AUGUST 21, 2017

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on August 21, 2017, Chairman Commissioner Jim DeTro, Commissioner Chris Branch, Commissioner Andy Hover and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board present.

Commissioners convened the board at 9:00 a.m.

Review Consent Agenda
Commissioners reviewed their consent agenda.

Briefing Among Commissioners – Discuss Individual Weekly Meetings & Schedule
Commissioners discussed the previous week’s meetings and caught up on county business they attended to . This week’s individual schedule for this week were also discussed.

Update – Central Services – Randy Clough
Mr. Clough explained his departmental projects that are underway and how he will meet compliance requirements. The Fiber switch and services must be purchased through NCI and includes fees. The fee billing cycle was supposed to be next year but NCI has billed this year, so additional funds around $2,100 will need to be supplemented.

The new Sheriff laptop upgrades will not be done until 2019 and perhaps a grant might help pay for those costs. He will keep the board updated as needed on that.

The phone system will be extended to Public Works this year. In order to move forward the software needs to be upgraded. This is a cost that may need additional funds too but he doesn’t have the total cost yet to make that determination. He does have a quote to base the cost on at around $3,000. He will follow up later on what is expected from reimbursements that might help. The health department did secure their portion of the cost through a grant so he needs to ensure there is not a time crunch for them because of that.

Employee Exempt status was discussed as it was thought that the two Central Service workers were both classified as exempt but actually they are not. Mr. Clough stated he is under contract, so his time is different. He is requesting the board to consider reclassifying the two employees under the professional exempt status. They all do specialized work, are on call all the time, put in tons of hours, and work from home. Mr. Clough explained he believes they are qualified. He also wished to bump their salary up. He has been working with HR on this and both are agreeable with the solution.

Mr. Clough explained the desire to bring Central Services and Communications under one facility as the functions are very integrated and would provide more efficiently for both departments. Commissioner Hover explained if the ballot issue is passed for the additional sales tax then there might be funding sources to improve in several areas such as address/improve courthouse security, criminal justice services and provide funds for rearranging offices for better efficiencies in the courthouse.

Mr. Clough explained there is also the matter of considering retirements next year. He would like to start discussing recruitments of people with acceptable knowledge who might be interested. He would like to be prepared.

Public Hearing – Supplemental Appropriation 117-2017 – Superior Court
Commissioner DeTro opened up the hearing to staff, seeing no staff he opened the hearing to the public for comment, seeing no public he closed the hearing to the public and opened up for commissioner discussion.

Motion Resolution 117-2017 Supplemental Appropriation Superior Court
Commissioner Branch moved to approve resolution 117-2017 a supplemental Appropriation to Superior Court in the amount of $25,000 for Jury costs. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Discussion Fair Facilities-Perry Huston
The board asked Director Huston to explain the Fair Facility fund as it appeared a revenue line for the Grandstand Ag Grant in the amount of $90,000 may skew the expense budget when those funds are not realized. It is not certain if the revenue line was miss-labeled or whether the county was expecting the Dept. of Ag grant to be realized, but when it wasn’t the revenue looks overstated. Director Huston suggested going over the revenue and expenditure lines to identify the fund status in terms of meeting expenses. We need to discuss whether the facility is seasonal or year round. It would be difficult to pay for part time year round staffing with only the rental fees.

Commissioner Hover discussed wanting to keep a full time employee in the office year round. He stated the county may need to infuse extra money into the fairgrounds facility budget in order to do so. The only money the grounds make is the money it generates from rentals. Commissioner Branch discussed the revenue generated by the fair should also be able to support some of the grounds expenses. An expense the fair doesn’t really pay for is the staff support needed to maintain the grounds throughout the year in order to put on the fair.

Commissioner Branch explained if staff promoted the facility would that generate enough additional revenue if the fair is not able to support the shortfall, does the county legally have to have a fair?

Director Huston suggested the board generate a revenue projection and figure out the expenses for 2017 then make some adjustments where needed. The commissioners agree Monday, August 28 at 9:30 a.m. would be the best time to go over the fairgrounds budget.

Continued Public Hearing – Marijuana Operations Moratorium
Eight people attended the hearing including David Gecas, Dan Higbee, Pam Wyllson.

The recorder was turned on and a sign in sheet was generated.

Director Huston explained this is the continued hearing for Marijuana Operations Moratorium. The board did move to exclude retail and expansion at the last meeting. the procedural requirements have been met. Another thing is the membership on the advisory committee. He explained the Vesting in the regulatory scheme. Director Huston provided a memo noting the cannabis advisory committee, provided history and purpose of the committee. The list of names were provided.

Commissioner Branch suggested looking at consistent standards for committees that people recognize so people interested in serving know what the criteria is for a productive committee. Director Huston believes it is a debate of marijuana yes or no, but rather to review the district use chart, and the general conditions and standards that apply to all. The board believes that to be consistent.

Director Huston stated the action at the end of the day is to repeal, leave in place the findings and reasons if left in place, and preparation of a resolution adopting the findings of fact and conclusions for commissioner consideration in the future.

Commissioner DeTro opened the hearing up for public comments.

Laura Jones Edwards resident of North Pine Creek what has the board accomplished since the moratorium has been started. A Water quality question was posed. The grows use lots of water and residents water rights are something she hopes will be addressed. There is a grow spraying herbicide and about three hundred feet from her well and there are owls nests and a creek nearby which is part of the sockeye recovery program and her concern is the pesticides going into the water and affecting wildlife and drinking water. Things are happening with the grows that make living in her neighborhood much less attractive with smells, lights, noise and worker activity. Property values may be going down as people cannot sell their property. These concerns need to be addressed. The grows are very unattractive blocking views of forests and meadow territory She is hoping the commissioners consider water use monitoring, more attractive operations, and keeping grows out of residential areas.

Katherine Stangland school board director land owner neighbor public official who lives on Aeneas Lake. She doesn’t know what the board has been doing with the grows. Her concerns are noise, deep bass and rap music, skunk smell of the plants, lights in the winter affects the viewablilty of stars, traffic activity, environmental concerns use of existing wells and their effect on water table, impacts on lake streams and fish, waste water discharge, plant debris, increase in electrical use, air quality. The season starts with chicken poo smell and ends the season with skunk smell. She does have health concerns with marijuana use. The fact grows are increasing in the area sends a message to students that this is cool the perception of risk by youth on the use of marijuana is that it is okay and students do not see it as a problem and concerns about impact on them in the future. Significant use of marijuana has increased and significant increase in calls to Washington state due to marijuana use. She would like to meet the growers as she is intimidated to walk up and introduce herself. Are they part of the community how will they benefit the community if moratorium is cancelled. She would like for them to be a good neighbor and she would like to be too. She hears that there are 17 additional grows in the Aeneas Lake area but doesn’t know for sure. Public official siting will affect students as a good thing ad is that the message we want to give. Concerned about increase and commissioners needing to force compliance with all the regulations and how the county will do that with limited staff. Also, the Hirst Decision impacts because it is tied to capital projects which means schools are on hold for any capital projects it is considering. She read the Hirst decision as it came from someone who had a problem with their marijuana grow. She has no idea how it will impact her school. She is unable to find any information about the meeting today. She encouraged the board to follow the spirit of the law when noticing meeting of the board.

Keith Kissler hearing a lot of about green acres and pine creek area grows and esthetics and most of the comments are due to that. The way the area is maintained could be happening with apple growers and such. The esthetics are a big issue he hopes the advisory committee can address that. The Aeneas irrigation district is not federal and that district was an easy place to put a grow with private water. There are about 10-12 grows up there due to the water. He isn’t sure if the county can do anything about that. He focused on addressing the esthetic issue. He spoke to several up there who are farmers just looking to make money. Marijuana uses less water than alfalfa, apples, cherries and uses water efficiently. He would .like the moratorium to be lifted as he is concerned about compatibility and would like to sit on the advisory committee.

Dave Sorenson lives in Winthrop. Urged the commissioners to consider lifting as it applies to processor only operations. The problems as they exist are with the grows. The processors are not offending the neighbors and often no one knows of those businesses. This moratorium does affect the processors. He asked the board to consider lifting if for those too. The advisory committee should have more than 8 people as more people would provide smaller working groups who would tackle the individual issues. There hasn’t been a lot of dialogue between the industry and those residents who have lived here a long time he suggested a meet and greet.

Commissioner DeTro closed public testimony and opened up to staff. Director Huston asked the board how they will proceed. Commissioner Branch wants people to know we have gone through two phases. He is hearing over and over again about a particular area. Everyone in the industry is suffering from the actions of a particular area. The grows are in neighborhoods or residential areas. The zoning areas doesn’t work well because they are not specific to the uses. It can be narrowed down but one issue is clear established use with a few that are causing a problem. Enforcing the code is one way, but no matter what across the board enforcement must be done. We have building codes and zoning codes that address nuisances and what he is hearing is the county should be enforcing the rules. He visited Aeneas Lake area and looked at those operations. There are certain plats for residential uses and we have a conditional use process has specific rules for water.

Director Huston explained the new zoning and the existence of the those regulations when marijuana because legal and how it was considered before. Prior to July of 2016 cannabis was not in the zone code and previous commissioners considered it like agriculture. Commissioner Hover reiterated that some districts agriculture activities was segregated out. Director Huston replied no, the distinction was farms for the growing of fruit and hay, but not livestock. Feed lots is treated differently. Ag is not allowed in some zones and other with CUP. There are three types of state licenses. Director Huston explained what those were as they relate to our code. Would the permit for cooking of salsa be the same as processing of marijuana? Director Huston explained the differences. Commissioner Hover stated removing the moratorium would be a good idea. Commissioner DeTro explained he hoped the legislators will address the Hirst decision. The school board is affected too by the Secrue Rural Schools not be authorized. The Aeneas Lake irrigation is served by private water and they may also receive funds. The reason for the advisory committee is collect input which then advises and provides ideas to the commissioners. The reason we are here is because the industry doesn’t hear about the bad apples the board hears about. It is a new industry and we are not here to debate whether it is good or bad but rather figure out how Okanogan County uphold the laws.

Mr. Gecas did not really have any comments. He discussed the definition of ag and Okanogan County is not the only county dealing with this.

Director Huston reminded the board on the process. The advisory committee would come up with a proposal that has to go to the Planning Commission and it is they who will send the board a recommendation then it is scheduled before the commissioners for public review.

Motion Marijuana Operations
Commissioner Branch moved to remove processing from the moratorium. Motion was seconded, Commissioner Branch clarified remove new processing applications from the moratorium, all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Branch discussed the subdivisions that are planned for residential areas and how those are identified for removal from areas allowed. The challenge with subdivisions was discussed. CUP does require consideration of parking, lighting etc.. the hearing examiner can put more conditions than what is in the code but he cannot make put less conditions. There are sometimes unique situations that can be applied with special conditions. Neighborhood commercial zones. Director Huston explained subdivisions were geared towards residential development. The issue may be those that have smaller lots with 5 acre lots then those with 1 are lots. He would need to see how they are clustered. Commissioner Branch asked the board to consider the concept.

Director Huston does not see anything that prohibits the board from adopting an interim control as an option. Commissioner Branch believes that is an alternative to moratorium. It could bring something close to a regulatory control and could get recommendation from advisory committee which is adopted as an interim control then go through the steps to refine it. Commissioner Branch is looking for predictability in the business so those investing can rely something. Commissioner DeTro stated he is getting feedback from some people in Chelan County about new technology that can be installed to address the lighting and the smells. Sun growers have reasons for wanting to grow in the sun rather than indoors.

Commissioner Hover stated he isn’t ready to do anything further today on this until input from the committee is provide. Commissioner Branch stated no matter what there is the enforcement issue. Explore the issue with the lighting, parking, partying and things that are going on at particular sites that can be addressed by both state and county codes for enforcement. If there is a group that started acting out in one way or another the complaints would be addressed somewhere else other than the code. Mr. Gecas stated the nuisance codes do have exceptions for farming activity noise but playing your bass music could be addressed. Commissioner Branch stated the complaints he is hearing are coming from the same area about the same thing.

Leave the moratorium in place but allow application for processing. Interim controls for the short terms.

Commissioner Hover moved directing staff to compose an amended moratorium removing the processing and adopting findings of facts and conclusions of law. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

This concludes the public hearing for this.

Commissioner DeTro closed the public hearing.

Update – Planning – Perry Huston
Members of the public Lorah Super, Allan Fahnstock, taking notes and Keith Kissler

Hubbard Orchard tracts showed a street public road that went through the center of the plat and in the years that followed no one recognized that connection. The board was can send a letter to DOT showing the platted access to highway 97. Does the board wish to send the letter to DOT telling them those are vested accesses? The engineer reviewed the draft and noted that it is a public street, not a county road. Access may have been purchased to access the highway, it is unknown at this time. A map was provided of the property which is south of Riverside. A public access would need to meet the standards of the state highway. The county would not suggest waiving those standards.

Commissioners discussed the possibility of Eastlake Sewer prepaid connections stubs. The objectives is to bring it up to the proponents. We do need to figure out what to do about it on Eastlake. Commissioner Branch wants to ensure the county works with the city on this as the city is extending water lines ¼ of a mile to each separate lot.

Some two years ago FEMA came to us on a project for community assistance for a detailed study area in terms of our flood study area. It is a very detailed elevation flood study area. There is a meeting set for September 20 at 1:00 p.m. in the commissioners hearing room.

Motion Tonasket Ems District
Commissioner Hover moved to adjourn as the BOCC and reconvene as the Tonasket EMS District. Motion was seconded all were in favor, motion carried.

Commissioner Branch moved to approve the Voucher certification and authorize the Tonasket EMS District vouchers to be paid in the amount of $1080.26. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Director Huston is meeting with Mr. Walker of Life Line to go over the site issues and may revert back to the language of upgrading the building within the confines of the funds available. There isn’t really enough revenue to spend on rebuilding the station and providing housing. There is also the rent the parish wishes to collect that must be considered in the near future.

Commissioner Branch moved to adjourn as the Tonasket EMS and Reconvene as the BOCC Motion was seconded all were in favor, motion carried.

Discussion – Shoreline Master Program

Shoreline Master Program
Time was set aside today to go over some Shoreline designations. Flood plain information provided by Lorah Super was received and is laid against some other information for future review. (attached) Be it under flood management, critical areas, whatever it falls under this will be a future discussion. The LIDAR map was discussed. The county Arcview map of the river way was projected on the wall. It would be difficult to overlay some of the information together with our information.

The commissioners debated the changes and maps presented by Planning staff. The draft has been cleaned up and is on the Planning website.

Motion Shoreline Master Plan to Ecology
Commissioner Hover moved to send the draft Shoreline Master Plan to Ecology. Motion was seconded, Commissioner Branch opposed, motion carried.

Review Meeting Minutes
Commissioners ran out of time and did not review the minutes today.

Commissioners adjourned for the day at 5:00 p.m.