached by telephone – 509-508-1183 or through its website at http://www.chelanvalleyhousing.org.
The City of Chelan City Council approved a False Fire Alarm ordinance at its Tuesday, March 28 meeting after seeing a presentation by Chelan Fire & Rescue’s Chief Brandon Asher on the district’s long term strategy.
One of the issues Chelan Fire has been dealing with are false alarms with one business being the major culprit.
“I think this ordinance will help us out and enable property owners to maintain their property,” said Chelan Building official Luis Rodriquez. The ordinance is in place to promote functioning and compliant alarm systems and discourage repeated violations.
For every false alarm that Chelan Fire responds too, the department will issue a warning notice with a copy provided to the City’s Building Department’s Fire Officer for record keeping.
Councilman Peter Jamtgaard complained that the fees associated with the ordinance are too small. The fee structure calls for a $100, $250 and $500 fines from the first through third violation.
Jamtgaard said, “How much does it cost for a (fire) truck and crew to go out. I think it is substantially more than the fines in the ordinance.”
Rodriquez stated that the City Council can change the amounts of they want and said, “I don’t know how much it costs for a truck and crew.” The fee schedule was derived from research of other districts and communities. “There were some fees that were really high.”
Councilman Tim Hollingsworth asked, “How many individuals have had false alarms.” Rodriquez said there had been up to 38 calls. Hollingsworth said, “Hopefully people will get the message.”
The Council approved the amendment to the Rate & Fee resolution. Jamtgaard reiterated his concern. “I don’t think the numbers are anywhere near the costs.”
Chelan Records Project:
Council approved a $11,913 contract with Cities Digital for 55 hours of consulting services for “
Main Zone Capacity Improvement Project:
Pipkin Construction bid $755,535.21 on the above project. The City’s estimate was $900,000. Public Works Director Jake Youngren said all bidders were within 10% of each other. “It is a nice change in (bidding) trends we’ve been seeing,” said Youngren.
The $300,000 in savings will be used as contingency funding for the project.
The project includes the Darnell’s Booster Pump Station Improvements Project and the Main Zone (water/sewer) Capacity Project. The Booster Pump Station Improvements are slated to take place this summer/fall.
DonMorsePark satellite food concession:
Park’s Director Paul Horne stated that after the first year Mack Restaurants (Lakeview Drivein) operated its satellite concession to deliver food and drink to park visitors he requested that the Council extend that agreement. “I was really impressed with their performance last year,” said Horne. “It’s a tough place to do a concession and transport foot to that outpost.”
Amy Mack, operator of the Lakeview concession was able to put an electric bike to transport food back and forth with great success. Hollingsworth stated he had heard good things about the satellite concession.
Council approved the concession request.
Golf Course Clubhouse painting:
City Council approved a bid to prepare and then paint the Lake Chelan Golf Course Clubhouse to JMC Painting of Manson for $14,458.14. The Parks Department received four bids on this project. “This is the first paint job in a decade,” said Horne. “It will be a much needed improvement to the clubhouse.”
Council also approved a HVAC improvement at the Clubhouse to Cascade Mechanical for $21,904.38. Over the last two summers, the current HVAC system was unable to keep the clubhouse cool during high heat days.
The Chelan/Douglas County Transportation Council is calling for project proposals from the area’s agencies and organizations.
Youngren stated that Public Works will request $800,000 for the Sanders Street Crosswalk Project. He told Councilmembers that there was a 13% match requirement.
Councilman John Olson asked if the City is requiring or making improvements to No-See-Um Road now that the Highland project was approved by the Hearings Examiner. John Ajax replied that improvements are in the works.
Councilman Chris Baker remarked that there were 10 sites with offensive graffiti and wondered if the City and PUD were aware of, and taking care of this. “I don’t know what the solution is but the longer it is left, the worse it gets. It is a real problem and a horrible look for visitors.”
Wade Farris asked Sgt. Huddleston if it was a gang or a bunch of wannabees doing the graffiti? Huddleston replied it was wannabees because, as far as he knew, there were no actual gangs in the area. “We don’t have a huge problem (with gangs),” said Huddleston.
The City is moving forward with removal of graffiti on City property.
Mayor Goedde said there are discussions regarding boundary changes at the old City ballfields which might be increased. In addition the PUD is determing what can be installed on their property in South Chelan which might end up being a park or soccer field for AAU players.
Goedde also mentioned the potential installation of an electric car charging station at the Intersection of Emerson and Trow. “Tesla is now offering an adapter so cars other than Tesla’s can use their charging stations.
Jackie Tupling said she has sent out letters to City customers regarding monthly on-line payments with debit cards.
City Administrator Wade Farris said the Representative Michael Steele will put the City in for the $1 million dollars the City is shy of for the water system to the airport, and that the City can move forward with the construction this year. Steele will be putting the $1 million dollars into next year’s budget.
The City’s next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 11 beginning at 6 p.m. Residents and visitors are invited to attend.
The first annual Beach Cleanup in the Wapato Basin was a huge success. The 35 students from the Chelan Project and the estimated 30+ adult residents who turned out to pick up garbage on the beaches from Lakeside Park to the Lookout Marina and from the east side of Wapato Point toward the Mill Bay launch. Also a crew picked up garbage from the east side of Rocky Point and the CVE Marina to the first Chelan Hills dock.
At the rendezvous point in Lake Chelan Marina, both Phil Long – Lake Chelan Research Institute and Maleigha Peterson – Chelan Project leader both instructed the participants on where and what they would be doing.
Long introduced other leaders like Lisa Dowling from Chelan County Resources and the Keep It Blue program (keepitbluelakechelan.org) and encouraged people to call him at the Research Institute with questions or interest in volunteering (509-531-2987).
He and Peterson told participants to not only pick up trash, but if they find any invasive aquatic weed fragments to pick them up also to help stop the spread of invasive milfoil and pond weed.
Campbell’s Lodge opened its doors to participants after the event and served hot chocolate. “They opened up a ballroom for us,” said Long. “It was filled with a third students and adult volunteers after the clean-up.” The City of Chelan and the Planning Association of Washington also participated. Unfortunately, Pilgrim Lake Services was unable to help due to a conflict.
Long said that Clayton Watkins is building a database so people can sign-up and select what parts of the beach they want to cover at next year’s Restore the Beach event.
Speed kills! That is a major concern of residents and downtown businesses adjacent to Manson Blvd from Lake Chelan Building Supply through the downtown corridor and up to the intersection of Manson Blvd. and Boetske Avenue.
The topic of vehicles speeding through that corridor at speeds above the posted 25 miles per hour speed limit has elevated the topic for the Manson Community Council seeking solutions to slow traffic down on this highly used section of road.
The Council requested that Chelan County Commissioner Tiffany Gearing, Eric Pierson – County Public Works Engineer and County law enforcement representatives attend the Council meeting on Tuesday, March 21 to discuss the speeding issue.
There have been several accidents and one person killed during a hit-and-run. “There is a lot of pedestrian traffic and we need to see if we can work something out,” said one resident.
Engineer Eric Pierson stated that there were a lot of things to look at. He suggested what he called a “pie in the Eye” solution of making Boetske and Manson Blvd. into one way corridors. Commissioner Gearing suggested narrowing the corridor down to help slow traffic.
The most productive ideas were education and law enforcement of the speed limits, however, the Chief of Patrol Buhler said that while tickets have already been written, the Sheriff’s department can’t be there full time. “Regardless of speed signs, people drive at what they feel comfortable at,” he said.
Soft Speed Bumps came up as a solution but Pierson said snow plowing, water runoff and bicycles and motorcycles might have problems. Mayor Goedde stated that they can also be a liability.
Councilman Chris Willoughby asked about flashing speed signs.
Gearing suggested increased law enforcement presence. “The new Sheriff has increased patrols and that pressure has definitely helped,” said Gearing. She added that she made a whole list and will meet with Pierson to discuss solutions and to try and fund it. She told the Council that she would get back to them the following week.
On Saturday, March 25, there will be a beach cleanup from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. beginning at Lake ChelanMarina. Anyone interested in keeping our lake bottom clean of garbage and milfoil are invited to join the students from April Slagle’s Chelan Project to help in this endeavor.
SEE YOU ALL THERE
During the Mayor/Council comments at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Councilwoman Erin McCardle came out with a strong rebuttal to Councilman John Olson’s recent comments regarding what he feels is a Conflict of Interest between Michael Steele’s executive directorship of the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce and his role as the Republican ranking member on the State Legislature’s Finance Committee. According to McCardle, Steele is the ranking member on the State’s Capital Budget committee.
Olson had stated that visitors to Chelan contribute to Chelan’s aging infrastructure and public services, and asked if it was reasonable to pass on those costs to local residents.
McCardle pointed out different ways visitors contribute to replacement of the City’s infrastructure including the 2% Lodging tax which can and is used for capital projects like the upgrades at the Golf Course and RV Park
She mentioned Sales Tax, of which she claims 50 to 60% is generated through tourism dollars. She remarked that Real Estate taxes from new homeowners also contribute to funding many capital projects such as the acquisition of the Library Building, the Parks Building currently under construction, matching funds for the Lakeside Trail grant and Chelan Airport waterline funding.
Property taxes from second home owners also provide revenue allocated to street upgrades and Utility charges generated by second home owners who pay utility fees for the entire year.
McCardle also said she recognizes the need to find a balance between visitors and residents. “It is our job as councilmembers to be stewards across the board.”
There has been discussions within the State on the diversification of lodging tax dollars usage. McCardle stated that Olson’s comment that Steele’s two positions were in conflict was irresponsible and potentially damaging to the City’s relationship with Steele.
“Please recognize that we have a long list of infrastructure needs and he (Steele) is our key to securing state funding for these projects,” said McCardle.
She brought up that Representative Steele has helped procure over $11 million in funding for specific projects and is working on $16 million in funding for 2023.
No one is denying that Representative Michael Steele has done a great job, not only in increasing tourism in Chelan, but bringing in State money for specific projects. It is appreciated.
John Olson and Erin McCardle have differing opinions on the subject of tourism and that is one of the things that makes our City Council vibrant and engaged. No one wants a Council that agrees on every issue.
Olson’s contention and many in the community feel that Chelan has more tourists and visitors than it can reasonably serve well. McCardle’s contention is that more tourism is needed for the revenues it drives.
Since both of them have indicated that they will be running for Mayor against Mayor Bob Goedde, the upcoming 2024 local election season will be quite interesting.
Tim Hollingsworth brought up the possibility of raising the pay for Mayor Goedde four years ago and felt it is a good time to re-address this issue. “I believe this is somewhat in line,” said Hollingsworth. He would like to see a 20% raise for the mayor. “Mayor Goedde puts in a lot of time and it is important to recognize the work that goes into being there,” added Hollingsworth. He would like the rest of the council members to consider the pay raise.
John Olson noted the donation of the Boat Cleaning Station that will be located at the marina. He brought up rough estimates of damage if either Zebra or Gardia mussels were ever allowed to become established in the watershed. “It would cost each dam at least a million dollars a year in maintenance,” he said.
Mayor Goedde said he met with the Chelan County Commissioners and the Boyd Road property is off the board, but that the County offered the City the 20 acres above the Beebe Springs Trailhead on Hwy 150. This property was obtained by the County from the Wa. St. Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Jake Youngren stated that Public Works was contracting with Cascadia for another brush cleanup this spring.
Paul Horne said the late, cold spring weather has delayed the opening of the Golf Course. He also said the Albatross owners are working on building upgrades at the Golf Course.
Wade Farras added that Julie Pittsinger, owner of the Albatross Restuarant is in the process of having the bathrooms and downstairs area remodeled to make it more user friendly.
Self Contained Boat Cleaning Station donated:
Paul Horne, parks director, reported to the Council that Wildlife Forever has donated free of charge a Self Contained Boat Cleaning Station that will be located at the Lake Chelan Marina.
“I worked with Lisa Dowling at Chelan County Natural Resources Department on this acquisition,” said Horne. “There is no match requirement for the donation and no strings attached to the unit,” he added.
There will be periodic maintenance costs associated with the unit from cleaning and/or repairing or replacing components as necessary.
There is an optional lease for software to track usage of the unit and to indicate when the tanks are 80% full. This fee is included for the first year with no obligation to continue the software’s use after that despite the importance of continuing that service.
City Council meets in regular session every second and fourth Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. Residents and others are encouraged to attend.
Last week’s Watershed Planning Unit meeting had some good news, challenging new and potentially bad news.
The bad news is the potential re-introduction of Bull Trout into the Lake Chelan tributary system. Bull trout have been extinct in the lake since sometimes in the fifties. No one knows what killed off the species that were the backbone of a thriving commercial fishery on the lake.
The decision will probably not be made until next year.
Resident Russ Jones remarked that one possibility of the trout’s disappearance was the introduction of a virus from a hatchery planting of Chinook salmon. “Has anyone even looked to see if a virus is still present in the lake,” he asked.
Phil Long – Lake Chelan Research Institute, told the researchers that they should talk to local fishing guide Joe Heinlen. Heinlen is a local expert on fish and its history on Lake Chelan.
Joe Benjamin -U.S. Geological Survey, is the primary investigator in the potential re-introduction of Bull trout to Lake Chelan tributaries. The project is being funded by the National Park Service and the National Resources Preservation Program. “This should be transparent and affected by decisions,” said Benjamin. “We are looking at how species fit together.”
Mike Kaputa -Chelan County Natural Resources director, said, “There is a lot of interest in this. We all want an open and transparent process.”
Long added that Heinlen has strong opinions about fisheries on the lake. “He makes his living fishing on the lake,” Long. Heinlen has been vocal about Bull trout in the past and has said that any introduction of the species in the Lake Chelan Valley’s tributaries would ruin current recreational fishing in those streams. He also worries about potential migration to the lake.
“There are a lot of unknowns,” said Benjamin. Kaputa remarked that the proposed Grizzly bear reintroduction has a lot of opposition. Bull trout are an endangered species and Kaputa said, “There would be a lot of regulations regarding their introduction and a lot of concern about it.”
Kaputa went on and asked Benjamin to describe what the future program would look like. Benjamin replied that the question is whether they want to reintroduce Bull trout or not.
Benjamin stated that they are looking at impacts on other fish populations. “It is a three year project and we are pretty close to finalizing where to put Bull trout. The final results will be available next year,” he said. He also remarked that that impacts on landowners are also being considered regarding adding a predator to the system.
Other watershed news of note:
Department of Ecology’s Candis Graff announced her retirement from Ecology May 25. Graff has been at the forefront of water permitting and the new program to process them efficiently. She was not sure who would be replacing her.
Chelan County Resources director Mike Kaputa said the new water code was going very smoothly and that they are close to finishing a grant on water banking. “It will give us more tools to move water around,” said Kaputa. “We are continuing to explore how to provide water across the county.”
Phil Long, director of the Lake Chelan Research Institute brought up the subject of River Otters in the Lake Chelan Watershed. “They seem to be everywhere in the lake,” he said. The otters food chain includes freshwater mussels (maybe Asian clams), fish, crayfish, amphibians, aquatic beetles, birds, bird eggs, fish eggs and small mammals.
The Institute began water sampling this week for phosphorus and chlorophyll In addition the Institute will be taking near shore surface water temperatures.
The Institute is conducting a “goose poop” study with $600 that has been donated for that purpose from Campbell’s, the Lookout and Lakeside Lodge and Suites. Goose poop is not only a messy onshore situation, but is thought to be one of the main contributors to algae growth along the lake shore along with phosphorus loading from lawn fertilizers.
Long mentioned the Woodin Avenue stormwater drain which needs to be filtered to keep stormwater runoff from entering the Chelan River just west of Chelan’s water intake.
The sand barrier on the west side of the Three Fingers is also of concern. Geese and ducks are using the area and polluting the trapped water with leavings. The question is whether or not to mitigate the issue by modifying it or removing the spit altogether.
Another issue on the Lake is personal watercraft wakes that are creating erosion of the shoreline. According to Long this issue needs to be monitored.
Kaputa mentioned the DDT project in Lake Chelan and said the EPA is looking at a bigger picture with a Columbia River Restoration Working Group. The group is collecting data on toxins such as DDT and PCBs. “They are sampling 440 miles up river,” said Kaputa. “They are finding toxin levels 10 times lower than downstream.”
Lake Chelan has a DDT issue also and studies will be conducted on Stinky Creek at Harmony Meadows. DDT seems to be coming out of orchard drains.
Lisa Dowling reported that water craft inspections will be taking place from May to October. “We are in the process of recruiting four AIS watercraft inspectors,” said Dowling. The program will rotate mobile trailers between high use marinas. Neighborhood inspections will also be offered for local boaters.
Dowling also stated that the City of Chelan is getting a waterless wash station at its Lakeshore Marina. “The county will help the marina where it is situated. It is a top of the line unit and will be free of operational expenses for its first year of operation.”
On Saturday, March 25 there will be a beach cleanup starting at Chelan’s Lakeshore Marina from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The effort will include weeding aquatic invasive species for removal from the lake bottom.
The removal of Woody Debris will be studied and the County will be looking at sites for removal.
Wednesday, March 8 Chelan Fire & Rescue long range strategy meeting:
Chief Brandon Asher invited Chelan Community Development John Ajax and Chelan County Interim Community Development Director and Assessor Deanna Walter to address the Department’s staff and commissioners regarding the future of growth in the District’s area of operation.
Asher opened the meeting by stating that that there is a lot of growth happening within the District boundaries. “I reached out to the City and County to gain any nugget we can use regarding development,” said Asher.
“The challenge I’ve had is getting accurate population numbers. I get varied answers from a number of people.”
In 2022 Chelan Fire and Rescue responded to 54 fires, 771 EMS calls and 11 hazardous waste situations. “This year has been very busy for us,” said Asher who estimates a six percent increase in callouts.
Chelan Community Development Director John Ajax and Chelan Building Official Luis Rodrequez presented Chelan’s development history over the past three years and a general look into the future.
Ajax stated that within the past three years Chelan has seen incredible growth. “2022 was a record year,” said Ajax. “Between 2020 and 2021 we approved 150 home pemits. Most are moving into the rural areas.” Ajax added that development has slowed down due to higher interest rates.
Rodriquez stated that most of the applications are for residential buildings with some commercial thrown in. “We see a lot going on with single family buildings.” There are currently 300 lots not including multi-family applications.
With the approval for 720 units at Apple Blossom Center, Rodriquez doesn’t know if that is a reality. He said 280 apartment units will be built, but the developer has a 25 year build out.
The major concern in the valley is water. Rodriquez mentioned the upcoming TIF (Tax Increment Financing TIF is a powerful financing tool used to fund economic development and investment in infrastructure. • Principal behind TIF is based on “capturing” future increased tax dollars that are generated due to the development} Public Outreach meeting that will be coming up in the near future.
Most of the residential sales have been for second homes and Ajaz stated that Chelan is the second fastest growing community in Chelan County behind Leavenworth.
Chairman Phil Moller asked for a summary. Rodrequez said that there are 18 permits out not including applications. “There is still a lot of activity,” he said. This includes some commercial multi-family mixed use units that would include retail.
Moller asked for a five year view and Ajax stated that most developers had no plans to immediately turn around and start building. He mentioned Campbell’s Highland Farms 27 lots and Wagner’s Apartment development. “They are not looking to build anytime soon,” said Ajax. He also mentioned that affordable housing is a big subject now.
Ajax mentioned Chelan Butte which is under contract with a developer for the next two years. “They have asked for a boundary line adjustment,” said Ajax. ‘We haven’t seen a development proposal yet.”
Commissioner Russ Jones asked where the water project to the airport was and Ajax replied that the City is waiting on the legislature who will hopefully fund the final $1 million needed to construct.
Ajax also said that the Bluewater Terrace proposed project doesn’t have water and is asking to drill a well. “They would have to provide fire flow,” said Ajax. Bluewater Terrace development is currently under review by the City and has requested a permit to build 20 Short Term Rental duplex units under a Conditional Use Permit.
Ajax stated that Chelan and the County are waiting on official population numbers from the State. He said he would inform the Fire Department when he had more accurate numbers.
Chelan County Assessor Dianna Walters said that the County does not have any big developments currently. “We have nothing on the books,” she stated. “The Wenatchee UGA has one project. Home prices have impacted people,” she added. With lots priced between $400,000 and $500,000 people are reluctant to buy. The County’s highest year for building permits was in 2021 with 1,000 permits approved. Another 900 were approved in 2022.
“If I had a crystal ball… which I don’t, I’m seeing a reduction in material prices and interest rates up.” She expects to see more additions, remodels and ADU’s being applied for. “I anticipate building permits to go down.”
“We see people putting on brakes and asking what do we do with a 6,000 sq. ft. house.” She also remarked about the Mission Ridge expansion project. “There will be years before that sees fruition. It’s a huge project.”
Jones brought up Manson as having more buildable ground than anywhere else in the valley. Walter’s said that Manson has a large Urban Growth Area and that there are several small development outside of the UGA.
She mentioned the difficulties farmers are having making a living on 10 acres of land. “I don’t know how the County is going to deal with it.”
She put on her Assessor’s hat and told the commission and staff that in the first three quarters of 2022 assessed values were going up, but have now flattened out. “The market is flattening out.”
“We will never see the market back where it was in the last 10 years,” said Walters.
Walters put on her assessors hat and told the commissioners that their $1.10 permanent LID Lift in 2021 will see the 2022 level collecting $1.10. “Just because your levy rate goes down, your dollar amount doesn’t,” she said. “In one year, the permanent LID Lift values went up so high that the rate went down. You only have to worry when you get to the statutory $1.50.” She remarked that Chelan Fire and Rescue is in a good financial position.
Chief Asher started the long term strategic discussion by saying it was time to have a discussion on John Goyne’s retirement which is scheduled to begin on November 1 of 2023. “We need to keep that on the radar and find potential candidates for the position,” said Asher. Asher also stated that whom ever becomes the new mechanic would need to be a firefighter also.
Jones stated that the District needs to better understand where the growth is. He mentioned the Apple Blossom project as an example. “What can we do to prepare for that?”
Asher replied that the ABC area can be covered by Station 71 with backup. He mentioned the new station being built by Douglas County that would overlap the District’s five mile radius. “I’m more concerned with multiple calls,” said Asher.
Jones added that there is a marked growth in the Manson area, and Asher said he could see something going on in that direction. He mentioned Chief Baker approaching retirement age and said Chelan Fire is District 5’s backup.
Asher said that the new Douglas County Firehall across the river would allow the department to close down the Chelan Falls station. Moller said he is reluctant to close Chelan Falls because he sees growth continuing in that area.
Union Valley was also mentioned as a major growth area. “People keep moving deeper and deeper into Union Valley,” said Asher. Union Valley has the most active volunteer group of all the stations.
Assistant Chief Shaun Sherman remarked that the department needs to establish how it is going to continue using the current building. “We don’t have the storage space for gear lockers. We are out growing the space we have,” said Sherman.
He suggested putting up some out buildings for storage and training exercises.
Moller replied that there are a thousand “if’s”. “Where does the money keep coming from,” he asked.
Asher said that the volunteer numbers are down, but that the quality is up. “We are going to lose some of them to career positions this year,” stated Asher.
Sherman stated that he wants to increase the value of his training regime this year. “We have good applications and interviews are coming up.”
Asher said, “We need to get creative with staffing.” The department has four seasonal applications in but is only budgeted for three. Commissioner Oules asked what it would take to budget for the fourth seasonal?
The rest of the strategic meeting went through the department’s apparatus and station situations.
The Department’s beginning balance (carryover from 2022) was $747555.99.
Tax Revenue is projected at $3,485,762.44 and other revenue from grants and other sources is projected at $197,798.44. Transfers in will amount to $250,000.
After transfers out and expenses, the department is projected to end the 2023 year with a carryover balance of $,553,389.25.
March 7, 2023 – Public Hearing – Campbell’s Highland Subdivision:
So far, it’s been a busy meeting week. It all began with a Public Hearing on Campbell’s application for its 42.3 acre development of 27 homesites adjacent to the Chelan Golf Course.
Chelan County Hearing Examiner Andrew Kottkamp presided over the hearing which didn’t last over 40 minutes.
No one from the public spoke at the meeting, so Kottkamp will rely on Chelan Planning Department’s recommendation for approval and the written comments from individuals for or against and agencies.
“I will make my decision within 10 working days,” said Kottkamp who also stated that it would be final. Anyone who wishes to appeal the decision will have 21 days from the final decision.
Charlie Underwood, Campbell’s representative told Kottkamp that he had reviewed the Staff Report and conditions of approval for the 27 lots. “We went over quite a few issues with Planning and Public Works,” said Underwood. He thanked both departments for their efforts.
The applicant, when they develop the subdivision, will be required to provide pedestrian connectivity from their development all the way to the Hwy-150 roundabout.
It was also noted that a new winery associated with the development, but under different owners is undergoing commercial review at this time.
There are no current plans by the Campbell’s to begin construction immediately.
March 7, 2023 City Council Workshop:
There were three topics on the City’s Tuesday workshop agenda; a City Website update, a Public Works GIS/GPS/Assest Management report, and a Scoping report on the HDCA downtown revitalization project by Consultant Tom Beckwith and his associates.
City Clerk Peri Gallucci told the Council and staff that she and Deputy Clerk Cali Taylor had spent hundreds of hours to get the City’s new public friendly website ready to launch. “We may need some more changes, but it has been a lot of work and a lot of fun,” said Gallucci. “It will be very helpful for our citizens.”
Couch took the workshop through the draft website. “There are six widgets (buttons) to take visitors to their desired area within the City,” she said.
Councilman Peter Jamtgaard asked how will people know what’s down the page, and complained that citizens might not drag down to find a calendar. He felt the calendar should be front and center, but City Administrator Wade Farris replied that the Peri and Cailey had worked really hard on the website. “This is pretty simple,” he stated. “I don’t know how much simpler it can be. The one’s I have looked at have been pretty similar. My hat’s off to the staff.”
Gallucci added that during the development process they had looked at hundreds of websites and stated that the new website’s help citizens find what they are looking for within the City government. She also said that the City Code functionality might be a couple of month’s down the road.
Asset Management program:
Public Works Director Jake Youngren, Engineering Technician Jackson Engstrom and Engineer Travis Denham gave a presentation on the ongoing efforts to transfer all of the Public Works records in a digital form that can be accessed by staff, whether in the field or office.
“This has happened over the last 24 months,” said Youngren. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Engstrom described how the department is utilizing different satellites do develop the City’s digital GIS Map. The satellites being used include American, European and Japanese units.
Each of the Public Works foremen have I-Pads so they can access data on-site. “This data is also accessible on cell phones,” stated Engstrom. Youngren used a three day search for a buried manhole as an example of that will be corrected by utilizing GIS latitude/longitude information to locate services. “That’s just a glimpse of what we are doing.”
The Asset Management program also follows labor, equipment and materials. Deham described how the GIS system is used to locate valves and pipes in the system.
Youngren finished the presentation by telling those present. “We love this stuff.”
Boyd Road Property:
Mayor Bob Goedde said Chelan County has two parcels they want to get rid of. One of those parcels is an old five acre gravel pit that has been offered to Chelan for $115,000.
Goedde said the County wants the total amount paid up front and requires that Chelan put affordable housing on that five acres within the next five years. If that doesn’t happen, the property reverts back to the County, but $115,000 is lost to the City.
Godde stated that the City is extremely disappointed in the County’s demands. Wade Ferris said the City will pull the plug on the deal and let the County put the property up for auction. “We don’t want to slam the door but are not excited,” said Goedde. He also said he’s not all that thrilled with the Chelan Housing Trust. Ferris said there could be an opportunity to partner with the Wenatchee Housing Authority to build affordable apartments on the property.
Historic Downtown Chelan Association revitalization:
Tom Beckwith – Beckwith Consulting, and three of his associates were on hand to give the City an overview of the scoping exercise they will be conducting for the HDCA’s Downtown Revitalization Project.
Beckwith told the Council that its work will take 18 to 21 months to develop its scoping documents that will include open houses for the public to weigh in on the project, estimated costs, financing options and complete bid documents.
Beckwith said staff would be working with businesses and property owners. “We can hopefully anticipate what the future is bringing,” said Beckwith. “There will be an older population, more electric cars, scooters and bikes.” Beckwith wants the exercise to develop not only what works now, but also to anticipate future needs.
One of the more contensious issues has been the proposal to expand (widen) downtown sidewalks. These are issues Beckwith will be dealing with as they go through the exercise.
Beckwith told the Council and staff that if they had any questions to contact Aimee Sheridan -executive director, of the HDCA. She can be reached at 509-682-4322 or by email at email@example.com.
Sheriff Morrison introduction: Chelan County Sheriff Mike Morrison officially introduced himself and his Chief of Operations, Ryan Moody. He told the Council that Rob Huddleston has been appointed to the Chelan division of the Sheriff’s Department as its new chief.
He also brought up the upcoming Marine Program that has been struggling to maintain order on the lake in the past. “Sgt. Huddleston will be taking this program over and we will have three marine patrol officers assigned to patrol the lake during the summer months.”
Councilman John Olson asked Sheriff Morrison if there would be a supplemental budget request to cover the additional deputies. Morrison said, “No.” He has redirected department resources to cover the extra marine patrol detectives and also stated that Sgt. Huddleston would make up the fourth to help cover the lake. “It was just a common sense fit. Under Sgt. Huddleston program we are going in the right direction.”
Sheriff Morrison also mentioned the six deaths that have occurred on the Wenatchee River. “We need to bring a little more order to our waterways,” he said.
NCWEconomic District competition:
Alice Brown – Executive Director and Chanet Stevenson – Associate Director of the North Central Washington Economic Development District presented the EDD’s Supernova Business Launch Competition that helps new business start-ups looking to expand into Okanogan, Douglas, Ferry, and Chelan Counties, and the Colville Indian Reservation compete for $10,000 plus free workshops, networking, and peer support.
Applications ended in February and the program has received 32 applications with three from the Lake Chelan Valley. “We would like to see you guys more engaged with the programs,” said Stevenson.
Community Center at Lake Chelan:
Maribel Cruz, director of operations at the under construction Community Center, presented a proposed plan to construct a 750 sq. ft. indoor play area at the center. The cost to construct has been quoted at $189,873 from SoftPlay.
The play area will be open to the public with no usage fees to ensure accessibility by all members of the community.
Cruz was on hand to revisit the possibility of securing funds from the City from its ARP funds.
She told the Council that the Community Center is 90% funded at $16.2 million much of which has come through generous donations. ,
The third phase will include the aquatic center. “We want to be able to cover the pool and make it available year round,” said Cruz.
Chris Baker asked it the Root School was still going to be involved. Cruz replied that after conversations with the school, it didn’t quite match their needs, but she added, “They are re-interested now.”
Wade Ferris said that $700,000 of the American Rescue Funds have been committed to the sewer/water mains on Anderson Road and another $200,000 towards the food bank expansion plans. “We have $200,000 that has not been committed,” said Ferris. He cautioned that the remaining funds might have to be kept in reserve for unexpected costs. “We are aware of the rising costs,” said Cruz.
Cruz also told the Council that they are talking about not making the Center a membership based fee, but a pass based fee to offset costs of operations.
Tim Hollingsworth remarked that the Center is $1 million short and Cruz replied that the Foundations goal in 2023 is to close that funding gap.
John Olson asked if there was a traffic study with the Lookout planning another 35 homes across Big Horn Way from the Center. Community Development Director John Ajax replied that they do have one and are asking for a new one. Public Works Director Jake Youngren stated that they planned on collecting traffic date more frequently.
Hollingsworth stated that he didn’t see the Community Center as a big driver for traffic impacts.
Mayor Goedde remarked that he feels the project is fantastic, but is concerned about potential cost overruns on the Anderson Road project.
Cruz ended by saying, “We would love to partner with the City in anyway possible.”
Tim Hollingsworth said he had attended a Toyota Center board meeting and that 900 tickets had been sold for the Bighorn’s opening semi-professional basketball team for Thursday night’s game against Seattle.
Hollingsworth also asked about the Council Handbook that is forthcoming. City Clerk, Peri Gallucci replied that they have borrowed language from another City. The handbook will be a general guide to the do’s and don’ts of a councilmember.j
John Olson brought up his challenge to the Chamber of Commerce’s request for $700,000 for promotion of Chelan.
The Council decided to override Olson’s request 6-1 and give the Chamber the $700,000 requested for this calendar year, but will evaluate the long term relationship and write a new contract. “Chelan is not short on visitors, but we are short on visitor facilities and services,” said Olson.
Olson stated that the diversification of lodging tax dollar uses is beginning to get recognition from the AWC, legislature and governor.
Olson stated that he thinks changing the uses will be an uphill battle because Mike Steele is not only the Chamber Director but also the Ranking member of the State House Finance Committee. “There’s a real conflict of interest here,” said Olson.
Mayor Goedde stated that according to Steele, the City will not get another 2% in Stadium funding added to the 5% currently assessed for heads on beds, but there is a good chance that Chelan could get a 1% bump.
Ferris remarked that Alabama raised their lodging tax take from 7% to 10%.
Vicki Carr – board member of the Wenatchee Valley Housing Trust spoke during Citizen Comments at Tuesday’s City Council meeting on February28 and stated that 80 percent of applicants for housing are from the agricultural industry and 20 percent are low income individuals.
“We have 30 projects in the Wenatchee and Chelan County area,” said Carr. She informed the Council that Gibson Gardens will be undergoing a major upgrade. “I’m very happy to be of service to our community,” she added.
Mike Cooney introduced Scott Meyer to the Council as the Chelan Valley Housing Trust’s new Executive Director. Myer stated that the Trust would be constructing 16 new townhomes just north of Emerson Gardens and have a few single family homes in the mix. “My door is always open,” said Myer.
The City will hold a Workshop on Tuesday, March 7 beginning at 4 p.m. in Council Chambers. The public is invited to attend, but will not be able to speak unless recognized by Mayor Goedde.
“Manson is an accident waiting to happen,” Manson resident Pat Hautenne told the Manson Community Council at its Tuesday evening, February 21 meeting.
He mentioned to incidents that have happened in Manson; a vehicle losing control and driving into Buddy’s “My Place” bar and another accident where the driver veered off Manson Boulevard into Hautenne’s parked car that was off the main road.
“My neighbors and I would like to see something done,” stated Hautenne. He suggested a number of potential fixes to slow traffic down on Manson Boulevard which is already posted at 25 mph.
The problem is that no one seems to be following the speed limit on Manson Blvd. It has been a subject of heated conversation in the past at council meetings. The speeding issue seems to be from Lake Chelan Building Supply at the east end of town to the intersection of Manson Blvd. and Botske.
Apparently, it’s not just cars, but apple trucks also speeding through. “When they go through, they are hauling,” stated Hautenne.
Other areas of concern are the Manson School Zones and other narrow roads like Wapato Way which receives a lot of traffic.
Hautenne said that the Sheriff’s Department sent several deputies out to monitor the speeds and gave out nine tickets in front of his home in a short amount of time.
Hautenne stated that he called Chelan County Engineer Eric Pierson and asked if it would be possible to have some Speed Humps (not Bumps) installed to help slow traffic down. “He was totally negative and stated that the County would not be installing speed humps. It’s a bad situation and it is not getting any better.” Hautenne also said that the City of Seattle has spend $21 million on Speed Humps to slow down traffic.
Speed Humps are a lot more gentle than speed bumps and according to research tend to slow traffic by 10 to 15 mph. One issue Engineer Pierson brought up was snow plowing, but Jake Youngren, public works director at the City of Chelan said the speed humps up at Mt. Goat Field are temporary. “They are an operational challenge,” said Youngren. “We take them down in the fall and put them back up in the spring.” So they are temporary and a 20 foot wide hump costs about $3,000.
Chris Willoughby suggested that lowering the speed limit to 20 mph from the current 25 mph might also be a part of the solution. “I think the County will accept a speed change faster than installing humps.” He also stated that speeding tickets tend to be expensive over the posted speed limit.
The Council voted unanimously to request a speed limit change from the Lake Chelan Building Supply to the intersection of Manson Blvd. and Botske Avenue.
The idea of Manson incorporating is on hold and is just a conversation currently. According to Brian Patterson, the County should pay for the feasibility study. Manson resident Mike Kirk said he thought it was required state law that the County would pay for it. “I thought that too,” said Patterson.
The MRSC (Municipal Research and Services Center) states that “for the most part, the cost of incorporation attempts have been born by the county governments in which the incorporations have been proposed.” It continues: Incorporation initiators should contact the boundary review board, if there is one for their county, or the county legislative authority if no board exists, to determine what procedures exist for preparation and financing of incorporation studies. This should be done early in the process to ensure timely preparation of a study.
Chairman Kari Sorenson said that should be mailed to Chelan County Commissioner Tiffany Gearing, and that the study would most likely be over $100,000.
The Council still needs to determine if the community is interested in incorporation.
Commissioner Gearing emailed both the Manson Chamber of Commerce and Manson Community Council about the County’s plan to chip seal many of the road surfaces in Manson to discuss timing.
Both mid-June and late-July time slots will be considered, but the County would like feedback from both organizations.
Willoughby said the mid-June date would probably be better, but rain is always a possibility in June.