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  • November 27, 2017 11:16 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    The City of Wenatchee Planning Commission has a vacancy and is seeking applications from interested persons.  Applications can be found here and should be submitted to the City Clerk at 129 South Chelan Avenue, Wenatchee, WA 98801, or by email at cityclerk@wenatcheewa.gov

    Are you interested in the future of the City of Wenatchee and would like to have an impact on how our city looks, feels, and functions?  We are interested in promoting a healthy city in terms of the quality of life, health and safety, the built and natural environment, infrastructure, and economy.  How this is accomplished depends on balancing the needs and desires residents, property owners, businesses, and visitors while recognizing the opportunities and limitations of available resources.

    The City of Wenatchee Planning Commission is a seven-member body appointed by the Wenatchee City Council.  The planning commission provides recommendations on community issues and development regulations on a wide variety of topics.   The Commissioners are advocates for the community and provide an important venue to encourage citizen participation.  2018 will be a busy year for the Planning Commission as the Commission considers new zoning and development standards for housing, signage standards, and critical area requirements among other issues.  These codes are intended to implement recently updated direction in the City’s comprehensive plans and are developed for the City Council’s consideration.

    The Planning Commission reviews and makes recommendations on the following Department of Community Development issues:

    • Amendments to the comprehensive plan and sub-area planning efforts
      Amendments to the zoning, subdivision, and critical area codes.
    • Reviews on applications for alternative parking analysis.
    • Review of alternative proposals for architectural design.
    • Other actions requested or remanded by the City Council

    The Planning Commission meets on the third Wednesday of each month. Meetings are open to the public and begin at 5:30 pm. All meetings are held at Wenatchee City Hall, 129 South Chelan Avenue


  • October 30, 2017 2:27 PM | Administrator (Administrator)


  • October 23, 2017 10:00 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    TUMWATER — Mandatory paid sick leave in Washington starts in just over two months. This week, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) released new state requirements on how the paid sick leave law will be implemented.

    As a result of voter-approved Initiative 1433, employers are required to provide paid sick leave starting Jan. 1, 2018.

    “This is a big change, so we made sure people had every chance to weigh in on the rules and let us know the potential impacts,” said L&I Assistant Director of Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards Elizabeth Smith. “Now that they’re final, the next step is to make sure that employers know what’s required so they can be ready when the new law takes effect on January 1.”  

    The newly adopted rules provide details on how the law will be carried out, covering topics like how employees accrue paid sick leave, what they can use it for, when they can use it, and how to calculate rates of pay for paid sick leave.

    The new requirements are the result of a rulemaking process carried out by L&I over several months. The agency held informal meetings to gather public ideas and thoughts on implementing the new law. Then, after drafting the proposed rule, L&I held four public hearings around the state and took numerous written comments. L&I Director Joel Sacks signed the final rules this week.

    Statewide outreach and media campaign to raise awareness

    L&I is working with numerous organizations around the state to help employers get ready. In November, new L&I tools and resources will be available online, including templates for paid sick leave policies. L&I is also launching a statewide paid media campaign in November including TV, radio, social media and other online ads, which will run through early 2018.

    Enforcement phase of rulemaking underway now

    A second phase of rulemaking on mandatory paid sick leave is just getting underway. It will detail how the new law will be enforced. This process also offers opportunities to provide input, including two public hearings in November. The deadline for public comment is November 17.

    Along with mandatory paid sick leave, Initiative 1433 also increases the state minimum wage annually over the next three years. In 2018, the state minimum wage will climb to $11.50 an hour. The initiative also ensures employers pay their employees tips and service charges.

    There’s more information online about the upcoming public hearings and the paid sick leave rules process (www.Lni.wa.gov/WorkplaceRights/Wages/Minimum/1443.asp).


  • August 17, 2017 11:45 AM | Administrator (Administrator)


    August 17, 2017

    At the direction of the State Department of Ecology, the Chelan County Board of Commissioners have been working for several years to finalize an update to the county’s Shoreline Master Program. They held a public hearing Tuesday afternoon where dozens of citizens voiced their concerns. Dan Langager talked with Commissioner Keith Goehner yesterday about how commissioners will incorporate those public comments.

    Today Dan gets the perspective of the building community from Building North Central Washington CEO Marc Straub and Government Affairs Director Dan Beardslee. Straub said he encourages all shoreline property owners to get involved. County commissioners will hold another meeting on the issue Tues. Aug. 29 at 1 p.m. in their board room at 400 Douglas St. in Wenatchee.

    CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

  • August 08, 2017 12:14 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Important Public Hearing in East Wenatchee, Tonight!

    For more than a year, BNCW and our partner NCWAR have been engaged in pushing back against an effort to implement Minimum Density standards within the urban growth area (UGA) in East Wenatchee.

    These requirements would essentially mandate that a property owner seeking to sub-divide their property must do so in a prescribed number of smaller lots, removing that decision from the property owner. 

    Planning staff is justifying the proposed ordinances as being necessary to comply with the state mandated Growth Management Act. Not true! There is nothing in the GMA that requires a city to adopt minimum density standards. 

    It's also being sold as an affordable housing program, when in fact it's not that at all. If that's the argument, then simply allow high-density, but don't mandate it. There is a limited market for high-density housing and once that market is saturated, then what?  Everyone else (not everyone likes gulag-style living) will have to pay more because of artificial restrictions on the supply of housing, that’s what.

    You cannot regulate affordability into existence, but you certainly can regulate unaffordability into existence!

    Last year, a large number of citizens attended the public hearing, expressed their concerns about their property rights being adversely affected, and the City tabled the effort.

    Tonight--Tuesday, August 8, at 5:30pm, there is yet another public hearing to pass the mandated minimum density standards/requirements. We're asking that you consider attending tonight's hearing--even if you simply do so and don't choose to speak, your presence in the audience is KEY! 

    Where:  City Hall, Council Chambers, 271 9th Street NE, E.W.

    When: 5:30pm, August 8

    What: Public Hearing

    Thank you for your involvement!


  • August 01, 2017 4:15 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    TUMWATER With record-setting hot weather expected in much of the state this week, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) urges employers and workers to take precautions to prevent heat-related illness.

    Workers exposed to extreme heat may experience heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion, fainting, nausea and other symptoms. Heat-related illness can rapidly escalate to heat stroke, which can be fatal.

    Roofing, highway construction and agricultural work are just a few of the jobs across Washington in which workers are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses when temperatures rise.

    People who work outdoors in hot weather should follow these five tips to beat the heat:

    1. Drink a lot of water! Start work well hydrated and try to drink a cup every 15 minutes.
    2. Keep an eye on your co-workers. Watch those working around you for signs of heat-related illness, including headaches, dizziness or nausea.
    3. Don’t overdo it. Pace your work and take scheduled breaks in the shade.
    4. Wear lightweight clothing and remove protective gear when it’s safe to do so.
    5. Limit caffeine and avoid heavy meals.

    Employers with workers who work outdoors must train employees and supervisors to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illness and the steps to take if someone shows symptoms. Employers are also required to provide plenty of water for workers, respond appropriately to any employee with symptoms of illness, and include heat-related-illness hazards in the company’s accident prevention program.

    Along with the direct health effects of working in extreme heat, heat-related illness can contribute to injuries by causing workers to become fatigued, dizzy, confused or disoriented on the job. That can lead to falls, equipment operation accidents and other on-the-job incidents.

    For more information, including tips to assist both workers and employers, visit www.Lni.wa.gov/Safety/Topics/AtoZ/heatstress.


  • July 25, 2017 3:10 PM | Administrator (Administrator)


    Chelan County is in the process of updating what is known as the Shoreline Master Program.  It affects all properties in the unincorporated portions of Chelan County that lie within 200 feet of all major water bodies, including some of the more minor streams.  

    The changes could have significant impacts to Chelan County property owners in areas mentioned above, such as the ability to rebuild after a loss, setbacks from the water body, or ability to use the property in other ways.

    BNCW and NCWAR sought assistance in identifying all unique property owners in the County that would potentially be affected and sent out 4,400 of these post cards (see above) with the intent of notifying them--most of whom likely have no idea that this process is taking place. 

    Property owners can contact the County and see if they will be affected by any of the changes by calling (509) 667-6225.  Be prepared to tell them your Assessor’s parcel number.  A public hearing is scheduled before the Chelan County Commissioners on August 15, at 1:00 p.m, at 400 Douglas Street, Wenatchee.  You can communicate any concerns that you may have to the Commissioners at this meeting.

    For more information, visit Chelan County’s website at www.co.chelan.wa.us. or click this link.

  • July 11, 2017 10:19 AM | Administrator (Administrator)


    July 11, 2017

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Steve Maher, Our Valley Our Future project coordinator, info@ourvalleyourfuture.org or (509) 630-2090

    WENATCHEE — With housing prices continuing to rise sharply and housing availability at a premium, Our Valley, Our Future / Nuestro Valle, Nuestro Futuro launched an online survey today to get a better idea of housing challenges residents and businesses are facing — and how the region can shape potential solutions.

    The survey (available in both English and Spanish) can be found at www.ourvalleyourfuture.org. The self-administered survey takes an about 20 minutes to complete on average. Click here to complete the survey!

    Besides a series of multiple choice questions, the survey has a place where respondents can tell their own personal stories when it comes to housing.

    The survey was developed by Our Valley, Our Future with input from people involved in all aspects of housing. “There are a lot of perceptions in the community regarding housing right now,” said Steve Maher, project coordinator of Our Valley, Our Future. “The availability and affordability of housing affects nearly everyone, regardless of their background, employment, age or income. We want to tap into what the community is thinking and what is really happening on the ground. It’s important to know what residents really need. What do they see as the critical issues? What housing options would they support? The same goes for businesses. What are they willing to support to ensure there is sufficient housing to recruit and retain employees?“

    The housing survey is part of a broader Regional Housing Approach “game-changer” initiative, one of seven major projects in the Our Valley Action Plan. The housing game-changer calls for a broad stakeholders group to utilize the survey results and other information to recommend innovative solutions and fixes to the system. The stakeholders group is to be made up of citizens, realtors, developers, builders, government planners, low-income and middle-income housing experts, lenders, renters, and major employers.

    “Our Valley wants everyone in the community to have a voice in making housing more available and affordable,” Maher said. “We know housing is impacting the region’s livability and economic growth, and not always in a good way. It’s important for the community to come together to determine what can be done in a collaborative, non-partisan manner.”

    In addition to the survey, the Our Valley, Our Future organization is paying for research into why housing costs in Chelan and Douglas counties are so much higher than other locales in Eastern Washington, including Spokane, Tri-Cities and Yakima. A community forum will be held in September to release the survey and research findings and to gather additional public input. Following the forum, Our Valley intends to hand the game-changer project off to the broad- based coalition of citizens and housing interests.

    The coalition's charge will be to take the survey and research, along with input generated at the forum, and develop short-term and long-term recommendations for solutions to the region's growing housing challenges.

    Similar collaborative efforts in small- to medium-sized metropolitan areas around the country have led to improved housing affordability and availability in those communities. A Greater Wenatchee Urban Housing Study, conducted in 2016 by the cities of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, found housing affordability to be a major issue in the community, along with the lack of market-rate housing and multifamily housing. The multifamily market in particular had been exacerbated by low vacancy rates and overcrowding.

    This year, several major employers in the region have reported they have been unable to fill positions due to the lack of available and affordable housing in the community, including housing for professionals.

    Last week, Pacific Appraisal Associates reported the median price for a single-family home in Wenatchee hit an all-time high of $280,500 in June.

    Besides the seven major game-changer projects, the Our Valley Action Plan includes 149 action items, divided into six focus areas. All the grassroots projects were identified by residents as ones that will improve their quality of life, build resiliency in the face of change, and shape the community’s future.

    Our Valley, Our Future is overseen by a 15-member team of community leaders. Its fiscal sponsor is the United Way of Chelan and Douglas Counties.

    For more information on Our Valley Our Future / Nuestro Valle Nuestro Futuro, including a downloadable copy of its Action Plan, please visit www.ourvalleyourfuture.org.

    ###


  • June 29, 2017 9:16 AM | Administrator (Administrator)


    Over the last few years, Chelan County has been working to complete a required update to its Shoreline Master Program (SMP). BNCW has attempted to stay as engaged in this process as has been possible. Members should care about the SMP because it comprises a set of regulations that affect all property uses and development occurring within the shoreline jurisdiction.

    The county’s current SMP was developed and adopted over 40-years ago, in 1975. Over the last year, the Chelan County Planning Commission has worked very diligently to put together a draft proposal that seeks to meet the needs of the citizens of the county. However, the SMP is one of the only local regulatory plans that requires the Department of Ecology’s stamp of approval. Whatever the final update to the SMP ends up being adopted and approved, it will have impacts for property owners throughout Chelan County.

    The Chelan County Board of Commissioners has set the Shoreline Master Program Hearing for July 11, 2017 at 1 pm at 400 Douglas Street, Wenatchee. This hearing provides the public with what will likely be a final opportunity to share with the county commissioners their comments, concerns, and feedback specific to the proposed draft update.

    To view the Planning Commission’s recommended draft, as well as other support documents, simply click on this link. Please mark your calendars for the date and time noted above and share your comments. If you are unable to attend, comments may be emailed to Chelan County senior planner, Lilith Vespier, at Lilith.vespier@co.chelan.wa.us prior to the hearing or submitted at the hearing.


  • June 12, 2017 2:15 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Attention Employers!

    Employers must provide training to workers so they understand what heat stress is, how it affects their health and safety, and how it can be prevented. The Outdoor Heat Exposure Rule WAC 296-62-095 (app.leg.wa.gov) applies from May 1 through September 30, every year, when exposures are at or above a specific temperature (see Table 1 of the rule (app.leg.wa.gov)).

    For further information about the outdoor heat exposure rule requirements, click here to visit L & I’s website, or click here to visit the Members’ Only Resources area of BNCW’s website.


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