AUGUST 10, 2020

The Okanogan County Board of Commissioners met in regular session at 123 5th Avenue North, Okanogan, Washington on August 10, 2020, with Vice Chairman, Commissioner Chris Branch; Member, Commissioner Andy and Laleña Johns, Clerk of the Board, present.

Chairman, Commissioner Jim DeTro; absent.

All Commissioners meetings are video recorded and on file on the county’s website.

Review Commissioners Agenda and Consent Agenda
Commissioners reviewed their agenda and consent agenda items.

Briefing Among Commissioners’ – Discuss Individual Weekly Meetings & Schedules
Commissioners discussed meeting minutes and schedules.

Review Meeting Minutes
Commissioners reviewed their meeting minutes and offered corrections.

Public Works -Engineer Josh Thomson
Josh Thomson provided his agenda and discussed the items listed there.

Maintenance and road conditions
The complaint regarding Pleasant Valley West Rd was discussed. It is the State’s issue on Highway 20 with the edge of the asphalt issue. DOT needs to patch. The rest of the road appeared to be good. We should do our gravel work if the state decides to do their part. Engineer Thomson stated Mr. Tom Pitts would not be coming in at 11:30 as scheduled.

Bob Neil Rd FFC 09, 2019 ADT=194 16% trucks
Engineer Thomson looked at the road last week. It is a 25 mph road and we do have it on our plan to chip seal and pre-level in 2021.

Commissioner Branch said, it and the pre-design work should be on the EDD project list in order apply for grants. When pre-design work was done beforehand, it was disqualified. Could the county do the pre-design work? Alternatives were looked at for that road, but some did not want that to happen. There was also encroachment onto the highway and water issues as the road is in a low spot. To get funding it should be on the 6-year transportation program in time for the awarding of the funds. Some funding requirements do require the project to be on the plan.

Loup Loup Canyon Rd -MP 5 Drivable Ford
Engineer Thomson discussed Loup Loup Canyon Road. He said this road and the creek has fanned out. A Creek guard was proposed but would cost $32,000 with Public works installing. A solution is needed for this segment of the road. Commissioner Hover thought the Colville Tribe might be able to help with this and may have some ideas and use of fish dollars.

Sinlahekin Rd-Sinlahekin Ck Drivable Ford MP 12.2
Engineer Thomson said this could use a creek guard too and this one is a priority.

Columbia River Rd-CCT project
CCT has a project at the end of Columbia River Road. Their contractor recommended no trucks over 2200 lbs. There is no detour available, signs were recommended by the mill and where Cameron Lake cutoff road is. Two weeks ago, the south bound lane was blocked off to non-tribal members. There are quite a few people who live out there.

Snow Park Road Maintenance
We have a contract with State Parks to snowplow and groom trails. Some of the road beyond the county road is bad. There has been funds to pay for the maintenance, but the county is now asking State Parks to maintain those roads before we can plow. Registrations were low last year, however, so getting the needed funds may not happen.

Bridge Deck Preservation
Looking at different products to do the bridge decking as there is delamination of some bridge decks. Engineer Thomson suggested a product that Grant County uses for this year because we cannot seal ones that are already delaminating. Oroville Bridge on Highway 7 is a priority and there are some funds in the budget to do that one. Ellisforde and Monse bridges will be looked at too.

Office Computers
Engineer Thomson stated the Auditor will need to provide the proper BARS codes for COVID related expenses so the county may get reimbursed for the purchase.

Public Works 2021 Budget
Engineer Thomson explained a full chip seal budget for 2021 is entered for consideration.

Commissioner Hover discussed the Capital Facilities plan for Public Works. Engineer Thomson said the cost to upgrade the Tonasket and Winthrop shops would come from the road fund and Capital Improvement fund. Commissioner Hover suggested replacement of those shops be next on the list.

Thomson explained a water line that serves the Forest Service building crosses the Public Works parking lot. He isn’t sure there is an easement to cross county property or not.

Commissioners adjourned for lunch at 11:40 p.m.

Cancelled Discussion Pleasant Valley Rd. W-Tom Pitts
Engineer Thomson said this meeting was cancelled by Mr. Pitts.

Update-Planning Director Pete Palmer
Director Palmer provided her departmental update. She met with Methow trails about the vaulted toilet to understand the grant. There are a few remaining items to enter into the Grant application for the toilet then it will be ready for signature. David Gecas already signed off on the Sole Source form for the purchase of the vaulted toilet from CTX.

Director Palmer updated the board on the Critical areas’ ordinance comment period. It does not qualify for risk pool review, does the board want David Gecas to review? Commissioners believed a qualified land use attorney should review. However, Director Palmer said Planning Staff was reviewing the document first for consistencies. Commissioners would like to review it after that and perhaps resolve some of the issues before the land use attorney reviews it.

Director Palmer updated the board that she met with the Methow Citizens group on the Comprehensive Plan and to understand their position and concerns with the plan. The plan was also provided to the Yakama Nations. Commissioner Hover would like information shared with the Farm Bureau as well.

The WRIA 49 meeting is at 6:00 p.m. Commissioner Hover cannot attend.

Director Palmer asked for an executive session later to discuss potential litigation and would like an hour for the discussion. It was suggested at 2:00 p.m. after the public hearing today

Commissioner Branch suggested an accelerated approach to getting the costs organized. Director Palmer stated her budget was turned already but would like to request an additional Planner II and another GIS Technician. She would like to reclassify a current planner as well.

Public Hearing Interim Zone Map -Ordinance 2020-5-Planning Director Palmer
Commissioner Branch opened the public hearing on an amendment to the Zoning Code and to the Zoning map. The map is being amended for the purpose of lowering the lot size in the Methow to five acres. Commissioner Branch asked for the staff report.

Planning Director Pete Palmer provided her staff report and read the report. (attached) Options for the county commissioners were relayed. The findings of Fact 36.77.095 are in the statute relative to moratoriums, said commissioner Branch.

Lorah Super Methow Valley Citizens’, provided her comment and agreed to the measure that addresses potable water which cannot be made. There are already more lots in the lower Methow than what can be served by water. Aspect study does not match the ordinance and most likely due to the county’s analysis of its expansion areas. Water availability is not the only thing to consider. Lower densities should be reduced as was recommended in past years. Thank you for renewing the interim measure.

Melanie Rowland, lives in the lower Methow reach. She supports the recommendation of the Methow Valley citizens council. There isn’t enough water in the lower Methow. The water is not the only issue. Minimum of five acres wildlife habitat, mule deer corridor etc… take those factors into consideration as well as water. If the comp plan has not been adopted in six months have another public hearing before the planning commission. Thank you.

Isabelle Spohn has property in lower Methow. The water is a pressing issue. She concurs with those commenting before her. She supports serious consideration of the interim code. In 2007 when the advisory committee was formed there were concerns and extensive input and five acres was not considered rural and it came up in case law several years ago and barely qualifies for agriculture. There were other groups in the neighborhood groups that provided comment to the comp plan and those had many good things in it. She mentioned a memo from John Wyss that requested input from those groups be dumped and it was. She mentioned it because she does not want it to happen again.

Eddie McCue resident of south valley in the Methow commented. He is a recent resident and new to some of the issues. He is speaking as a lay person coming from an emotional point of view. He sees in his research that science relative to snow pack in this area of North Cascades has some debate. There is a fair amount that points to the snow pack in the last fifty years. Reduced snow pack means reduced water in the river and he sees a trend and would behoove to lean on the side of caution with regards to water use and he supports any moratoriums on small lots and supports a having it moved up the later to a higher importance. And extend it indefinitely.

Mary Eglacia resident of south Methow. She watched the increased development in her community earth movers reshaping the river and ATV carving up the hills and village looks more like suburbia. She said her friends were told to stop pumping and they are growing ag hay. She supports the ordinance to no less than five acres. She supports the process to understand what we have or do not have. Rural character is precious and urges planned sustained growth.

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

Commissioner Hover discussed the 2014 plan as he feels we could forward the amendment to the Planning Commission prior to adopting the Comprehensive Plan. Its consistent with that plan.

Commissioner Hover stated option A is out as he’d rather the went to the Planning Commission. Commissioner Branch asked if the map would be adopted as the interim map? It is interim zoning. Leave in place and direct planning staff to forward recommendation or affirm the interim ordinance to the Planning Commission to make their recommendation.

Commissioner Hover moved to continue with the interim zoning ordinance as adopted and transmit the affirmation of that to the planning commission for immediate consideration of zone code change. Motion was seconded all in favor motion carried.

The only revisit would be the code amendment itself.

Commissioner Branch closed the hearing all together.

Commissioner Hover asked the Clerk of the Board to not schedule a Public comment period on days when the Board has public health board meetings. He’d rather extend the other dates out to 45 minutes. Commissioner Branch was in favor of that.

Isabelle Spohn asked to speak. She requested the board not change the time of the public comment period as noted on the agenda. Commissioner Branch said after hearing the comment it will stay as posted on the agenda.

Discuss Grant Coronavirus Funds process and reimbursement.
Commissioners discussed the Coronavirus Relief Funds noting that new Public Health staffing who are dedicated to mitigating the public health emergency are allowed uses of the funds.

Public Health is a separate entity from Okanogan County and a contract with them is necessary for obligation and use of the funds allocated to them. The costs must be an incurred cost. Commissioners discussed the reimbursement process and asked the Clerk of the Board questions about how those are to be relayed.

Commissioners discussed the contract and allocation to Economic Alliance for small businesses. Economic Alliance has an application process that ensures the applicants meets the requirements of the COVID rules.

Commissioners discussed the previously approved Proclamation. It is not a mandate and was not considered as a legal document. The errors made in it were considered to be scriveners’ errors and not substantive.

Commissioners discussed mask availability in businesses. Make sure we document well the receiving and distribution of masks. It was thought that Emergency Management would be tracking.

The board adjourned at 3:00 p.m.