Council covers many topics in 4-hour meeting


January 23, 2020

By Rick Nelson

Four hours plus: The Cathlamet Town Council met Tuesday for their regular monthly meeting, starting at 6 p.m. and recessing into an executive session around 10:10 p.m.

Needless to say, they covered a lot of ground:

Some of the highlights:

The council agreed to open their Butler Street parking lot on Feb. 14 to public parking. Before the lot is opened, town staff will obtain signs informing parking lot users that they use the lot at their own risk and that the lot is closed 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Council Member David Olson reminded the council that they had agreed to have detailed planning underway within six months of the opening for development of the lot into a park.

The council amended the town's ordinance banning possession or maintenance of a pit bull dog in town.

Town Attorney Fred Johnson explained that new state law prohibits blanket breed specific bans on dogs. However, the law provides exceptions, and under the new ordinance, pit bulls may be kept in town if owners can show the dogs have passed an AKC Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Test, or reasonable equivalent. Testing must be repeated every two years.

The council will continue discussion of the dog ordinance, with consideration of including rottweilers as another dangerous breed and an examination of the various requirements for keeping pit bulls.

Council members approved a request from Walt and Carol Geil to refund a portion of the sewer and water they pay on a South Second Street property with a house and a separate building with a one bedroom apartment on top of a garage. The residences are served with a single water line, and the Geils were charged for two customer units because two separate families live in the residences. However, the Geils said they should be charged for 1.7 units under the town rate schedule. After considerable discussion, the council approved a refund of $575.91.

sheriff Mark Howie presented a report of his department's activities and the numbers and types of calls for service in the town for 2019.

Overall, residents of both the town and county made more calls for service in 2019 than in 2018, but some incidents, such as burglaries have declined.

Howie attributed that to several factors: The department has a full complement of deputies at work; some active criminals were jailed during the year, and department efforts to encourage citizens to watch for suspicious activity and report it have been successful.

The council gave initial approval for Port District 1 to begin the process to obtain permits to allow a company to dismantle barges at the Elochoman Slough Marina.

Port Manager Jackie Lea said the approval was required by the town Shoreline Management Act. The port will have to obtain shoreline management and related permits for the operation, and the council would have to approve those permits when they're prepared.

The council supported a proposal from the Washington State Department of Transportation to alter speed limits through Cathlamet. In response to council input, the department has suggested lowering the speed limit to 20 miles per hour southbound from SR 4 along Main Street/SR 409. The speed limit would increase to 25 mph on Front Street and remain at 25 mph on the steel portion of the Puget Island bridge, increase to 35 mph on the concrete portion and then to 50 mph once traffic reaches the Island. Currently, speed is 25 mph through town and increases to 50 mph on the concrete portion of the bridge.

North bound traffic coming from the Island would have 35 mph on the concrete portion of the bridge, 25 mph on the steel portion and Front Street to the stop sign at the foot of Columbia Street. Speed would be lowered to 20 mph along Main Street to SR 4.

Citing a continuously heavy workload, the council gave first reading approval to an ordinance amending their meeting schedule. Instead on one monthly meeting on the third Monday, 6 p.m., they'll hold two on first and third Mondays, 6 p.m., in the fire hall meeting room. On months with Monday holidays such as this week's Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday, they meet on the following Tuesday.


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