Tonasket Ave. and yard sale ordinances pass

Grant application for pool denied

TONASKET – Ordinances to regulate the proliferation of yard sales in Tonasket, and to manage traffic in the Tonasket Avenue area, were passed at the Tuesday, May 28, Tonasket City Council meeting.

The yard sale ordinance requires registration of such sales within the city and limits the frequency and signage related to such sales.

It had nearly been moved on at the previous meeting, but the council had decided that it only wanted the ordinance to apply to residential areas.

The council still felt the need to make some adjustment to the ordinance, primarily regarding signage.

“Is the intent to not have signs on city property?” asked council member Scott Olson. “It seems to read that it can’t go on a friend’s yard, or that this could affect places like Beyers or the TVBRC. I would like to hold it to city property.”

The ordinance was so amended, limiting the number of signs that could be posted in the city’s right of way, specifying that signs needed to be put up and taken down each day that a sale was in progress, and reiterating state law that no signs could be posted on utility poles or traffic signs.

The second ordinance turns Tonasket Avenue into a one-way street (heading southbound) between Division and Third, as well as establishing a no parking zone on the north side of Second Ave. on the downhill side of the alley.

Both ordinances can take effect on June 11, although the changes to Tonasket Ave. may take a bit longer depending on the availability of signage.

Ticketed Martell lambastes mayor

Ron Martell, who has been at odds with the council and particularly the mayor over his inability, or unwillingness, to connect his business at 108 Winesap to the municipal sewer system, had a number of things to say after he was presented with a ticket for not having done so for the past three years.

“I didn’t know that this town has enough money to send an officer down to deliver a ticket,” Martell said. “Here we go again around this circle. You’re coming at me again, and I spoke numerous times to (city clerk) Alice (Attwood) and (Building Official) Christian (Johsnston) that that sewage was going in. I’m not on your timetable. You understand? Just as things don’t go down here in the city with water. You do it on a timetable when you can afford it.”

Martell said he felt that George Hill should also be ticketed for having an outhouse on his property (which is in an industrial area; Martell’s is in a business zone) and that conditions of Plumb’s employment at North Valley Hospital rendered Martell incapable of showing respect to the mayor.

“What does this have to do with your ticket?” Plumb asked.

“What I’m saying is, why are you directing this at me when there are other situations in town that you’re turning a blind eye to?” asked Martell.

“I haven’t turned a blind eye, as far as I know,” Plumb said. “It’s been three years. Three.”

“Why wasn’t it addressed 15 years ago (before Martell bought the property)?”

“I was in elementary school at the time,” Plumb said.

The exchange continued for a while longer before Martell’s three minutes expired, after which he left.

Martell appeared at a council meeting nearly a year ago when he had a similarly contentious exchange, after which he put his business up for sale.

Later in the meeting, council member Jill Vugteveen and Olson thanked Plumb for following up on dealing with the Martell situation.

“Thank you for doing that,” Vugteveen said. “I know that wasn’t easy to sit and take that.”

Olson said he had an additional issue with Martell’s property that needed to be dealt with.

“I kid you not, this was already on my list before I got here tonight,” he said. “The RV that’s on his property looks like it has someone living in it … don’t we have a code against living in an RV in the city?”

“We certainly do,” said council member Jean Ramsey. “I had Christian check on that two years ago. At that time that gentleman was unplugged, but every time I drove by it was plugged in.”

Plumb noted that someone else that had been living in an RV on a local church property had recently been asked to move, as well. Attwood said building official/permit administrator Christian Johnson would be in town the next day and she would ask him to check on the situation for the council.

Pool grant denied, spray park progresses

City planner Kurt Danison reported that an attempt to secure a small grant to start planning for a new swimming pool from the Community Foundation of North Central Washington failed.

“At some point we just sit and wait until the community wants to do something,” Danison said. “It’s almost too late at this point to even think that we’ll make application next year for funding for it.”

Danison added that the Tonasket Water Ranch spray park continues to progress despite additional issues that have cropped up, including the need for a cultural resource (archeological) survey and the need to ensure adequate drainage, which should be able to be handled by using existing infrastructure related to the restrooms and pumping it to the sewage treatment plant.

“In the end that’s the most cost effective, too, because the existing infrastructure may be able to handle it,” Danison said. “But the group putting it in is responsible for all the capital costs to make it happen.”

Vugteveen later commented that while she is supportive of the spray park project, it’s been a good illustration of how difficult the true cost of such a project can be.

“I’m amazed how when we started it’s gone from being a $20-40,000 project, and now they’ve raised $93,000 and it’s still not enough,” she said. “I’m not discrediting Linda (Black) and her work. It’s just amazing how much projects like this grow from these original conceptions. I’m sure they didn’t know there would have to be an archeological survey when they started.”

“Like we find out every time we try to put in a sewer line,” Plumb said. “That’s why when I say $2 million for a swimming pool, and people are like, ‘What?'”

“That’s why we get apprehensive about adopting these great new ideas (at city cost),” Vugteveen said. “The cost definitely changes a lot.”

Odds and ends

* Council member Lee Hale announced his resignation from the council, effective immediately, as he is moving to Clarkston;

* The mayor proclaimed May 24-27 as Poppy Days on behalf of the American Legion Auxiliary, which has sponsored Poppy Days for more than 80 years in remembrances of armed forces veterans;

* The council authorized Johnson to pursue a grant application for funding to help with a pedestrian bridge that would provide better access to the Armed Forces Legacy Park.

The city council next meets Tuesday, June 11, at 7 p.m.