Council approves temporary building moratorium

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

At the recommendation of Mayor Royal DeVaney, the Waterville Town Council approved a six-month building moratorium. During the six months, the town will issue only five new building permits.

DeVaney said that the reason he recommended the moratorium was that the town does not currently have the sewer and water system capacity to expand its hookups. He said the issue was especially urgent in terms of sewer capacity. The winter before last, the sewer lagoons came within six inches of overflowing. If an overflow should occur, the town would incur heavy fines from the Department of Ecology.

Council members voted unanimously to approve the moratorium. They also set a public hearing for comment during the Aug. 6 regular council meeting.

Entities have the right to impose temporary moratoriums prior to holding a public hearing for comment.

During the moratorium period, the town will need to work with an engineering firm to perform an analysis of water and sewer system capacity. DeVaney requested permission to hire the firm Anderson Perry for this purpose.

A public hearing was held regarding the six-year street plan for 2019 to 2024. Streets on the priority list for reconstruction or overlay include, in order of priority, Walnut Street from Chelan Avenue to Monroe Street; Chelan Avenue from Poplar Street to Third Street; Central Avenue from Locust Street to Third Street; Harrison Street from Birch Street to Beech Street; North Baker Street from Poplar Street to Third Street; and West Park Street from Walnut Street to Locust Street.

No comments were received during or before the public hearing.

The council unanimously approved the six-year street plan as proposed.

Council approved Pay Estimate No. 5 with DJB Construction for the Rainier Street Irrigation Main Project. The pay estimate reflects a refund to the town in the amount $5,448.91. This includes compensation of $6,018.47 for an overpayment that was discovered as well as payment of $569.56 for an override switch that allows the town to access the system manually when necessary.

Jeff Sutton, engineer for the project, said that at the July 2 meeting he planned to have a letter to council recommending final acceptance of the project.

Council unanimously approved a consultant agreement with Erlandsen Inc. for the Walnut Street Reconstruction project, set to take place in 2019.

Council unanimously nominated Chuck Driver to serve in the position of mayor pro-tem for the next six-month period. Driver would take over mayoral duties should DeVaney be unavailable for any reason.

DeVaney said that he had contacted the Douglas County PUD to request a joint meeting on cryptocurrency policy. He was told that the PUD is dealing with the issue on a case by case basis and is not holding any public meetings on it at this time.

The town now has the completed small water system management plan, which was funded by a grant from the Washington State Department of Health. The plan is designed to help the town have a sound basis for developing water and sewer infrastructure.

The council discussed an issue with larger vehicles — including RVs, trucks with trailers and delivery trucks — parallel parking on Main Street. It did not appear that there was a good solution to the issue at this time.

Chelan-Douglas Board of Health member Jill Thompson said that at the most recent meeting the board discussed the reorganization of the regional emergency response system, which now operates out of Spokane for the entire eastern part of the state.

She also said that three bats have recently tested positive for rabies in Douglas and Chelan counties.

The health district is finishing the process of officially decommissioning the landfill at Pine Canyon so that the county can discontinue monitoring for groundwater impact. The landfill has been sealed for 20 years now.

DeVaney said that at the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council (CDTC) meeting funding for regional paving projects was discussed. Waterville will be able to receive funding for sealing and chip sealing.

Town hall will be closed on July 4 in observance of Independence Day.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. July 2.