Tonasket holds hearing on update of Comp Plan, land use map

Tonasket City Planner Kurt Danison of Highlands Associates, points out land use designations on the Tonasket map that will pave the way to annexation in the Mill Drive, Seventh Street and Bonaparte Creek area. Photo by Gary DeVon

Tonasket City Planner Kurt Danison of Highlands Associates, points out land use designations on the Tonasket map that will pave the way to annexation in the Mill Drive, Seventh Street and Bonaparte Creek area. Photo by Gary DeVon

TONASKET – Tonasket held a public hearing regarding amendments to the municipal code, Comprehensive Plan and land use map at their Tuesday, Sept. 27 city council meeting.

“The reason we are here now is to mostly to put in land designations for the Bonaparte area so we can move ahead with the annexation. No property will change on the zoning map at this point. If the Comprehensive Plan is adopted ‘as is’ the zoning map will be consistent with what is there now,” said City Planner Kurt Danison, referring to future annexation of the Mill Drive, Seventh Street and Bonaparte Creek area where a new sewer will be constructed and tied in to the city’s wastewater treatment facility.

“I guess the only other thing to add is the process for planned development is new for Tonasket, we could have used this with the last development. The other thing is the binding site plan,” said Danison, with Highlands Associates, which contracts with the city.

The council had three options regarding the public hearing — accept as is; accept and send back to the planning commission with some instructions about what the council would like changed or adopted with revisions.

I would like to consider a couple changes,” said Councilman Scott Olson. “Where you mention transportation and also under trailer parks. I do not want to take trailer parks out, just not encourage growth in that area.”

“My question is do you feel the changes send a message to the people inside and outside of the city that Tonasket is more open for development, that this makes things easier?” asked Mayor Patrick Plum.

“It will provide more flexibility and in some cases streamline the process on the front end,” replied Danison.

“My last concern is if we go the expedited way with developers does it tie the city’s hands and eliminate public input?” asked Councilman Scott Olson.

Danison said that the process was basically the same and would allow public input at public hearing.

“Basically the developer will have more specificity on what the city wants. It gives us two new tools in our toolbox,” said Christian Johnston, the city’s permit administrator.

Mayor Plumb said that there were several copies of the comprehensive plan at city hall if any of those in attendance at the meeting would like to look at one.

“I am really glad to see the interaction between the council and the planning commission on this,” said Plumb.

After closing the hearing the council agreed to adopt the amendments and update to the Comprehensive Plan Introduction, Land Use Element and Land Use Designation Map with a few minor changes and without sending it back to the planning commission.

Councilman Olson made the motion to accept the changes so far as it affected the Mill Drive, Seventh Street, Bonaparte area annexation, as well as the Urban Growth Area. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Jill Vugteveen and passed unanimously.

The meeting was also advertised as a Public Hearing on the update of the Tonasket Parks and Recreation Plan.

“The city has had a Parks and Recreation Plan on record since about 1989. They are necessary to use to secure grants and other funding. The last one was adopted in 2006 and does not reflect current city conditions,” said Danison, adding that the updated plan would take in the city’s efforts toward funding an updated pool.

Tonasket has conducted an inventory of its parks and did a survey regarding parks and recreation sending a copy home with all the students in the Tonasket and Oroville Oroville School Districts. About 4000 surveys went out and about 700 were returned, according to Danison.

“The skate park isn’t even in the old plan. Tonasket hasn’t spent a lot on parks lately, with many of the completion items for Chief Tonasket Park going to be done by volunteers,” Danison said.

“The biggest portion of the money is earmarked for the pool. We will apply for funding in 2012, 2016 and 2020. The money may be available with a 50 percent match, if we could get federal money our match could be reduced to 10 percent. The Tonasket council has indicated that the pool is the number one item in the parks and recreation plan.”

Councilman Olson said he was glad to see that securing a railroad crossing near the Okanogan County Shop to gain a second access to Chief Tonasket Park was still in the plan.

Councilwoman Selena Hines made the motion to approve the plan and it was passed unanimously.

In unfinished business, Mayor Plumb asked the council about their feelings on annexing the town into the Conservation District since all five council members were present.

“For myself I do not feel comfortable increasing taxes at this time,” said Councilwoman Jean E. Ramsey.

Olson said, “I think they need to restructure fees for the city. I think at some time we need to join, but not at this point. I appreciate what they’ve done when we’ve worked with them in the past.”

The council decided not to join the Conservation District and may readdress the issue in the future.

Regarding the bid on the airport slurry and crack repair project for the runway and one of the stubs that came in much lower than expected, the council decided to reject M.O. Asphalts bid as it was not to state specifications. The bid process will be redone with specifications from the engineering firm of Century West which has worked with the city on past airport related projects.

There was some discussion about better enforcement of traffic regarding pedestrians using the crosswalks. At least two people complained that they were nearly hit by cars with drivers not stopping in both lanes of travel when someone is in the crosswalk as is required by state law.

“One thing the council wants is an emphasis on sidewalk safety. I think we need to consult our attorney and see what the law is. I think we need to investigate all our options,” said Mayor Plumb.

Under reports, Councilwoman Ramsey reported that the Tonasket Visitor and Business Resource Center (TVBRC) would be offering web conferencing.

“It was a very busy city clean-up, we had six full construction bids and a full semi load of appliances,” said Ramsey.

“Bonaparte Creek had several loads, including two big tractor tires,” added Olson. “The creek is in much better shape than it was 20 years ago.”

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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