Lone Pine Fruit & Espresso… more than a fruit stand

Lone Pine Fruit on Hwy 97 four miles south of the Beebe Bridge offers much more than fresh fruit and vegetables.

by Richard Uhlhorn

There are fruit stands and then there are FRUIT STANDS!

Lone Pine is a rest stop for travelers on Hwy 97.

Lone Pine Fruit & Espresso is a great example of what happens when dedicated owners and employess take their fruit stand to the next level of serving their customers.

If you are looking for fresh fruit and vegetables, Lone Pine has its own orchards and also brings in fresh vegetables from North Central Washington farms like Quincy sweet corn from the famous Kallstrom Farms (coming soon).

Currently, Lone Pine has fresh, and absolutely delicious, peaches, apricots, raspberries, blueberries, jumbo onions, celery and carrots, not to mention fresh rhubarb, California grown lemons and limes. They also have 2021 crop apples.

Over the years, Lone Pine morphed into a general store and restaurant after battling Chelan County all the way to the State Capital for highway access to the business. “The game was on at that point,” says Jenny Robelia, Lone Pines general manger. “It was push, push, push until we got access.”

Kallstrom Farms will be delivering their famous sweet corn to Lone Pine on Thursday, August 11.

Today, Lone Pine caters to travelers on Hwy 97 from Okanogan County who are traveling to and from Wenatchee, but would love to see more customers from the Chelan area. “We have struggled to pull Chelan customers down. Travelers from Okanogan and the Methow are more regular, stopping in on their trips to Wenatchee to shop or go to the doctor.”

“A lot of customers call in for coffee or our lunch specials on their trips,” said Jenny. “We have a new lunch special everyday.”

In addition to the menu, Lone Pine offers up the best milkshakes in the region, all made from hard ice cream. They also offer blended coffee drinks, espresso, smoothies and Italian sodas.

Lone Pine also carries local wines ranging in price from $10 to $50 per bottle depending on the winery. They have hard ciders and beer on tap and regularly fill growlers for customers.

Lone Pine’s wine selection comes from wineries around the region and bottles are priced from $10 to $40 depending on the winery.

They now carry flash frozen meat from Ephrata and Jenny says the pricing is lower than Costco’s meat products. “This meat is perfect for travel,” said Jenny. They also carry fresh farm eggs and milk.

Lone Pine now carries flash frozen meats from Ephrata that is priced below Costco meats.

“We also represent a lot local artists.” The art and crafts ranges from cards to handcrafted art and books.

Local artists have space at Lone Pine.

Lone Pine Fruit and Espresso had its first beginings when Jim Walker, whose parents were migrant workers following the fruit harvests, purchased the orchard property in 1998 which also had a building that housed workers. “Tiny’s Fruit Stand was one of his biggest memories,” said Robelia. He wanted to build a fruit stand like Tiny’s.

Jenny joined the company one month after Walker purchased the orchard and that’s when the building was turned into a fruit stand. After solving their battles with the county, they planted peaches, apples, and apricot trees.

Over the years, there have been a lot of changes. Lone Pine hosted the first ever Lake Chelan Wine Festival and sells seasonal fruits and vegetables. “We follow the harvest and look forward to harvesting season.”

Lone Pine is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and orders can be made over the telephone at 509-682-1514.

DASH removes 900 pounds of invasive plants from Lake Chelan

Welcome to the blog Lone Pine
An area off Key Bay where milfoil was removed using an airlift.

by Richard Uhlhorn

Eurasian Water Milfoil is shown here collected in a rake throw sample near the Old
Mill Bay Park boat launch on Lake Chelan in September 2021.

Four Peaks Environmental Services conducted an invasive aquatic species survey on Lake Chelan and found 520 acres of Eurasian Milfoil and Curley Leaf Pondweed along the shoreline of Wapato Basin and stretching into the lower regions of the Lucerne Basin where there is heavy recreational boat use.

This increase of invasive species over the past eight years has increased concerns on how to manage the invasion. The Lake Chelan Research Institute (LCRI) began looking at methods of managing this issue and settled on DASH (Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting) as the preferred method of removing the invasive species from the lake bottom.

Lake Defense Force uses a diver operated airlift off a work boat.

With $25,000 of private funding the LCRI hired Lake Defense Force to conduct a sample test of two areas over a six day period… Key Bay and Minneapolis Beach. This test will help determine an Integrated Aquatic Management Plan for the lake.

The airlift used by the team pulls invasive species up by the roots. Once captured, it is bagged for removal. According to Alex Garry, Lake Defense Force General Manager, the dive team can suck up between 1,500 and 5,000 square feet per day.

A Lake Defense Force employee puts milfoil and pond weed into a bag.

DASH is an alternative to using chemical applications to remove milfoil and pond weed. The use of chemical herbicides is not a preferred method in Lake Chelan.

Operating off Minneapolis Beach.

The diving company comes back to a treated area and removes any recurring bloom on the bottom by hand. “We have, over time eradicated invasive species from lakes,” said Garry.

A Lake Defense Force diver works at removing Eurasian Milfoil from the bottom of Lake Chelan at Minneapolis Beach.

Because Lake Chelan is a reservoir which is lowered in the winter for power production, much of the invasive species is killed by freezing. This year’s cold spring has delayed the growth of invasive plants in Lake Chelan. Much of the plants removed were thought to have sprouted on the bottom within the last several weeks.

LCRI executive director, Phil Long, stated that the test was extremely successful and will help determine a management plan and financial resources needed to implement it. “We hit high use areas which confirmed the continued spread of invasive aquatic plant species in Lake Chelan,” stated Long. “It’s interesting that a lot of the plants are blooming under anchored boats.”

The Research Institute used an underwater ROV to check areas of milfoil and pond weed.

Over the five and half days Lake Defense Force operated, they removed 900 pounds (20 bags) of milfoil and pond weed, most of which was removed from Minneapolis Beach.

An area cleaned by the diving team in Key Bay.

Lake Chelan Research Institute conducts monthly water quality research on the lake and is partially funded by local government entities. Organizations and individuals can donate money and time as volunteers to help keep the lake quality at its optimum. Visit https://lakechelanresearchinstitute.com/ for more information.

Another group helping educate the public about Lake Chelan is the Keep It Blue Program at https://www.keepitbluelakechelan.org/.

Public access at Green Dock compromised by homeowners

by Richard Uhlhorn

Citizen’s advocate Tom Clark shared a situation occuring at the public lake access point at Green Dock on Water Street during Chelan City Council’s Citizen Comment period on Tuesday evening, July 26.

Tom Clark, self claimed citizen advocate, brought up a parking issue at the PUD Green Dock mini-park.

The homeowners on Water Street and Terrace Avenue are allegedly blocking public access on City right-of-way by placing park benches and boat trailers to stop the public from parking. “The rights of the public has been taken away from them,” said Clark.

Water Street and Terrace Avenue are a part of the of the Lakeside Trail system that the City is trying to complete. Green Dock is a popular small local swimming beach that is becoming more crowded as more and more people discover it.

After speaking for six minutes, City Administrator Wade Ferris shut Clark down and Mayor Bob Goedde thanked Clark for the information and said he’d make sure the City looked into the situation.

It isn’t the first time there has been difficulty between home owners and beach goers at Green Dock. Years ago, the homeowners were upset when the PUD began charging market rates for their private docks and a local group asked the PUD to install a large public dock at the corner of Water St. and Terrace Ave. This resulted in a meeting and a compromise was made to move the potential public dock adjacent to Hwy. 97A just west of the west finger. Unfortunately that never happened, but the request for a public dock to gain more public access to Lake Chelan could rise up again.

Years ago the PUD was asked to install a public dock at the corner of Water Street and Terrace Avenue. A compromise was made between the homeowners and the dock group to located the public dock adjacent to Hwy 97A. It never happened. The PUD owns the underwater land.

The PUD owns all the underwater land off Water Street and Terrace Avenue.

The City plans on looking into illegal parking on public right-of-way throughout Chelan.

In other Business:

Potential computer breach

Just before the July 4th weekend, a city employee noticed a potential breach on a staff member’s computer. The City’s technology service provider was notified immediately and they advised the City to shut down all computers and disconnect the server as a precautionary measure.

The City opened a claim with the Washington State Insurance Authority and the City also entered into a contract with a law firm and an information security firm on July 6.

City Administrator Wade Ferris gave an update to the council on Tuesday and said the potential breach was a pretty good scare. “As soon as the staff member saw it he probably saved the City any damages. We still have some way to go and it will cost us upwards of $80,000.”

Dust Control

Public Works entered into a contract with Lyman Dust Control to mitigate dust issues and improve surface stabilization. The company applies a LIGNO Road Binder in the alleys. The product is petroleum free and 100 percent biodegradable.

The program is not to exceed $25,000 and will be executed under the 2022 Annual Road Preservation and Small Project Street Capital Budget.

Councilman John Olson said his alley is in the best condition has ever been in. Public Works Director Jake Youngren said he is getting lots of public feedback on the program.

The rest of the council meeting was taken up withy Maintenance bonds for water system improvements and easements for City access.

Mayor/Council comments:

Only Olson made a comment bringing up the feedback on the alley improvements and whether or not the jumper off the Dan Gordon Bridge was found.  He also mentioned the parking on 97A out at Lakeside Park.

Mayor Goedde said he and Ferris attended a meeting on funding water to the airport. He also told the council that the upcoming traffic study would take in 97A, Hwy 150, Body District and the Manson area.

Ferris stated that the Sheriff’s office is short of manpower and can’t give tickets.

City Clerk Peri Gallucci invited council members to get involved in the City’s new website design. Peter Jamtgaard said he would like to review it for its appearance, themes, look and function.

City Council meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the Month at 6 p.m.

New Chelan hospital nearing completion for October opening

by Richard Uhlhorn

On Friday, July 15, I toured the new hospital with the Chelan Hospital Foundation. While there has been considerable angst about the necessities of downsizing the facility to stay within the $44.5 million dollar budget, I was impressed with, not only the layout, but the generous utilization of the space allocated for the new facility. Everything inside flows efficiently.

Today, the Critical Access downsized version is 52,250 square feet with room for future expansion and includes 12 patient rooms, two expanded Operating Rooms with the possibility of a third if needed and ample parking for patients and staff.

The total cost to build is $28,483,000 not including the $2.3 million in Washington State taxes.

The public in the Hospital District approved a bond of $20 million dollars. The rest of the build out comes from a $2 million grant from the Lake Chelan Health & Wellness Foundation. The remaining $6 million will be covered by hospital debt capacity, grants and reserves.

This diagram shows, in detail, the layout of the new hospital

Our guide for the tour was Hospital Director of Operations Shawn Ottley. Shawn knows every inch of the new hospital and described each aspect of what clients and patients can expect when visiting the new facility from emergencies to elective surgery.

Aaron Edwards is the Hosptial‘s new Chief Executive Officer.

After the tour I asked the new CEO, Aaron Edwards about hospital revenue. “Revenue is trending up,” he stated. He also said he has interviewed more MDs since taking his new position than have ever been interviewed in the last six years. “Housing is still a major issue,” he added.

The hospital has two OR rooms for conducting surgeries along with another room for outpatient joint injections, etc. A third OR room could be available if necessary.

We began the tour at the Emergency entrance and continued through to Labor, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum rooms. Following is a visual tour of the hospital which will have its Grand Opening on October 15, 2022.

If interested, Lake Chelan Now will conduct a live streaming tour at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 22.

Storm damage raises ire of Chelan Hills residents

by Richard Uhlhorn

The July 3 torrential rain storm was a major topic during Citizen’s Comments at Chelan’s City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 12.

Some are calling the torrential downpour a 100 year storm which caused damage throughout the valley forcing Chelan Public Works into overtime to correct some of the City’s issues. However, out in Chelan Hills, flooding created major issues for some residents.

Charles Cronenweth ended up with a flooded basement and hired a stormwater consultant to come in an investigate the City and his private property damage.

Charles Cronenweth – 115 Riveria Pl., told the Council that the June 3 storm flooded his downstairs with six inches of water and then again during the July 3 storm, another nine inches of water filled his garage. Cronenweth said he hired a stormwater consultant to investigate. The consultant’s report recommended the City trench the north side of Rivera Pl. and construct a culvert with another ditch at the other end of the culvert to help divert stormwater in case of another major rain event.

He also hired a contractor to work on his driveway and install a French drain in hopes of alleviating is problems. “The volume of water was so great that it overwhelmed the system,” said Cronenweth. “I don’t know when it is going to rain again. I’m asking the City for help.” 

Mayor Goedde remarked that Cronenweth was not the only resident to suffer water damage. “We need to figure out what to do and I’m sorry about your flooding.”

Paul Rogers told the Council that the City needs to do more work on stormwater issues in Chelan Hllls.

Next up was Chelan Hills resident Paul Rodgers – 303 Eldorado Way, who said, “It is pretty apparent there is a need for further (City) action.” Rodgers told the Council that 3/4s of the land on Eldorado is privately held and that impermeable concrete and asphalt driveways and streets contributed to the flooding. “There was significant mud and debris runoff across 150 into the lake,” he said. Rodgers said he was looking forward to the City’s response to the issue.

Lori Billard claimed that the two recent storms have damaged her property to a tune of $200,000. She wanted to know what the City was going to do about it.

Lori Billard, another Chelan Hills resident was angry and stated she had $200,000 worth of damage and said, “It is your responsibility. Boyd Road is eroding and the guard rails are hanging.. There has to be something done and I want to know what you are going to do.”

Her home was built in 1971 and the Billard’s purchase the property in 2017. She stated that she had requested public records, but that the 101 Boyd Road records have not been provided. “I’m holding the City liable for damage to my property,” said.

Mayor Goedde stated that the City will have to decide what they are going to do. “We will not make everybody happy,” said Goedde.

Mayor Bob Goedde stated that the City will look into the issues, but assured the residents that they will not be happy.

Lisa Garvich shared the residents concerns. “We need to limit impervious paving. We’ve never had water in our yards.”

During Mayor/Council comments, Public Works Director Jake Youngren said his crews spend most of June cleaning up after that storm. “I don’t have any solution or answers right now,” said Youngren. It (Chelan Hills) is an older infrastructure area.”

Public Works Director Jake Yongren stated he had no solutions or answers immediately.

Councilman Peter Jamtgaard remarked that his mother’s basement was also flooded and that he was still working on the cleanup. Councilman Chris Baker also remarked that his basement was flooded and that he had clogged drain.

Councilwoman Erin McCardle remarked that these storms were considered 100 year events within one week of each other. “We could get more of these occurrences.” Councilman Tim Hollingsworth thanked the residents for coming in. “We need to think hard about how to address these things. Public Works have had their hands full.”  He added that the Council needs to work with administration and staff on these issues.

Councilwoman Sheri Dietrich added that the Council hears them. “There were a bunch of people who have had problems,” she said.

Mayor Goedde told the residents to keep the City in line, but was informed that the storms were an “Act of God.”

In other business:

The Council unanimously accepted the Lake Chelan Airport Runway and Taxiway Relocation Environmental Assessment Grant offer from the FAA which carries a $11,000 match requirement by the City.

They also unanimously accepted a WSDOT (Washington State Dept. of Transportation) Grant offer for the same project.

Council unanimously authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute an authorization with RH2 Engineering for design services for the Anderson Road Infrastructure Project. Youngren told the Council that sewer and water would be looked at along with a fire flow analysis by the end of August. The cost will be reimbursed by the Chelan Valley Housing Trust.

More Mayor Council Comments:

Youngren said Public Works is looking for a sweet spot on garbage pickup on downtown Chelan. “Most of the garbage comes from food products.”

Luis Gonzalez reported that the Planning Department is extremely busy.

Luis Gonzalez reported on the Planning Department’s activity. He said the department has 43 active applications. “We have hired an associate planner who will be working directly with customers,” said Gonzalez. “We are very, very busy and are working on a two week turnaround on permits. “It is challenging to build in Chelan because of the topography. We understand what is going on out there.”

Attorney Quentin Batjer.

City Attorney Quentin Batjer told the Council that Hearing Examiner’s finding of fact that will allow residential building at Apple Blossom Center will come before the Council to make a recommendation to either Adopt, Reject or Remand the decision to change the zoning. “Your decision is based on that record (of facts).” Batjer stated that extraneous comments from constituents have no bearing on the issue anymore because the record has been closed.

However, there are plenty of feelings about the possibility of 720 apartments being build on the Apple Blossom Center property and its effects on the community. Councilman John Olson told his fellow council people that there decision to approve or not approve a zoning change for 30 acres of Apple Blossom Center will have wide effects.

The original application by Weidner Apartments was for 284 apartment. That changed to 720 when the apartments in Leavenworth filled up before they were even finished.

According to Olson, approving the zoning change could change the nature of Chelan forever. This could result, according to Olson, a 50 percent increase in usage of the streets, post office, school, parks and stores. Olson wonders if the City has the capacity to handle that growth.

Olson concludes:

  • the property owners have the right to develop;
  • apartments are desperately needed in Chelan;
  • Apple Blossom Center is likely the best place to locate apartments;
  • Denial of the zoning change could be risky for the City; and
  • the scale is overwhelming.

The Planning Department approved the zoning change as did the Hearing Examiner (HE). A number of residents testified at an open Public Hearing by the HE, and all but one of the testifying public were concerned on a number of levels at the density of this project and its effects on the community.

Garbage floats to the top of City agenda

by Richard Uhlhorn

Zach Dicksen, the new Vogue owner, spoke out about the downtown garbage issue during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting which ended up making the garbage the primary focus.

“There is not enough pickup,” said Dicksen. “Whatever is happening is not enough.” He described overflowing garbage cans which ends up with garbage on the sidewalks. “It reflects very poorly on our town. I would suggest more (garbage) pickup plus the areas around the trash receptacles.” Dicksen then suggested the City have recycling in the downtown area like both Winthrop and Leavenworth.

The responsibility for garbage pickup relies with Public Works, and Public Works Director Jake Youngren addressed the issue during the Mayor /Council comment period at the end of the meeting.

Public Works Director Jake Youngren took full responsibility for a lack of garbage pickup in the downtown core and said he would
personally monitor the situation.

“We don’t disagree and will make it better,” said Youngren. “It is a challenge,” he added. Public Works has only one staff member working on the weekends. During the week, garbage pickup in the downtown core is scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s. “We will be monitoring it real closely. Hopefully we can work on ways to get on top of it.”

Don Morse food concession goes to Lakeview:

Parks Director Paul Horne was directed to put some sort of food/drink concession inside the confines of Don Morse Park before July 4 and he responded by contacting Amy Mack, proprietor of the Lakeview Drive-in.

Parks Director Paul Horne, at the City’s request arranged for a food/drink concession in Don Morse Park.

The Mack’s have a 38 year relationship with the City and Horne, under pressure to do something quickly, used the Mack’s concession contract to put in place a food/drink concession within the park’s confines.

The contract, which will only be in place for one year, was approved by the City’s attorney, Quentin Batjer as being legal. City Administrator Wade Ferris remarked that the City was trying to get this accomplished before July 4. “The legality is solid.”

City Administrator Wade Ferris explained the legality adding the food concession to Don Morse Park.

Mayor Goedde asked about the last concessionaire (Weathersby) and Horne replied that their contract had expired and he had no obligation to renew.

Mayor Goedde asked what happened to the last concessionaire.

Regarding the Mack’s arrangement to provide services, Councilman Tim Hollingsworth said, “I think it is a good idea.”

Mack stated that her original idea when approached was to have apples, water and other packaged food items with one person working per shift. However, she is very concerned about trash and has indicated that they will help keep the area clean. “We will work on that issue.”

Councilwoman Erin McCardle stated her appreciation for the City and Mack’s to pull this together under short notice. Councilman Chris Baker (attending on Zoom) stated he was concerned that the concession wasn’t put out for other potential sources to bid, but was told there wasn’t time to do that under the City’s directive to get something in the park.

Councilwoman Erin McCardle stated her appreciation for the City and Mack’s to pull together a new park’s concession.

The concession will also serve fresh hot food from the Lakeview Drive-in. “There will be an app. to make orders with and deliveries will be made from the drive-in to the park concession,” said Horne. “Merrick (Hill) will provide an electric bike with a cart to deliver orders to the park.”

Horne is planning on putting a suggestion box at the concession to see what visitors would like at the concession. “Amy also wants to sell water bottles and stuff.”

It will be interesting to see how this new arrangement works out.

In other business:

  • The Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute a professional services agreement with CivicPlus for a CivicEngage Website Development and Implementation.
  • The Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the Housing Authority Pump Station improvements and easement with the Housing Authority of Chelan County and the City of Wenatchee.
  • The Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the Water Right S4-15581CWRIS Administrative Division.
  • The Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute the professional services agreement with Mack Restaurants Inc., for concession services at Don Morse Park.
  • The Council authorized the Mayor to finalize and execute a professional services agreement amendment with Berger Partnership for the Skatepark Feasibility Study and Conceptual Design.

Highlights from Chelan and Manson

by Richard Uhlhorn

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

It has been a couple of busy weeks for All Things Lake Chelan. With the weather changing to summer on the first day of summer, I’ve taken the time to play a little hooky from reporting on some of the more mundane meetings while I begin preparing for my newest project, “Out an About with Rich.” It will be my first foray into producing content for YouTube.

However, I’m still obligated to report on the political spectrum of the Valley including, but not limited to City Council and Manson Community Council meetings. There are a lot of issues being considered that will impact the valley residents far into the future.

Following are a few of the highlights from these meetings and a few bits of information coming out of them.

CITY OF CHELAN CITY COUNCIL – 6/14/22

After resident testimony at the Hearing Examiner’s public hearing last week, word has come down that Andy Kottkamp, after considering the publics comments, has approved the zone change at Apple Blossom Center to include residential development which opens the way for the proposed construction of 720 apartment units on the property.

City Council highlights:

The owners of Deepwater Inn at 531 East Woodin commented during the Citizen Comment Period, that their neighbor, The Dock Company, was using the public road between the two businesses as a staging ground and construction zone for their product which was affecting the quality of life for the Hotel’s customers.

The City Administrator said he would make sure that code enforcement investigated, which apparently has happened and the Dock Company is back to working on its property.

Six Year Transportation Plan:

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

Public Works Director Jake Youngren reported that the City was required to submit its plan to the State on an annual basis. This year’s plan includes the following projects: the Downtown Revitalization Project which Youngren said the City planned on starting this year; the Lakeside Trail Project grant; Sanders Street sidewalks; the Apple Blossom pedestrian trail to Les Schwab; the North Shore Trail which is similar to the Lakeside Trail project; and the Columbia Street project. “These all are heavily dependent on grants,” said Youngren.

Erin McCardle stated that she was concerned about traffic and requested an overall traffic flow study in Chelan. “The magnitude (of current traffic conditons) is frightening,” she said. Mayor Goedde replied that the Manson Community Council is also concerned about traffic issues, particularly on SR-150 between Chelan and Manson. “We need a complete analysis of transportation issues,” Goedde said. He is also interested in converting the old Woodin Avenue Bridge back to a two-way configuration.

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

“We need to start somewhere with the County, State and maybe Federal government as partners,” said Goedde.

Kahiau Volleyball court use in DonMorsePark:

Despite an agreement already being signed by the Volleyball Club to begin paying $2,500 in 2023 and $3,000 in 2024 for use of the City’s sand volleyball courts, the Council spend a good half-hour discussing the merits of charging the club which had helped construct the courts.

The club has had free use of the courts for the past seven years, but Parks Director Paul Horne stated that maintenance was an issue. “We came up with a fee structure for the maintenance we do,” Horne told the Council.

Chris Baker told Horne that the club has a great program. “My daughter is in it. In order to make a decision, we need more detailed (financial) numbers.” McCardle added that a lot of information is missing. “To say they are using them for free is not necessarily true,” she said. McCardle aded that they utilize the courts for four weekends of tournaments and other periods of time for practice which, in her research, adds up to 30% of the time, where after the courts are available to the public. “I’m struggling to accept a high rental. The courts are open the majority of the time for the community.”

John Olson asked why they were even discussing this issue when the City has a $20 million dollar budget. “We are spending time arguing about a $2,500 charge.” Horne said he would pass it through the Parks Board.

Shari Dietrich said she got the need to charge for use, but added, “We need to stay balanced.”

The Council approved the motion 4-2 with both McCardle and Dietrich voting No.

American Recovery Act funds:

City Administrator Wade Ferris told the Council that it could choose to spend the $1.5 ARPA funds on any public project like roads and parks etc. “There are broad opportunities like the Skate Park, water line to the airport or the Parks Maintenance Building which is now slated to cost $2.1 million. “We will hold a workshop to work on this. We have until 2024 and 2025 to complete. It has opened up a bit on what we an spend the money on,” stated Ferris. “We will have a more in depth discussion.”

MANSON COMMUNITY COUNCIL- JUNE 21, 2022:

Sundance Estates update:

According to Kathy Blum, the Sundance Estates Project by Eastern Washington Construction Company, is still under review by the County.

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

The big news is that Al Lorenz, owner of the property has initiated Foreclosure proceedings for lack of payment. Easter Washington Construction Company has 90 days to bring its account up to date or the land will go back to Lorenz.

County Commissioner Tiffany Gearing told the Council and audience that there was plenty of funding available for unincorporated areas. “These funds could pay for some of the problems like trees.”

Noise problems:

Several complaints have come in regarding noise from Wineries and Blum said that the Council is there to support the community and will help find a way to make these issues work.

Sheriff Brian Burnett addressed the noise issue.

Sheriff Brian Burnett told the audience and council that the law has to change. He stated that several winery owners have been spoken too, but when a violation occurs, the complaint has to be made during the noise violation so the County can respond immediately. “Most businesses are very compliant,” said Burnett.

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

“Our noise ordinance is horrible,” said Gearing. “We didn’t visit it during our STR issue, but can always come back to it.” With most wineries situated in or near residential areas, the noise issue becomes a major quality of life issue for residents.

Interim County Planning Director, Deanna Walters, said that the County will begin the process of updating its old codes and ordinances concerning noise violations. “We need to revisit the codes,” said Walters. “Manson is an example but it is happening throughout our County.”

Parking has also become a problem and Burnett said the owners are working hard to mitigate that issue.

Chris Willoughby told the Council that the lead/arsenic issue is very important to the Valley. “A lot of children have developed Leukemia,” said Willoughby. People’s lives are at stake.”

Standing room only at Apple Blossom development hearing

by Richard Uhlhorn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PUBLIC TESTIMONY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City Council hears million dollar proposal from the Lookout

by Richard Uhlhorn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHELAN TO CONSIDER IMPACT FEES FOR NEW DEVELOPMENT

by Richard Uhlhorn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Council member John Olson


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

Public Works Director Jake Yongren

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

Council woman Erin McCardle.

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

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

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

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

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

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