Oroville still working with Georgia Laine Developments on water

OROVILLE – Oroville and Georgia Laine Developments are still negotiating over water at the developer’s Bee Kee Orchards property north of town on the east side of Lake Osoyoos.

At first the developer sought annexation into the city, but after a lukewarm reception by some neighboring property owners they approached the city about transferring water rights in-lieu of annexation.

The city council has adopted a policy where the city will not supply water to those living outside the city limits unless they agree to be annexed within the city boundaries or transfer water rights to the city. The council reasoned that the city can use these transfers to insure continued service to its customers as developing new rights is nearly impossible. Veranda Beach Resort is one example of a development that had existing rights it transferred to Oroville before it was connected to the city’s system.

However, unlike Veranda Beach, Georgia Laine did not own water rights and instead purchased them elsewhere. The mayor, city superintendent of public works, city clerk and city planner discussed the current status of an agreement the city drafted and the developer’s response. It appears the developer does not want to transfer water rights in excess of the needs for future development of the property.

Councilman Walt Hart III made a motion that Mayor Chuck Spieth sign a letter to Georgia Laine Development on a new agreement with revised terms, Councilman Tony Keoke seconded the motion and it was approved.

On another water matter, Mayor Spieth discussed a proposal presented to the city by Don and JoAnn Dixon of transferring their water rights to the city in exchange for a certain number of water connections. Supt. Rod Noel, Clerk Kathy Jones and Planner Chris Branch discussed the matter with the mayor thoroughly, he said. They agreed that the city should complete the Georgia Laine agreement before considering the Dixon’s proposal. This would avoid “competitive water brokering” said the mayor.

Keopke moved the mayor sign a letter to the Dixons regarding the council’s decision. The motion had a second from Councilman Jon Neal and was approved.

The city’s engineers, Varela and Associates, will be submitting a letter to the Department of Ecology regarding biosolids at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, according to Noel. The letter is an effort to expedite the Biosolids Handling Project utilizing the county’s Public Works Trust Fund, said Noel.

In other business, in order to complete the expansion and rehabilitation of city hall a survey addressing asbestos and other hazardous materials removal must be performed, according to Clerk Jones. Jones sought quotes on the cost of the survey from three different firms. One firm was too backlogged and another did not return a quote, Jones said. The third firm, ATC Associates, Seattle and Wenatchee gave a quote of $2975 to conduct a survey of both city hall and the storage building to the north. Neal moved the firm be hired and it was seconded by Hart and approved.

There was also an update on the new Emergency Medical Technicians. The state has been slow at issuing the First Aid Cards that would allow the new EMTs to ride and assist on the ambulance. It was reported that online notice of the EMT cards may come as soon as the council’s next meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 16.

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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