Oroville and county agree to wait for development fees from property owner

OROVILLE – Oroville will join an agreement the county is making with a property owner that will put off collection of sewer and water development fees until the developer sells his first lot.

Scott Thorndike plans to develop a short plat on his property at Smith’s Point and is asking Okanogan County to waive sewer development fees until he can sell the first of the four lots, according to Perry Huston, director of the Okanogan Planning Department. Huston and Thorndike were on hand at the council’s Tuesday, Nov. 1 meeting.

“The proposal the county has is a development agreement to provide payment of the fees after the first lot is sold,” said Rocky DeVon with RE/MAX Lake and Country Realty, which is representing Thorndike.

“Liens would remain on all four while the sale of the first lot would pay all of the fees,” Huston said.

Chris Branch, Oroville’s director of Community Development said the city would have to make sure any agreement they signed on to would make reference to the city’s involvement and that the liens would also account for the city’s system development fees regarding connection to the water system. Branch also said the plan should also define the area and Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works, suggested the sewer lift station design be “outsized” to allow for future connection of nearby property owners.

Noel added that a map of the area had already been done by engineers at the time the Eastlake Sewer Project was constructed that pretty much indicates what needed to be done to develop a sewer connection in the area of the Thorndike property.

Branch, who went to an Okanogan County hearing on the proposed agreement, recommended the city join with the county in waiting to collect the development fees until the first lot is sold.

“In a perfect world the commissioners would like all the fees ahead of time,” said Huston.

Branch and Noel emphasized that all rights-of-way needed to be defined and that the systems had to be built to city and state standards because one day the city would own them.

“We need to have the easements and have the system built to meet standards,” said Noel, giving the north end water system the city took over on the west side of he lake as a system that was poorly developed and continues to cause the city headaches.

“Staff recommends that the city sign on to the agreement with those items clarified,” said Branch.

Councilman Ed Naillon made a motion that the city enter into the agreement once it has language that is acceptable and to authorize the mayor to sign the agreement. Neysa Roley seconded the motion and it passed.

David Taber with David Taber Family Investments approached the council about plans to put a permanent building to house a hydro-cooler for cherries on Taber property near their mini storage units on the south end of town.

“I talked with Chris (Branch) and he said a permanent building would be required to have sewer and water,” said Taber, adding his family had been operating a hydrocooler nearby for a number of years, but not in a building.

“We usually operate it for about thirty days during harvest… ninety days at the most. It seems a waste to me of our resources to hook that stuff up and not use it. If water is an issue I have a well,” Taber said.

Branch said there were basically two sections of the city code that deal with sewer and require hook up within 90 days. However, said Branch, the sections were in conflict with each other as to whether hook up was required if the building was within 200 feet of the city’s line or whether the property line was within 200 feet.

Branch suggested that since the building was for agricultural use and would be used for such a short period that a waiver might be in order.

“I suggest a waiver as it is for growing and seasonal care of agricultural crops, we have this addressed for those that have orchards already and the city with portable facilities,” said Branch.

The council agreed and authorized Branch to work on amending the ordinance to allow the Tabers to construct the building without having to connect to city sewer and water as long as portable facilities were provided.

City Clerk Kathy Jones said she and other staff members had reviewed the final draft of the Veranda Beach Latecomers Agreement. The agreement outlines how the resort can recoup some of the money it paid to develop facilities that were larger than the needs of the resort by charging property owners that want to connect to those facilities.

“The staff agrees that the costs they include are eligible and the costs for oversizing are in line,” said Jones. “We recommend you accept the agreement provided they supply their legal description.”

Councilman Naillon made a motion to accept the agreement and it was seconded by Councilman Jon Neal and passed unanimously.

The city is also in negotiations for providing water to the new U.S. Border Patrol Station being constructed north of Oroville. The city is requiring the federal government pay system development and allocation fees based on capacity of the pipes used to serve the development which includes office space, a large garage, corral and kennels.

“One of the main agreements we stood our ground on was capacity. They want to take large pipes into the building and are saying they would only use so much water, but who is to say they wouldn’t use more in the future?” asked Noel.

Branch added the city’s capacity fee schedule was not based on what the project uses, but the what the capacity size is.

“Do we have the water capacity to serve them?” asked Councilman Naillon.

“We probably have for the domestic use, but not for the fire issues,” replied Noel, who said a reservoir would probably be needed to adequately supply fire sprinklers.

Veranda Beach has agreed to lease the city’s industrial park building for another year with the option of signing a second five-year lease after this extension is up.

Police Chief Clay Warnstaff reported a Stone Garden grant from Homeland Security is buying the Oroville Police Department three new bullet resistant vests and an automatic defibrillator to be carried by the officer on duty.

Debra Donoghue, the Oroville Ambulance Coordinator, reported the ambulance that was damaged when hit by a car is back in service.

“We finally have (Unit) 263 back home,” she said, adding that it seemed to be having some acceleration issues that the department was going to have checked out.

A comment was made that it took 104 days for the repairs to be made.

Noel, who is also the fire chief, said the 50 foot ladder truck that Omak has agreed to sell the Oroville city and rural fire departments is now available. He said the city was waiting on the concrete company to increase the height of the fire hall door so that the new garage door could be put in.

The next Oroville City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the city council chambers at City Hall, located at 1308 Ironwood.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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