AUGUST 27, 2018

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met for its regular session on August 27, 2018, with Commissioner Jim DeTro, Chairman, Commissioner Chris Branch Vice-Chairman; Commissioner Andy Hover, Member; and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

Review Commissioners Agenda and Consent Agenda
Josh Thomson, Tanya Craig

Engineer Thomson was given this time to discuss a request for use of accrued annual leave from a Public Works employee who has not yet worked the 6-month probationary period. The commissioners discussed the request and what authority they have to grant it in accordance with union contracts and county personnel policies.

Ms. Craig explained that the Medical services officer resigned the position in the Jail. The position doesn’t require the same level of education or certification as other medical service officers, but the position can be filled by either a Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA); Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN); or Registered Nurse (RN). She asked the board if they would consider increasing the salary of the position in order to appeal to applicants with LPN or RN certificates. Ms. Craig explained the work to be done is more fitting for a CNA. Commissioners replied it would depend on the experience of a particular applicant as to the consideration of the starting salary.

Motion Resolution 90-2018 Public Works
Commissioner Hover moved to approve resolution 90-2018 which authorized Public Works probationary employee, Matthew Stevie, to use accumulated annual leave for an absence in August. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Discussion Fair Gates-Stella Columbia
Pam Johnson, Deputy Treasurer and Pastor James, Faith Mission Baptist Church

Ms. Columbia was asked to explain the process used to secure a group to manage the fair gates. She previously contacted several groups about manning the fair gates and none were interested. (attached) Subsequently, the Faith Mission Baptist Church was referred to the Fair office by Livestock chairman, Sam Buchert. Pastor James has agreed to man the gates with the help of his congregation. Ms. Columbia invited him to speak with the commissioners about the proposal.

Pastor James provided a draft schedule utilizing 25 people from his congregation. Many are long time members of the church and will be used as the core group handling the gates. Additional members will provide fill in. (attached.)

The amount negotiated for the gate responsibility was $6400. The agreement will be drafted with the particulars.

Commissioner Hover stated the gate should be located where it has always been located. The gate located north of the Agriplex allows better access to both the north and south ends which will provide better controls. The smaller entrance directly south of the Agriplex gets too congested especially when folks are loading and unloading.

The Pastor stated his church is interested in providing this function going forward. The commissioners feel this would be a good partnership. A contract will need to be created for this year. Commissioner Hover stated Ms. Craig will draft it.

The Treasurer’s office will provide the necessary training to the church group this week. Commissioner Hover stated it is a huge responsibility and the group must practice good cash handling and good internal controls. Pastor James said the group has cash handling experience because they do the concessions at the Stampede and that is a big responsibility. Ms. Johnson explained a system of checks and balances is already in place, the group will need to attend the training and learn what the county expects. A contract will be needed prior to the fair.

Discussion Grant Management
Auditor Thomas, Finance Cari Hall, Treasurer McCormack, Deputy Pam Johnson

Auditor Thomas explained in light of the county’s finding she would like employees to make sure they are following the county’s grant management policy. She isn’t sure employees are following the county policy. She reminded the commissioners the policy calls for a grant administrator. Auditor Thomas thought the position could be paid for with grant administration dollars. Commissioner Hover asked if that position would be under the commissioners. Yes, stated Ms. Hall but that position would benefit the whole county. Commissioner Hover explained it is a position that requires a motivated person to look for money that can offset the cost of having a grant manager. She explained grants have a limit on what they can be used for and use of the funds for administration is limited, not all grants have administration dollars to use. Ms. Hall explained a spreadsheet could be used to track hours that could be used to offset grant funds. Right now Ms. Hall said goes through and corrects all of the accountability reports she receives from the departments to ensure accuracy for the end report. The grant manager would work closely with the departments that have grants to ensure all documents submitted are accurate and timely. Commissioner DeTro would like to ensure that whoever is selected is vetted and has the credentials and experience to do it all. Commissioner Branch thought the consideration to the policy adopted in 2014 may need to be reviewed and updated. Auditor Thomas remembers it being very comprehensive. She stated one danger to mismanaging the grants is that it can affect the county’s ability to do business. The right person would be able to catch issues before they become an issue.

Commissioner Branch thought a good review of the county’s grant management policy would benefit the board and those involved with grants. The commissioners will consider the Auditor’s suggestion in order to avoid future findings where grants are concerned.

Briefing Among Commissioners–Discuss Individual Weekly Meetings & Schedule
Commissioners discussed their individual meeting schedules.

Public Hearing – OCC 17A.290 & 220 Cannabis Operations and District Use Chart
Perry Huston, Angie Hubbard

The Clerk of the Board turned on the audio recorder.

Member of the public Emily Sisson turned on her personal video and audio recorder.

Commissioner DeTro opened the hearing at 1:30 p.m. stating the public hearing was to receive comments on the revisions of Okanogan County Code 17A.290 & 220 regarding Cannabis operations and the County’s district use chart. He opened the hearing up for staff report.

Director Huston provided his staff report and explained what the commissioners were to consider as the amendments to the county code regarding cannabis operations. He provided a written copy of the draft ordinance and code revisions. (attached) The recitals in the ordinance lay out the critical path. Resolutions were previously adopted which created a moratorium while the subject matter was reviewed by an advisory committee. He relayed those recitals in the draft. The advisory committee did go to two cannabis operation sites. They did amend their proposal for interim controls afterward. One subject still unresolved was impacts to neighbors due to odor because that was the tricky one. Two approaches were considered. Distance was a big factor in odor control and info gleaned from the advisory committee was to minimize the number of people impacted. There were some setbacks that were created and the fence issue was to be considered as structures for this purpose. It did not set a buffer around the high density areas. The Planning Commission amended the district use chart to require a CUP in the R1 and Methow Review district.

Director Huston discussed definition of high density from the view point of basic lot size. He also discussed the enforcement section revision which are subject to OCC 17A.360.
Commissioners discussed the WAC for odors essentially ties it back to an industry standard then it is assumed that what we are doing is reasonably unobtrusive and in compliance with the standard. There was reliance on setbacks etc.… that primarily addressed odor. Commissioner Hover asked if production practices changed and multiple crops are produced, would that be considered outside what the law allows. Director Huston explained some types of plants have more odor then others, so it would depend on the industry. It has been acknowledged throughout the process.

Commissioner Branch asked about the right to farm ordinance and whether there was consistency. Director Huston stated what is on the books in the right to farm ordinance protects the operator from nuisances but they must demonstrate what they are doing is an acceptable practice. The WACs do protect with in the industrial standards.

Jeremy Thiel Twisp. Mr. Thiel testified last time to the previous board of commissioners about Benson Creek. He assured the commissioners that the marijuana operators on Benson Creek have done nothing, since the day he testified, to address the concerns of the residences that live there. In fact he believes it is even worse now since it has a revolving door and many come and go. The property manager changes regularly. The property owner wants to put as many tenants as possible on the property. He stated Craig’s list advertises the property for lease regularly. He isn’t sure if the county knows what is going on up there or not. Do the county commissioners even understand the magnitude of people accessing the property day in and day out. It is a commercial corporation and it is being protected under the guise of farming and agriculture. He doesn’t see how it is farming because mature plants are put the ground without having been grown there. The plants get imported from other places and there is no regular agricultural grow season. It doesn’t seem like the county has a good handle on identifying the particular circumstances that are happening. He doesn’t care about pot, but he does care about the residents. There used to be neighbors who walked their kids on the road to enjoy their neighborhood. Now they don’t take walks along the road anymore, they no longer push their baby strollers along the road, and the neighborhood no longer feels safe or enjoyable. He believes it is because there is so much traffic now many drive unsafely and on the wrong side of the road.

Also, the fences are not being looked at for what they are. The owner of the land is never on site as he only interested in putting as many marijuana operators as possible on the property. Does the county even know how many operators can utilize a particular property?

Ms. Friedman Twisp, Ms. Friedman explained the work she had done to prepare her comments regarding marijuana operations. She feels there is a big difference between what is actually happening on the ground versus what the draft code is actually addressing. She said she toured two operations that thought their facility was positive, but both learned how to grow multiple crops and now have peak odor from June to October, all of the summer months. People have a huge concern with that. The regulations were being considered for a grow period less than June to October. Tier I Tier II and Tier III grows and the regulations created for those tiers were for something other than reality. From an outside perspective it could look like much more. She went to the Wolf Creek grow operations and those were supposed to be exemplary. It appears those were the ones that invested in the community first and then went to great lengths to protect their neighbors. These regulations do not go far enough. The health of the Methow economy and the well-being of people are tied to tourism. The stinky stuff from these farms can affect where people go on vacations. What are the risks to the economic well-being for those parts of the county that are tied to tourism? Geographies where tight valleys exist seem to hold the smell in the valley whereas open areas on the plains seem to dissipate the odor much better. The issue is that the odor is present for six months out of the year and that kind of changes things for her. She read from her previous comment submitted to the Planning Commission. During certain grow times the green houses light up the whole hillside in the middle of the night. She been woken up by it thinking it was morning. Some greenhouses have shades some do not, but it should be required when grow lights are used. That needs to be explicit. She isn’t sure what to do with existing grows, but new grows should consider the buffer and right now that buffer it too little. The current amount for buffer is not adequate. The issue with scale also needs to be addressed. There is already, in the rule, something that prevents hemp growers from being too close to cannabis growers. There are also rules and violation enforcements that pertain to new grows that should also pertain to the others.

Lorah Super refrained.

Commissioner DeTro closed public testimony and opened up to commissioners’ discussion.

Commissioner Branch asked about the issue of density with regards to the 30,000 sq. ft. grow. Director Huston stated there is something that could restrict such as Gamble Gwinn how much water a particular canopy is allowed. Legal water supply exempt well can supply water up to 40,000 sq. ft. but if you have a water right it may allow whatever the irrigation district allows. Licenses OCC has applied legal preexisting to the land not the site. Who is in there doesn’t matter, so many swap out, under the current existing site. Licenses can be moved in or out of the legal preexisting sites, he said. He has not seen the case where the land owner does not hold a marijuana license. He doesn’t know what he can do to develop an amortization schedule. Commissioner Branch is less inclined to deal with it that way. Businesses are located where they are because our code is lacking where residential can be and we will deal with that until converted.

Director Huston stated an amendment of that nature to expand language to be specific to the intent with regards to lighting then it may be remanded back to the Planning Commission. Commissioner Branch explained there is a use out there that affects the viability of a subdivision and he doesn’t have the predictability of what will be next door. If there is a mixed use in the district and predictability should be addressed. Security lighting are an issue in other areas.

Commissioner Hover doesn’t have questions. Commissioner DeTro stated we be reminded that this would be a work in progress due to the problems that come up that are not foreseeable. He reminded everyone that even though referred to as a “farm” they are not recognized that way. It opens up too many cans of worms. The initiative classified it as a controlled substance. He wished there were ways to apply a tiered lease situation; the assessor has no way to tell either about the personal property. The state with the money they are collecting could supply some for criminal justice. Some sections can be remanded. Director Huston stated should the commissioners remand it would be useful if the commissioners offered specific areas they are concerned with.

Commissioner Hover said the draft lighting rule provisions are not adequate. Commissioner Branch and Commissioner DeTro agree. Commissioner Hover would like a time period where the green house operation is to be covered. The language for the noise needs to cover planning commission has read through the WACs and understands where the noise threshold actually is to eliminate the ambiguity. The noise ordinance on the books may not fully address the kind of noise.

Commissioner Branch has a concern about density of operations. The commissioners wish to remand this back to both the Planning Commission and Advisory Committee.

1) Lighting-cover greenhouses during a certain period.
2) Noise-addressed in noise ordinance
3) Reduce the ability to Daisy chain on a single lease.
4) Odor duration
5) Traffic flow for sites with processors because many people are coming and going to process the plants.

Director Huston stated the site that was visited had only two deliveries one in the morning and one at night and only four employees. Commissioner Hover stated the site near him, which he doesn’t have an issue with but as an example there are many coming and going well above four and deliveries happening more often. Director Huston stated there is nothing in the code that addresses that. Hours of operation would need to be set.

Commercial and industrial uses are competing with residential uses, explained Commissioner Branch. Location, location, location must be part of the future considerations of the regulations to be adopted. Commissioner Hover explained there might be other uses compatible with the operation. There are exceptions to be considered.

Director Huston explained his understanding of what the commissioners want as a result of this hearing. Commissioner Branch would like the advisory committee to be utilized. Commissioner DeTro stated remand it to the Planning Commission and if they wish for the advisory committee to participate they can ask. The two sweeping changes will be to the district use chart.

Motion Remand OCC 17A.290 & 220
Commissioner Hover moved to direct staff to contain all the recommendations in a memo and remand the 17A.290 back to the Planning Commission for further deliberation. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Motion Set Public Hearing
Commissioner Hover moved to adopt new interim controls replacing the previous interim controls and sets a public hearing on Monday, September 17, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.
Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Update – Planning – Perry Huston

Planning Dept. Study Session
Commissioner Hover explained an email from Ecology that he got that talks about grants that can help citizens upgrade their septic systems. Riverside is not yet pursuing this, but the grant would need to come through the county. There is a small community assistance coordinator from Colville. Also, Craft 3 provides loan assistance for land owners but the application has to come through the county somehow.

Motion Executive Session RCW 42.30.110 (1)(b)
Commissioner Hover moved to go into executive session at 3:55 p.m. for 10 minutes to discuss acquisition of real estate by purchase when public knowledge regarding such consideration would cause a likelihood of increased cost. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

Executive session ended at 4:05 p.m. no decisions were made.

1) Water Availability Study Areas
DOE OSS Grants
Director Huston explained he is getting responses back for a planning unit and participation. He is beginning to build the planning unit list for commissioners’ consideration. Commissioner Branch asked about the facilitation and revisiting the issue Craig Nelson previously discussed the idea with the board. No, he is still gaging the situation and he feels there will be some challenges with others. He has not followed that up.

Director Huston stated Vanessa was not confident the $50,000 or 150,000 would be eligible for acquisition of water rights. DOE gave him another name of someone who may be tied into the vetting process for the other grant.

2) Wolf Management
There are still some outstanding issues. There is a meeting scheduled for the 10th. The commissioners are still looking at that.

Planning Dept. Administrative Session
1) Lake Management District #1
Director Huston provided a draft proposal of an ordinance forming the Lake Management District. The ballots are weighted depending on the number of parcels a particular landowner owns. Where are the commissioners at with their decision?
Director Huston provided the RCW 36.61.090 and 36.61.100 for reference regarding the vote. The draft ordinance was previously provided to the civil deputy for comment, but those have not been sent yet. A 40 day appeal period follows the vote. Director Huston was not sure if the Treasurer Auditor would like to discuss prior to the board adopting the ordinance.

Discussion – Okanogan Behavioral Healthcare - Recovery Month 9/22 Event - Agriplex Waiver Request – Jim Novelli
Mr. Novelli explained the event is gearing up to be a large event. Originally the contract allowed use of the Agriplex facility, but now he believes there will be a need to use the Annex and kitchen. Commissioner Hover thought the group could use the parking lot. He does not want this event to impact the county’s budget or staff. Mr. Novelli stated the group will be out by 6:00 p.m. they intend to provide the clean-up themselves. Stella Columbia explained the commissioners approved one thing but the contract stated something entirely different and she wanted to ensure the use is in accordance with the commissioners’ previous approval.

Would it be a problem if OBHC came early to set things up? Ms. Columbia said there is no conflict with other events for use of the Agriplex, Annex, and Kitchen on September 21 or 22. Commissioners reviewed the written draft waiver which only says Agriplex.

Motion Waiver Annex and Kitchen for OBHC Use for Recovery Month
Commissioner Hover moved to additionally waive the fees associated with the kitchen and annex for Okanogan Behavioral Healthcare to use the facility for the Recovery Month Event set on Saturday, September 22, 2018 event. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

A proclamation draft was submitted recognizing September as recovery month, and Mr. Novelli asked if the board would consider signing it as Judge Rawson will read aloud. The commissioners said they would.

3) WRIA 49
Director Huston has returned providing overlays to the Ordinances and map (attached). The lower Methow reach goes from Twisp River all the way down. Commissioner Hover is not ready to adopt an ordinance with that overlay yet. The issues that we are dealing with in the Methow are several according to Director Huston. The water supply in the lower Methow may be bumped up against the two. Throughout WRIA 48. If someone wants to subdivide land what do they do? Director Huston discussed several approaches we can take. Does not say anything now for water adequacy. Specific for WRIA 48 it would be part of their application packet is one approach, another is to identify all of 48 as a study. The third approach is to deal with the lower Methow specifically.

Commissioner Hover would like to discuss Tunk area first. Director Huston says we are dealing with the issue if there is physical and legal water and then senior water rights. Consistently heard from senior water right holders that ability to get their water is impaired. Director Huston read the proposed changes of the purpose of the water availability study area designation as far as what the study is to determine. If adopted would take place as interim control. Commissioners think that Tamarack Spring should be included. Commissioner Hover asked if someone bought a banked water right out of senior adjudicated water rights and they punch a well and if it impaired someone’s adjudicated senior water rights that is okay? Director Huston said that is exactly the case based on priority dates. Anyone buying water out of that bank assumes that priority date. Discussed western water law and the local issues created. Commissioner Branch stated for the final plat there isn’t enough detail to know whether adequate water was demonstrated and steps involved so they know what challenges they face before they encounter. Director Huston is only talking about those where water is restricted and people will have additional issues with water supply. Whether that should be upfront? We move ahead with it in accordance with our code. Another question poised to Attorney Gecas was about preliminary approval and it is not clear whether it is appealable. Ordinarily the appeal language is published with final approval language. The local code allows appeals to be administrative. He will check with Attorney Gecas as he has access to West Law.

Motion Correspondence Susewind
Commissioner Hover moved to approve the letter outlining the wolf issues that happened on July 12 and invited Director Susewind to meet with the board about it Sept. 10, 2018. Motion was seconded, all were in favor, motion carried.

The board adjourned at 5:00 p.m.