Oroville approves small rezone

Fuel available at airport again

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council approved a rezone of property from commercial to residential at their Tuesday, Feb. 12 council meeting.

The request for a rezone was submitted by Greg and Charlene Helm on property they own on the south end of town near Gold Digger’s bin storage lot. The issue was discussed by the council and Chris Branch, director of community development, in a closed record hearing presided over by the mayor.

“The property and a lot stands kind of by itself next to the bin lot. They would like to rezone to residential to continue and expand its use to a second lot. The Planning Commission has recommended approval,” said Branch.

“Has there been any opposition by the neighbors?” asked Councilwoman Neysa Roley.

Branch said there had not been.

“So far what they’ve done to the property is a vast improvement over what was there,” said Councilman Jon Neal, who lives nearby.

Roley recommended approval of the zone change based on the planning commissions findings of fact and conclusions. The motion was seconded by Neal and approved unanimously, with Councilman Ed Naillon not voting because he had declared a possible conflict of interest when the hearing began.

Branch also updated the council on Okanogan County’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan update process Cities participating in the plan have been asked to include a “vision statement.”

“The staff has spent some time on the request and will be submitting a statement to you at the next meting for council consideration. Since the plan addresses wildland fire and flood I would like to work with Rod (Public Works Superintendent and Fire Chief Noel),” said Branch.

The planner also discussed the Okanogan County Tourism Council.

“I’m pretty impressed with what dollars they have, the OCTC gets about 2 percent of what the county has for tourism promotion. With their volunteers the OCTC promotes the county as a whole,” said Branch.

He added that the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA), a Canadian tourism group from the southern B.C. region, had approached the OCTC to combine resources to promote the region on both sides of the border.

“The idea is to bring tourism to our region,” Branch said, adding that the TOTA CEO Glenn Mandiziuk would like to promote multi-season tourism.

“People come here for the sun, especially on the Canadian side. We’ve convinced ourselves that’s all we are. He wants to promote multi-season tourism,” said Branch.

In another tourism related matter, City Clerk Kathy Jones said, “We were talking about dipping into the tourism reserve to have a real nice brochure made for the park. Veterans Memorial Park has brought in a lot of hotel/motel tax.”

Arnie Marchand said a potential new event was going to be discussed at the Feb. 7 chamber of commerce meeting (see related article) and requested the clerk attend for input on location and potential funding from hotel/motel taxes.

In an unrelated matter Jones said she had misspoken when she told Chris Allen during the last council meeting that he could appeal a grievance about not being appointed to the Oroville Ambulance Crew with the Emergency Aid Board. That board is only able to hear grievances from people already appointed to the crew. She also said she had complied with Allen’s public records request of the city.

Jones also reported on the transportation services provided by Okanogan County Transportation and Nutrition. She said that in 2012, OCTN provided 6,697 meals at the Oroville Senior Center and 1,114 meals were delivered to Oroville homebound seniors. There were also 3,058 transportation rides provided in the Oroville area using the door-to-door service and 13,817 transportation rides on the Oroville/Omak intercity bus. The city pays the OCTN $1500 annual to help pay for the service.

Clerk Jones reported that fuel is again available at Oroville’s Dorothy Scott Municipal Airport. She said that the fuel cost the city $34,000.

Fuel available at airport again