The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Council OK's shoreline program

 


Members of the Cathlamet Town Council approved proposed updates to the town's shoreline management program (SMP) and acted on other business at their monthly meeting Monday.

The town and Wahkiakum County have been working for four years in a joint project to update their SMP. County commissioners will hold a public hearing on the SMP next Tuesday, but they've said they have many concerns and will just gather public comments and act later this year.

Council members, however, were happy with the update.

"It's pretty good," said Council Member Sue Cameron. "It's required."

"I concur," said Council Member Ryan Smith.

As the county and town have been working under a joint grant, council was concerned about liability if the county delays action beyond the grant's June 30 termination date.

"We don't have any problem to have a town only SMP," said Michelle McConnell of the state Department of Ecology.

Planning consultant Hannah Dankbar said she could separate sections in the plan that refer just to the county in order to clean up the update for the town.

She added that she had received some comments from two agencies need to be reviewed; they can be addressed when Ecology reviews the update.

After more discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve the update.

In other business, Hotel Cathlamet owner Laurel Waller questioned the reason for the town's ordinance prohibiting people from keeping pit bull dogs in town.

The old ordinance was created years ago in response to a pit bull attack.

Waller said the ordinance has caused people to decline to stay at the pet-friendly Hotel Cathlamet.

Ryan said he thinks there is case law that prohibits breed-specific prohibitions are unlawful.

Town attorney Heidi Heywood said she would look into the issue and report to the council.

--In response to a question from Bob Kizziar, Port District 1 commissioner, council members said they aren't interested in selling the old sewer lagoons to the port district.

"Why would we," asked Cameron.

"With as much work as we've put into park planning (for the site), I'm not interested."

Council Member Dick Swart said he wanted to know why the port was interested, but Kizziar said he was only authorized to ask if there was interest in selling the site.

Mayor Dale Jacobson, who has pushed for development of a waterfront park at the site, said he doesn't want to see the site developed in some other use.

"Communities all around us have lost access to the water," he said. "That's how I feel."

The council agreed, and Kizziar had his answer.

After discussion, council members voted to go ahead with consideration of employing a town administrator or manager.

The concept behind the suggestion is that the manager would handle supervisory and administrative duties that now fall to the mayor and council members.

Cameron said the town budget has a balance of approximately $108,000 that could pay for the position and give time to analyze the usefulness of the position.

Swart said he is concerned about the finances in the future, and Cameron responded that the money could be budgeted so the council could proceed next year if feasible and if a suitable candidate could be found.

"I've been the mayor of a town that had an administrator," Jacobson said. "It really made a difference for me and our staff."

"I would entertain a part-time position, no way full-time," said Council Member Andy Lea. "If we spread the cost over the water and sewer funds, we'll have to raise rates.

Finally, Public Works Director Duncan Cruickshank announced that the town had received a grant that will finance street repair this year.

 

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