Community can't let city councilmembers do all the heavy lifting as developments race into the city

To the Editor,
I attended Chelan's City Council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 23. There were 18 attendees. This meeting was to adopt, modify or reject Hearing Examiner Andrew Kottkamp's recommendation of the Apple Blossom Center Planned Development District to allow multi-family zoning as a permitted use. They voted to “Adopt the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the hearing examiner as the decision of the Council.” There were four possible recommendations.
Council members put a lot of thought into their decision. There was no public comment since that time has passed for now, although I understand this will be the first of many opportunities.
Several of their comments stayed with me after the meeting.
Councilmember Chris Baker said he was "taken aback by the lack of participation" from the people in Chelan about this development. By the way, Mayor Bob Goedde has been talking about this development for months on KOZI’s Second Cup of Coffee morning show and to whoever will listen when he's at the post office or his "other office" at the Apple Cup Cafe.
Councilmember Shari Dietrich said she studied this issue thoroughly, visited the developer's other projects and thought about this situation constantly. She thanked city staff for spending hours answering her questions. She said she was not excited about the project initially, but everything appears to be in the code and the developer is asking for fewer units to build, 720 when 900 are allowed. However, "our hands are tied" by the code, she said.
Longtime Councilmember Erin McCardle, had clearly spent hours of research. She went into great detail about the zoning and Comprehensive Plan which was critical to her decision. "We are bound by the code," she noted.
Councilmember John Olson, who grew up in Chelan, left during his working years, and moved back after he retired, said "change is a constant." He views the community's reaction to change this way: We are all getting on a bus; we can let it go past us; we can get in front of it; or we can get onboard and help steer it. He asked the audience to participate in the process.
Councilmember Tim Hollingsworth said he hopes the development doesn't bring in "new" residents, but rather the ones who already work in the Valley and must commute from other towns.
Councilmember Peter Jamtgaard (via remotely) said we need to work with the developer and find common ground.
I admire Chelan's city council members who studied long and hard before they voted. However, we as a community can't let them do all the heavy lifting as developments race into the city. We need to give City Council members our voices regarding the way our community changes. Please help "steer the bus" through the numerous developments entering our valley.
Chelan City Council meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays, 6 p.m. of each month.
Lastly, thank you to Richard Uhlhorn of All Things Lake Chelan, Ken Johansson of KOZI radio and Ruth Keys of the Lake Chelan Mirror, for reporting on this meeting. We are fortunate to have so many news sources to be informed so we can express our thoughts.

Respectfully,
Gaylen Willett,
Chelan
 

User menu

NCW Media Newspapers