Officials seek solutions as riverfront development attracts visitors & residents
Chelan County PUD Commissioners invited Mayor Frank Kuntz and the Wenatchee City Council to their morning study session Monday to discuss ways to improve parking along the riverfront and to reduce parking impacts on park visitors from Walla Walla Point Park down to the Orondo Avenue boat launch in Riverfront Park. (at 00:15 on the board audio recording)
In early 2010 the City and the PUD signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would assure minimal parking impacts for park users. Since that time, considerable residential and commercial development has occurred along the Columbia River waterfront. Pybus Public Market, Riverside 9 Apartments, a new Hilton Garden Hotel, Wenatchee Valley Brewing Company and other projects have put a strain on available parking.
PUD Shared Services Director Dan Frazier reviewed the steps leading to the agreement that recognized the challenge in balancing private development with maintaining parking for public access to the PUD’s waterfront parks. “We want to make sure there is adequate parking that doesn’t impact the parks,” said Frazier.
Mayor Kuntz welcomed the invitation to meet with PUD commissioners and talk over concerns, noting a strong relationship between the city and utility is important as both serve the community. He said parking can be an emotional issue and the city is always trying to “right size” the amount needed.
City staff reviewed the amount of parking included in plans as development continues along the Wenatchee riverfront. Those include building a parking garage across Worthen Street from Pybus Public Market. Executive Services Director Allison Williams assured PUD commissioners that plans are in place for the private and public sectors to add needed parking.
“This has been incredibly helpful,” said PUD Commissioner Randy Smith.
PUD Board President Dennis Bolz said that he hopes the discussion will result, “in a conclusion that reflects a shared vision” on parking for Chelan PUD and the city.
In other business, commissioners:
- Received staff’s proposed schedule for setting new cryptocurrency rates and possible lifting of the current moratorium on service applications. Commissioners extended the moratorium until Nov. 19 and set a hearing on proposed new rates at 1 p.m. on the same day in the PUD boardroom. Commissioners also reviewed a proposed outreach plan for Nov. 5-19 that includes an information meeting on Nov. 7 at the Confluence Technology Center (time to be determined.) and the Nov. 19 hearing. That could be followed by rate approval on Dec. 3 to go into effect on April 1, 2019. Proposed rates for home-based operations are estimated at 8-9 cents a kilowatt hour (kwh) and operations in commercial and industrial areas at about 6 cents a kwh. (02:00)
- Reviewed the proposed location for a new substation in Entiat to meet the city’s plans for growth. Mayor John Alt thanked PUD staff for cooperation in identifying a location along the highway that is near transmission, but away from PUD-owned property used as community ballfields. Commissioner Ann Congdon also read a letter of support from Councilman Mike Chambers. PUD commissioners will be asked to approve the location on Oct. 1. (01:20)
- Approved a resolution to enter into a 15-year agreement with the Yakama Nation for coho fish hatchery rearing in order to meet the PUD’s Habitat Conservation Plan goals and ensure no net impact on fish due to Rocky Reach and Rock Island Dam operations. (03:20)
- Were briefed on proposed wholesale fiber rates that would allow PUD service providers better competitive pricing options for commercial customers. (01:45)
- Reviewed a lease agreement with the Port of Chelan for Building #5 in Olds Station to relocate some PUD staff such as Fiber/Telecom; Meter Shop; Engineering & Project Management Facilities Team; Asset Management Team and Lands Crew in anticipation of PUD facilities moving to Olds Station. (02:50)
- Recognized the Parks Team of: Jessica Stuart, Kevin Scott, Benito Vivar, Chris Glasspool and Kyle Endelman for their service to Beebe Bridge Park users during the July wildfire that threatened closure of the park. They made sure that campers were kept informed and safe. (00:10)
- Got the good news from External Affairs Director Tracy Yount and Suzanne Grassell, federal government affairs manager, that the U.S. House has approved the “Early Action” legislation that the District has been working on for the past five years. The Senate is expected to approve it soon. This will give hydro operators credit for investments made prior to license renewal and can be factored into the number of years an operator’s hydro operating license covers. This is key as the District looks ahead to relicensing for Rock Island Dam.
- Rescheduled their fall workshop to 8 a.m.-noon on Oct. 1 and moved the regular commission meeting start to 1 p.m.
- Oct. 1-6 – Public Power Week
- Oct. 1 – Board workshop, 8 a.m.-noon, boardroom.
- Oct. 1 – Commission meeting, 1 p.m., boardroom
- Oct. 3 & 5 – Public Power Week customer-owner Thank YOU! Treats 1-2 p.m. Wednesday in the Leavenworth office; 11 -2 p.m., Friday in the lobbies at the Chelan and Wenatchee offices.
- Oct. 6 – Hydropower Celebration, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Pybus Public Market, Wenatchee
- Oct. 15 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m., boardroom
- Nov. 5 – Commission meeting, 10 a.m. boardroom
- Nov. 7 – Cryptocurrency rate information meeting, CTC
- Nov. 19 – Cryptocurrency rate & moratorium hearing, 1 p.m., PUD board room
- Nov. 22 – Thanksgiving holiday, offices closed
- Dec. 3 – Cryptocurrency rate resolution
The next regular PUD commission meeting is at 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 1, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave