March Council Meeting Recap

Here are the notable Council discussions and decisions in March.  Also, are some community highlights of things that happened this month.

Discussion Topics

  • MEADOWLARK - At the study session we discussed the Meadowlark Development at length.  Even though after this meeting MEND determined they would stop the Meadowlark Development project, this was a notable conversation because of the discussion of communication between the city and developers.  MEND submitted a letter to the council of frustration with communication even after a work group was formed.  I am committed to working on better communication for our citizens and developers and take this example as one that we do not want to let happen again.
  • ADU CODE CHANGE - At the study session we discussed Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) code changes.  This was one of a series of conversations over ADU's and how we can change our code to help diversify housing in Leavenworth.
  • COUNCIL RETREAT - At the study session we recapped where we are with goal setting from our retreat.  We enjoyed long conversations at the retreat in goal setting so we did not have time to finish.  We will finish our Goal Sheet in study sessions over the next couple months.  The big projects the council brought forward are:
    • more recycling downtown
    • developing a comprehensive transportation circulation plan for the city
    • researching parking downtown and the long term plan for parking lots P1 and P2.
  • COMMUNICATION - At the March 22 meeting, I presented a communication issue with the Mayor.  I asked for it to be discussed by the Council at an executive session and the Mayor required it be discussed publicly. I am sure to some it came across as a strange thing to bring to a public meeting, and I fully agree.  I would have much preferred to keep it between the Council and they Mayor; however, I am optimistic we will find a path forward with improved process, even if it is bumpy.  Essentially, I wanted to discuss with the Council the Mayor's management of Council and committee meetings.  The discussion was covered in the April 6 issue of the Echo and will be in the Meeting Minutes.

Decisions

  • GRANTS - At the March 8 meeting, we awarded five groups funding for advertising for new events/festivals through our annual Lodging Tax Grant program.  It was a total of $10,000.
  • AUTUMN LEAF - At the March 22 meeting, we approved $15,000 for festival operations funded by the Lodging Tax fund.
  • PLANNING COMMISSION - At the March 22 meeting, we approved the Mayor's reappointment of Andy Lane.
  • ADU's - At the March 22 meeting, we approved amendments to the code to expand options for housing through Accessory Dwelling Units.  This is the first step in a long process of amending our code to offer more housing options.  Changes include:
    • allowing parking spaces from an alley
    • increased unit size to collaborate with the county (up to 1,200 sq ft depending on lot size)
    • no longer necessary for owner to occupy one of the units
  • WASTE TREATMENT FACILITY PLANNING - At the March 22 meeting, we approved an amended contract with Varela & Associates for a Facility Plan and a General Sewer Plan for a new waste treatment facility.  Our facility is old and will need replacing in about five years.  The contract is not to exceed $193,988.
  • HIGHWAY SIGN - At the March 22 meeting, we approved a maintenance agreement with the WA State Dept of Transportation (WA DOT).  WA DOT is putting in an electronic sign on our highway on the west end of town.  They were good enough to follow our Bavarian design code, but ask the City to maintain the Bavarian part of the structure.

Community Highlights

  • Ribbon cutting of Commercial street was on March 17. View the Downtown Master Plan.
  • Our longest standing council member Michael Molohon resigned this month.  The council will select a new member to take his place.  If you would like to be the next council member, you can send in a letter of interest to the City by April 12!
  • City paid for the insurance for the annual event Bike n Juice

If you have questions about any of these projects, please let me know!  As always, the minutes are available for your perusal.

mbretz@cityofleavenworth.com