|12/6/2012 10:04:00 AM|
Voters can steer Manson's future
Three positions are up for grabs at the Manson Community Council election Dec. 11.
More than 1,000 registered voters who live in the Manson School District are eligible to vote for their choice in the three positions. To date, no one has applied to fill any of the three spots, said Board Chairman Sue Crinklaw.
Kathy Miller, who sat on the Manson Community Council for 15 years, is retiring her District Three position.
Crinklaw said losing Miller as a co-committee member will be tough.
Miller's experience and knowledge makes her invaluable to the committee, she said.
Two positions are available in District Two.
One position was vacant all year and the other position, which is now held by Cass Hania, is up for election.
Crinkclaw said Hania's seat is open to election because Hania does not live within District Two boundaries, something the bylaws require.
The Manson Community Council is a seven-member advisory board to the county, made up of two representatives from each of the three Manson School District zones and one at-large representative. Crinklaw said Hania was allowed to fill the District Two position even though he did not reside there, because without him, no one would be present to represent the District Two.
The Manson Community Council is at least 25 years old and acts strictly as an organized opinion of what growth patterns Manson residents want. They cannot impose input on anyone, Crinklaw said. The Manson Community Council is volunteer-only and does not draw any tax money from Manson residents.
Chelan County Election Director, Nissa Burger said the Chelan County Auditor's office has no authority or connection with the Manson Community Council.
"They are not a taxing district," Burger said. "We have no input or anything with them."
Chelan County Community Development Director Jeff Wilson said that though the Manson Community Council is an advisory-only committee, their opinions and
recommendations are important and helpful.
"They are a sounding board," Wilson said. "When we have a zoning issue or a comprehensive plan issue, it helps to have someone who is serving their area."
Wilson said while the Community Development Department does its own research into all issues regarding county development, the Manson Community Council's opinion carries weight.
"We want to work for them. We may not always agree with them because sometimes what they suggest may be illegal, but with groups who are representing an area, their voice is a little louder," Wilson said.
On Nov. 28, Wilson said his department made a recommendation to the Chelan County Planning Commission about changing the language in next year's comprehensive plan after working with members of the public and the Manson Community Council for more than a year.
Both residents who want to preserve the quaint "Village by the Bay" and those who want less restrictive developing regulations expressed their opinions to the Community Development Department on several occasions before Wilson's department made a final recommendation. When Wilson's office finally made its recommendations to the Chelan County Planning Commission Nov. 28, staff members had first thoroughly researched the pros and cons to changing the language in the Manson Urban Growth Area document that will be submitted to the Chelan County Comprehensive Plan.
The Manson UGA language change recommendations were suggested in order to allow more leeway for developers and to more clearly define what can and cannot be done in the UGA's boundaries.
The Community Development Department would not have heard what Manson residents want in their community if the Manson Community Council and others did not speak up.
Among the recommendations, Wilson made to planning commissioners is the elimination of terminology "Transfer Development Rights" from the document.
Wilson said that TDRs are not allowed in the current comprehensive plan and that their mention is superfluous to the document. Other recommendations deal with density and parking issues in the area.
Chelan County Commissioner Doug England said Wilson will present his department's recommendations to County Commissioners in the future.
Before the County Commissioners make any recommendations to change the comprehensive plan, they will host multiple public hearings to allow the Manson Community Council and anyone else interested in expressing their opinion to address the Commission about the UGA.
That process will take about three months, England said. After the County Commissioners make their decision, the comprehensive plan will be forwarded to another specialist in Olympia who will revisit the document and make a final decision. The Comprehensive Plan is a document mandated and approved by Washington State that forces all counties to research their constituent areas for input on what residents want in their own neighborhoods.
The County's comprehensive plan can only be changed once a year, England said.
In order to take part in the election, registered voters are asked to come to the Lake Chelan Reclamation District between 1 and 8 p.m. and cast their ballot.
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