Sixty-day public review of Zoning Code begins

Final adoption will be culmination of  four years work

TONASKET – City Planner Kurt Danison submitted amendments to the Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designation Map and a thoroughly revised Zoning Code and Zoning Map to the Tonasket City Council Tuesday, Dec. 8. for a 60-day period of public review before the City Council holds a Public Hearing prior to taking action to adopt the amendments. According to Danison, the transmittal of the amendments from the Planning Commission completes nearly four years of effort.

Council member Scott Olson asked if chickens were allowed, and Danison said yes. The proposed amendments included the following provisions:

17.21.180 Keeping of chickens

A. The intent of this section is to provide for and establish standards for the noncommercial keeping of chickens in a manner which will not endanger the health, peace and safety of the citizens of the city and which will assure that chickens are kept in a clean and sanitary condition and not subject to suffering, cruelty or abuse.
B. Chickens are permitted to be kept and maintained as accessory uses subject to the following requirements:

  1. No more than four (4) chickens are allowed at each single-family dwelling;
  2. Male chickens over four (4) months of age are not allowed;
  3. Chickens shall be kept in a well ventilated, enclosed coop constructed to protect the animals against varying weather conditions and predators. The coop shall have an attached, enclosed run. The coop and run combined shall provide a minimum of ten (10) square feet of ground space per chicken;
  4. All coops and runs shall be located within a side or rear yard only. Coops shall be at least twenty-five (25) feet from any neighboring dwelling and five (5) feet from any property line. No portion of any coop or run shall be within five (5) feet of any property line unless the property line abuts an alley;
  5. All coops and runs shall be kept in a neat, sanitary, dust-free condition and must be cleaned on a regular basis so as to prevent offensive orders;
  6. At no time shall the chickens be allowed to run at large.

Danison said the zoning code did not include anything regarding cannabis, as stores are a retail outlet like any other, processing is an industrial activity and growing falls under agriculture; all activities are presently regulated by City zoning.

“If someone applies for a license from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, it will come before the city council for review,” said Danison. “The city can reduce the 1,000 foot buffer zone at it’s discretion.”

“That sounds like a great idea,” said Mayor Patrick Plumb. “I am pumped.”

Danison said under the first quarter of operation, the marijuana outlet store Sage Shop in Omak paid taxes of $4,000 to the city of Omak.

Plumb asked when Mill Drive and Bretz Road would be assimilated as full city streets.

“Seventh Street should be 7th Street all the way to the end instead of changing to Mill Drive now that both portions are in the city, rather than part of it in the county,” said Plumb.

Council members raised concerns about people needing to change their address if the change was made.

“We would need to write a letter and work with the e-911 people, who are in charge of the addresses. They are going to want to know why the change is being made now, after 100 years,” said Danison, adding that he would work with City Clerk and Treasurer Alice Attwood to find out how that was to be done.

Dansion said representatives from the Utility and Transportation Council and Genesse & Wyoming Railroad would be coming to Tonasket February 3 for a 10 a.m. meeting to review the location of the planned crossing and determine the scope of the improvements required for approval for the railroad crossing at the south end of Chief Tonasket Park.

Danison said he submitted two applications for county infrastructure funds collected resulting from a .09 percent rebate of retail sales tax to Okanogan County. This fund was established in the early 1990’s as a means to assist economic development in economically “distressed” counties. The legislation required the dollars be spent on public facilities that provide for economic development in consultation with the Cities and Towns.

“While the Okanogan County Economic Alliance facilitates an annual process to prioritize economic development projects on a county-wide basis at the request of the County Commissioners, it has been at least four or five years since any City or Town projects have been funded, with the exception of a small grant to Tonasket for the Third Avenue project in 2013,” said Danison “With approximately $400,000 a year going into the fund, it is hoped that the Commissioners will release some funding for economic development projects.”

Tonasket submitted applications were for electric car charging station in the parking lot adjoining the Tonasket Visitor and Business Resource Center (TVBRC), and improvements at the Tonasket City Airport including the installation of three helipads and new septic system.

Danison said the only communities that made applications were Tonasket, Pateros, Brewster and Twisp.

The Okanogan County Economic Alliance Board approved the list of priorities: 1. Pateros Water System Improvements, 2. Brewster Water Reservoirs, 3. Twisp Civic Center Design and Public Works Shop Design and Construction, 4. Tonasket Airport Improvements and 5. Tonasket Electric Vehicle Charging Station.

Danison said part of the reason that Infrastructure Fund dollars have not been released for a number of years was due to the fact that the County reserves two years worth of bond payments, required to retire the debt on bonds issued when the tax rebate was originally granted, two years worth of Public Works Trust Fund loan payments for money borrowed to connect Veranda Beach to the City of Oroville’s sewer system, annual support for the Economic Alliance and assisting Omak with debt service on the Stampede Arena.

When Olson said he thought the monies were supposed to be used for economic development, Danison responded, “A sound and functioning water system is the cornerstone of any community being able to develop.”

He said the county uses $100,000 of the .09 monies to fund the Economic Alliance.

Danison, who was appointed head of a steering committee charged with directing fire recovery efforts for the North Central Washington Economic Development District, then went on to report on activities related to a fire recovery grant. He reported the District received five proposals for a community engagement piece, and six proposals to to conduct a data collection effort.

“We have some good proposals from some top notch firms from all over the country,” Danison said. “We will be interviewing the top three or four. The idea is to get these consultants on board as soon as possible, and decide what attributes we want included in the data survey.”

Danison said Twisp Mayor Sue Ing Moody, representing the Okanogan Council of Governments (OCOG), would be meeting with WSDOT staff to see if Okanogan County would continue to be eligible for the annual $28,000 allotment for regional transportation planning.

Council member Claire Jeffko asked if improvements to the airport road would be included in the transportation plan. Danison suggested the plan could include roads accessing airports as “regionally significant, which could make funding for upgrading the road a higher priority.

“The more data we can gather over time about this, the better,” said Danison.

Olson, serving at his last city council meeting after deciding not to run for an additional term, told Danison he wanted to express his appreciation for the City Planner’s hard work.

“I respect your wisdom,” said Olson.

“I respect you as a council member,” replied Danison. “Every city should be so lucky to have a council member like you.”